What To Do If You Or Someone You Love Wants To Drop Out Of High School

Picture this:

You’re a bright student well on your way to completing your high school diploma, but also …

You’re a child of chaos. 

Yes, you love your parents, but …

It’s been a rocky road. You live an all too interesting life.

And most days, school is the last thing on your mind.

Plus … when you do go …


School Is Utterly Boring!


At least, that was almost always the case for me.

I mean … seriously?

What the heck is a high school diploma to a guy who just wants to play bass, write lyrics and hang out with his friends?

And the teachers?

Not exactly friendship material. They never made me care about getting better grades. And yet, I’m still grateful for them, even though back then, I wasn’t yet smart enough to see their value.

Why You Should Never Forget Any Of Your Teachers

Sure, I had some real characters for teachers.

For example, there Mr. Joyce. He always had a fishing boat on the back of his truck. Every day, we saw him leaning against it and smoking a pipe before wandering off to his classroom after recess or lunch break.

Another teacher who had a huge impact on me was a champion curler. Mr. Esdale could make the trash bin stop on a dime right beside the desk of anyone chewing gum.

And then there was the math teacher we always called “Stewie Smith.” He used beer in many of his examples for math because it was the only thing he could do to get anyone’s attention.

And you know what? Even though I forget 99.99% of everything they taught me …

They still teach me because I use them as Bridging Figures in my Memory Palaces.

Milk Those Teachers For All They’re Worth!

Advanced memory improvement tip:

Go through your life history and write down the name and a description of every teacher you've ever had.Click To Tweet

If you remember their names, all the better.

But more importantly, focus on their classrooms. What they looked like. How they moved.

Then keep these details in mind for the next time you need to remember something. If you’ve got the Magnetic Memory Method under your belt, those teachers will serve you very well as mnemonic tools for the rest of your life.

You just have to finesse them a little by doing the simple memory exercise of “excavating” them from your past.

Anyhow …

… As amusing as those teachers were … I still thought grinding out the hours toward this abstract thing called a “high school diploma” was …

A Complete Waste Of Time!

It really felt that way.

Besides, almost every teacher I spent time with obviously had other things they would rather have been doing with their time.

Fishing …

Curling …

Drinking beer …

No Wonder I Became A High School Dropout!

But here’s the thing …

Just because I dropped out of high school doesn’t mean I stopped learning.

Far from it!

When I took my leave from the hallowed halls of high school education …

I did it in a very sneaky way. (Hi Mom, if you’re reading this!)

Every morning, I’d head out to the bus like usual. But instead of standing and waiting for that rusted bucket along with the other kids …

I’d leave for school a little bit earlier.

No one ever saw me.

This was rural Canada, after all.

Frosty mornings …

Turkey farms …

Lots and lots of trees.

The True Story Of My Real High School Diploma

And back then, I carried one of razzmatazz yellow Walkman cassette-radio players.

You know the kind:

Chunky plastic that you bolted down.

Grey plastic nozzles to protect the headphone jacks from getting wet.

(Oh yes, multiple headphone jacks. You just never knew when there was going to be need for a spontenous listening share. We didn’t have Facebook for sharing music videos on YouTube, after all …)

But instead of my fave Metallica and Megadeth or Slayer cassettes those frosty schoolday mornings …

I would listen to CBC Radio.

Peter Gzowski’s Morningside, to be exact. I could get lost in his voice so easily.

Oh! and he always had great guests.

Amazing guests …

People who taught the listeners about themselves …

About the world …

And how to think about it from a myriad of exciting angles.

To hell with school!

I Learned Everything I Needed To Know About My Country And Science And Literature And World Political History During Those 6 Months Just By Walking Up Into The Hills With My Walkman!

To this day, I can’t quite understand why they even bothered having schools!


Why bother back when Gzowksi was so good at asking important authors, musicians and politicians the right questions. And my-oh-my, the stories they would tell!

Anyhow, about 10 minutes along the road, there was a path up into the mountains.

Like some kind of solace-seeking samurai of the mind, I would enter the forest.

And yes, it was dangerous. More than once I nearly got my head kicked off by a startled deer. I can only thank my Magnetic stars that I never encountered a bear.

Not Even That Tank Of A Walkman Could Have Defended Me …

Listening away, I would begin my hike.

Up, up, up.

And once I’d climbed to one of my favorite crests …

I would stand stoic over Silver Creek and watch the road.

I could monitor my mom’s place from that vantage point and even see a Lego-sized version of her scraping ice from the windshield of her car.

Then she’d unplug the engine from the wall, wrap up the orange cable and then motor her way up to the road.

I would half-chuckle, half recoil in horror as I watched her car wind its way towards town. I was getting away with educational-murder, after all, and couldn’t help but question when it was all going to catch up with me.

And here’s the thing:

Dropping Out Of School Always Catches Up With You!

So I would stand there awhile. A good long while.

And listen and listen and listen.

