LET'S CLEAR THINGS UP
Everyone has a dream, everyone wants to do what they love for the rest of their life, and everyone wants everything to be figured out. 3 years ago I was planning on going to the university of Oklahoma to major in film. All I knew was that I wanted to make music videos full time, the last place I wanted to go was some random southern school but that was my only option - so what else could I do?
After talking to a couple of friends I decided to attend Columbia College Chicago, an art school in Chicago. This was a better step to take but the same thoughts went through my head - "I just want this as a full time job, I don't want to spend 4 years at school". The first year at school was alright, met some great people who I still work with today but for the most part it seemed like a waste of time. I would sit in class for 3 hours learning how to put a SD card into a camera and learn about the most basic camera terms. Of course, it's freshmen year so they have to start with the basics but I've been doing film for about 2-3 years before this, did I need to be here? I eventually had to skip class because I was getting booked up with shoots and I knew on-set experience was better than some 55 year old who shoots local car commercials teaching us about "How to power on a camera". After I finished my first year, I dropped out. It wasn't for me - because I had a passion.
SHOULD I DROP OUT?
This is the million dollar question, but no right answer. If you wanna be a rocket scientist you'll have to stay in school, but if you wanna make films or photograph girls for playboy - you have a choice. College is great for 1 thing - Networking. You will never be able to tell me that it's worth 25K-30K/year to learn basics of cameras. You have the best resource that can teach you everything you need to know (and it's free) - Youtube.com
Before you do any of this though you have to know if you have a passion for this or if it's just a hobby. That is what really separates people from doing what they love or doing it for fun on the side. If you are okay with having $0 and sleeping in a studio apartment just so you can afford some new gear, it might be more of a passion. If you are okay with working 15-20 hours/days on set, it might be more of a passion. If you are okay with having no social life and spending everyday focusing on building your brand, it might be more of a passion.
PROS VS CONS
Each choice comes with its own set of positive and negative aspects (That's why their is no perfect answer).
Staying in college is not a bad idea if you don't have a client base. You get hands on with gear you can't afford to rent and you get to work with other students on their own projects so you get on set experience. What's the con of that? You owe your school about $30K/year just for doing something you could've done for free and possibly getting paid for (Emailing Directors/DP's in your area to PA on set).
Dropping out is most high risk option but the most rewarding. If you are only working on 1-2 videos a month you might think about moving back home with you parents and just living with them for a year while you get your money and connects up. If your parents won't allow that, try and prove to them this is what you want. My parents were anti-drop out but once they saw what was possible they supported me 100%.
Dropping out isn't for the weak though. If you like to party every weekend and that's all you think about on the weekends you aren't going to make it and you might as well stay in college and waste your 4 years getting drunk with your lame ass friends. If you are cool with working Monday-Sunday and you have the work ethic to get things done, you are on the pathway to success
LUCK AND SKILL
You can follow every step of success and make the best work possible but you won't get anywhere without luck. It's all about being at the right place at the right time with the right people. So putting yourself in that situation as much as you can always will increase your chance of luck blessing you. If I didn't work with Sir The Baptist, I wouldn't have an agent. If I didn't get enough shoots in 1 month to be able to sell my A7S and buy a RED, I wouldn't have a RED epic. If I didn't drop out of school I would signing up for classes today and not be living in LA with "Video Director" as the title for my full time job. This isn't to say to rely on luck, but just know it's there for you. Study your craft everyday and always try to progress each day with better work and a stronger work ethic. The combination of these 2 things is the most powerful thing you can have.
MY PATH ISN'T THE RIGHT WAY
Take everything in this post with a grain of salt, each person is different and each path is customizable. Maybe you have no clients or work coming in - Try college or take a tour and see if it's something you would like. Maybe you have repeat business each month and you can afford to live on your own, try that out and see if it works. It all goes down to following your heart (as corny and cliche as that sounds). You only have 1 chance at life, after that it's over. If you don't wanna go to college and wanna get a jump start on life, start your own company and see where that takes you. Being young is great because even if you fail, you still have time to try something else. It all comes down to YOU, not your family, not your friends, not your teachers. They have their own lives and you have yours. Decide what's best for you and don't look back.