I dropped out of high school when I was 17. I didn't see the value of a diploma, as I was unclear about how I wanted to earn a living in life.
I spent time working in retail, making a small hourly wage for the next few years. I was promoted to a few supervisor roles, which had slightly higher wages, but I wasn't able to move up beyond those positions without a diploma or degree. I was essentially viewed as an unskilled worker.
It's not always easy to see the impacts of our decisions in real-time... But in hindsight, not graduating high school had a lasting impact on my career growth, earning potential, and development in general. In many cases, I had the experience required for a new role or promotion, but I was never interviewed or even considered, because I didn't have a college degree. I missed out on important growth and development opportunities.
I would eventually get my GED, and earn a Bachelor's in Science degree to unlock more growth potential, but I wish I would have pursued these much earlier in life.
My advice is to keep moving forward. Take the next step to earn your diploma, apply to a trade school, enroll in a college class or two, or find a certification program to grow your skills. You'll be amazed at how these small steps become critical to your future success.
Best of luck to you.
Also, research shows that people who achieve higher education tend to live longer lives. When you go through the challenges of higher education, you learn more about the world, you learn how to communicate (not only writing really well, but also interacting with others on the job well), and you GET CHOICES because you have a set of skills.
I doubt there’s a soul out there who forgot they got a high school or college diploma. With a college diploma—meaning a degree—you have MORE CHOICES about the kind of work you can do. There are some exceptions, of course. To be an engineer, for example, you need a specific degree in that. But there are many careers where whatever Bachelor’s degree you get tells the employer you’ve developed hard and hopefully soft skills and you know how to stick with something until you’ve finished it.
If you WANT CHOICES about how to live your life as you get older, you will want to pursue a college education, even if you begin with one from a community college. There are many fields people pursue at the Associate degree level where they can build the skills which provide them OPTIONS about what to do with their lives and help them towards a solid retirement in the long run. Examples of careers from a community college: auto mechanic, bookkeeper, vocational nurse, registered nurse, dental hygienist, X-ray tech, fire fighter, etc.
No competitive skills? Then no income with which to save and retire when you want to. Do you want to be a bus boy when you’re 40? Everything has a price. Not pursuing education has a price you might not wish to pay. There are some jobs out there that don’t require a diploma or a degree—do you want one of those in your 30’s and up? Do your homework and find out what you might want to do first with your life as an adult, and let that guide your choices. As you age, new ideas will come to you about how you want to live your life. I’ll bet you’ll need more education as some point. AND, know that all colleges and universities has support systems available should you need help with learning. If you don’t get a HS diploma, you can still attend a community college and get learning support there.
If you do not receive a diploma at the end of high school. You have another option. You can get your GED (General Equivalency Degree), which is similar to a High School Diploma. It shows that you know the content covered in high school. There are GED options in California. You may need to study for it (recommended) and may even be able to take the test online (you will need an approved waiver from the California Department of Education). It will take about 3 months for the process. For more details, go to www.ged.org
Obtain a GED (General Educational Development) certificate: This is a test that measures your proficiency in high school-level subjects, and if you pass it, you will receive a certificate that is equivalent to a high school diploma.
Complete credit recovery courses: If you are missing credits for graduation, you may be able to make them up through credit recovery courses offered by your school or through online programs.
Attend an adult education program: Some schools offer adult education programs that allow you to earn a high school diploma or equivalent.
Enroll in a community college or vocational school: These schools may not require a high school diploma for admission, and you can earn a certificate or degree in a specific field.
It's important to note that the requirements and options for obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent may vary by state and institution, so it's best to research the options available in your area. Additionally, if you are experiencing any difficulties or have questions, it may be helpful to speak with a guidance counselor or academic advisor for assistance.
If you did not get a diploma you can always take some educational courses at a Community college to obtain a GED. Vocational schools are also good to get credits and hands-on practice into the career you want to pursue. I have met people without high school diplomas or College Degree who are successful business owners because they invest on knowledge. So look into investment class (sometimes are free), vocational courses to help.