T Nation

Best Non-College Gigs?


I'm about 75% sure I don't want to return to school in the fall. Reason being, I just don't know what I want to do and can't see it leading to anything exciting. When I entered college I wanted to become a physiologist/kinesiologist but I have since outgrown that and don't really have any other academic interest.

Also, I don't want to be a finacial burden on my family anymore. I feel that men over 20 should support themseles!

So, I think I'd like to try the non-college route. Unfortunately I don't really know a whole lot about the various types of work out there other than the dead-end entry level stuff. What are the best gigs out there for the non-college grad? I do have an associate's if that helps, which it probably doesn't.

Also, I'm really into training, especially explosive stuff life weightlifting, sprinting, and jumping, so it would be great if I could find something that wouldn't fuck up my training too much.

thanks guys


i think your parents would gladly support you if you finished college rather than drop out and try to find a minimum wage paying job to live in regret for the rest of your life.

swallow your pride and go for the gold dude.


I'd have to agree with consumer on this one. You already have the associates, man up and get the bachelors.


Word. Man if you cannot stick out a couple years of the absolute BEST times of your life, with maximum freedom and minimal responsibility, what makes you think the non-college route will be any easier? If financial reasons are a big part of why you do it, there are a ridiculous amount of scholarships you can get (with nothing to do with GPA), student loans, which are not the end of the world.

There are also many ways to get free rent, like be an RA at a dorm for a semester, (not too bad for free room+board) get a job photocopying or answering phones at an apartment complex, (they usually compensate with free rent+bills in college towns) or even search classifieds to house-sit while an international man of mystery takes a 3 month "Summer" in Italy or something. Be creative, AND DO NOT GIVE UP. YOU GOT YOURSELF INVITED TO THE DANCE, NOW GET OUT THERE AND SHOW SOMEONE YOU KNOW HOW TO BOOGIE.


What do you mean outgrown it? Going the physiology route opens up a LOT of different options. Kinesiology not as many, but a good number that are challenging and not just a count-to-ten Bally's bitch-monkey.

What made you decide you don't like the field?



You might want to switch to a major that is very broad like liberal arts that way you can have more choice in what you want to take and won't get as bored. But a college degree dosn't allways land you a good gig. In fact most of the rich people in this country are rich because they did it themselves. They didn't use a degree to get them there. In fact most people with fancy degrees get stuck in middle management positions and they never get out. There is a lot of people with Masters or Doctorate degrees that can't get hired because know one wants to pay them. So they become college professors and fill your head with crap because they have lived their life in a book and never been in the real world.


I still like the subject matter as much as I ever did, but the feild is pretty much worthless as far as I can tell. It's clear to me that academic exercise science does not prepare students for anything beyond talking about training on the internet. Observe that there are innumerable coaches/trainers with advanced degrees who all espouse different methods and philosophies. You've got Berardi in one corner saying 5000 calories a day and Darden in the other saying 1500. Ugh. The whole field of fitness and athletic conditioning is a circus, and I don't want anything to do with it.

Plus, there's zero money in it unless you're willing to be more of a marketer/salesman than a scientist anyway.


-Postal Sevice



-If you're a risk-taker and have ideas, or are creative, then do your own gig, whatever that may be.

-Shit man, that's about it


I'm in college taking 18 - 21 units a semester and holding down 20 - 30 hours a week at a job. Fully self reliant, whats the problem? Granted I don't go to a 4 year university yet, but I don't see the situation changing when I do. What do you do all day if you don't work?


get the degree. individual growth through learning may well have more value than what you learn.

as dan john says, it's the journey.


I thought like this for a while. I'm almost halfway to a bachelors in mechanical engineering technology, and there is no way I am quitting now.

I got two jobs right now, working 60hrs a week. Painting (which is 90% sanding/scrapping because I work for someone else), and my other job is order selecting in a warehouse. Both of them suck a lot most of the time. But they are a constant reminder why I'm in school.

BTW, if you don't have a college degree, you can still make a lot more than minimum wage at many jobs. Although the work usually sucks.

If you quit school, be sure to learn a trade or some marketable skill.


Dude, I felt like you did after my freshman year. I took a semester off to work and think about what I really wanted.Somewhat reluctantly, I went back to school and got my degree. Best thing I ever did.

I've never met anyone who regrets getting a degree, though some may have found success without it.

And if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.


Now that is a good name!


To be hired in law enforcement or most all government jobs (like Postal Service) you will need a college degree. Even if they don't absolutely require a BA to get hired, you will be competing against people that have one.


Well you could probably get a position working with a strength coach at some school with a degree in kinesiology or physiology. That would probably get you a lot more experience with power atheletes that being a trainer independently; their usual clients are people looking to "get in shape".


Dude, do you really want your lifelong earning potential to be piss-fucking-poor?? To close aaaaall the doors that having a degree might just potentially open for you? Think long and hard about that. Then think about it some more.


Philosphical differnces aside -- and I won't even get into the fact that many different theories actually can ALL work, at least for a time -- I'll bet that Berardi and Darden are both earning damn good livings.


A couple of things to think about:

As others have said, a degree can open doors that would otherwise be closed, even if your degree isn't all that relevant to the job you want. Very few people that I know regret getting a degree, although I know several who regret dropping out of school. When it comes to student loans, I do question the wisdom of getting loaded with debt to earn a degree that has very little earning potential.

If you really aren't sure, get a job and take a couple of night classes in different academic areas. Take a basic accounting class, take a business law class, take a class in whatever, but see if there's something that interests you.

If you are determined not to finish school, make sure you learn a trade. Become an electrician or something similar that requires an above average level of skill or, better yet, credentials. If you don't and you enter a field that has absolutely no bar to entry, then you will be competing with everyone else for the rest of your life. And that's not going to be fun.


I'm 24 graduated from college last May...I wish I was still in school! Trust me, stay in school as long as you possibly can.

If you are that worried about being a financial burden on your family get student loans, grants, and a part time job. Trust me, looking back at college I wish I had enjoyed it more than I did, I was always so ready to graduate and be done with it...now there is nothing I would rather do than go back to school (or retire)! Hindsight really is 20/20.


A degree means nothing, it is just a piece of paper. There are smart people without degrees, and complete idiots with degrees. With that said, in this country, having a degree is a big deal.

That's just the way the world works -- you don't have to like it or agree with it, it's just the way it is. If you don't like it, you can move to another country where a secondary degree isn't as important.

Yes, I know that some of the most successful people in America (including the richest man, Bill Gates) didn't have a college degree. But nobody would disagree with the fact that having a degree opens up many doors that are completely closed without a degree. That's just the way this country works.

As many have said already, why not work your way through college? That's what I did, and many other people have done. I paid my own way through school working 2 jobs at times. Try getting a part-time job at a gym (personal trainer). You can make good money ($20+ per hour) and not have to work a whole lot of hours.