And remember some of the books that were mentioned on Morningside.

And then walk back down the mountain.

Once home, most kids probably would have switched on the TV and Nintendo.

I did neither.

None Of That Brain-Rotting Material Would Do!

Instead, I opened up the encyclopedia.

The same encyclopedia my mother had purchased for me piece by piece when I was a kid.

I remember her clipping coupons and all the excitement around getting a new edition month after month. I was too young to appreciate it at the time, but I understand now that she was investing in my future.

I’m so grateful for them – they’ve help me know how to live an interesting life! Not only that, but they’ve been part of helping me move in the direction of having an encyclopedic memory.

And if I hadn’t dropped out of high school …

The Opportunity To Soak Up All That
Knowledge Would Have Been Lost!

Back then, I hadn’t heard of memory techniques.

But in my own way (just as you should develop your own way), I was still using them.

Like a sponge …

Connecting data …

Linking pieces of an ever-expanding puzzle …

Referring backward and forwards.

Long before “hypertext,” I was making the volumes and pages of the encyclopedia connect.

No Tap. No Click. No Swipe.

For example, when an encyclopedia entry on an author like James Joyce would say “See Modernism,” I would obey.

I would have to down Collier’s Encyclopedia Book of J and haul out the Collier’s Encylopedia Book of M.

And those books I remembered from Morningside?

A lot of them were available at the public library!

And the odd time I would hitch a ride into town on the bus and go hang out there so I could read them.

I would even hang out in Bookingham Palace (where I would later work) to check out some of the books I heard mentioned.

And what exactly what I was doing in all this?

Exactly what we should all do in life.

Don’t Rely On Schools! Make Your Own Textbooks!

I don’t know exactly how I knew to do this. I was just following my instincts, I guess.

And my technique for reading encyclopedias and books would evolve into something I call Magnetic Bibliomancy. It’s not too different than what my good friend Jonathan Levi calls “Brute Force Learning.”

And it is delightful. You should learn it. Jonathan has a free trial just for Magnetic Memory Method fans and students so grab it now.

Looking back … there’s only one thing I would change.

I’d hop into a time machine and teach myself memory techniques so that my present self could …

Remember More Of Everything!

With mnemonics, that would have been more than possible.

It would be insanely possible.

In fact, if I’d only known what I know now …

I could have set a number (as I do now with learning projects) and simply reached it.

Anything is possible when you have a combined memory and learning strategy.Click To Tweet

Not Just How To Memorize, But What To Memorize

This ability is important, and it’s what the Magnetic Memory Method is all about.

But as a young person, you mostly likely have a distinct advantage:

The time and energy to pursue your interests.

Mine was learning. And I didn’t let school get in my way.

And so if you’re a parent listening to this and you have any opportunity to give your son or daughter a “sabbatical” from school so they can pursue a passion or interest …

Just Do It!

I’ll bet your most precious family member has more self-direction than you imagine …

… if you just let them find their way to it.

Anyhow, that’s all I did during my months as a high school dropout.

Learning. Learning. And more learning.

Audio. Text.

Want to know what dragged me back into those hallowed halls so that I finally finished my high school diploma?

Make sure you’re subscribed and tune in for next week’s episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast and full text version on the only memory improvement website devoted to making school easy, fun and downright Magnetic.

4 Responses

  1. What a splendid talk Dr Metivier.

    You have given us such a gift of humour, insight, wit and wisdom.

    Great Canadian memories of beautiful BC and Northern Ontario — Lake Superior offers such beautiful memories — and good opportunities for memory journeys.

    I loved Peter Gzowski and Morningside. What a great man.

    CBC is still rocking! One show still thrilling us is Quirks & Quarks with Bob McDonald.

    Cross country checkup is still bringing Canadians together. Rex Murphy (great bridging figure for R memory palaces) retired and Duncan McCue is now the host.

    CBC shows like Stuart Maclean’s Vinyl Café and so many others offer great ideas for MPs.

    The takeaway message is “Never let school get in the way of your education.”

    Have fun in Brisbane.

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Alex! And so glad to hear that some of these great shows are still on CBC. That’s awesome.

      And yes, old Rex would make a great Bridging Figure. You’re right about Vinyl Café too – that will be a treasure trove of Memory Palaces to be sure.

      Finkelman’s 45s now comes to mind as well … and if one wanted to use a TV series for virtual Memory Palace creation … that would be a relatively uncomplicated source indeed. The episode with David Cronenberg was a classic!

      “Never let school get in the way of education.” Perfect. Why can’t I ever think of how to sum up what I’m trying to say in one line? 😉

  2. Anthony, that was awesome storytelling and a piece of your past that was really interesting to hear! I can imagine you walking through the woods, and even more vividly after watching that video.

    That post is also a good reminder to always use your own brain.

    1. Glad you liked this, Alex and thanks for stopping by to comment. That’s high praise from a story expert like yourself!

      Next time I get back home to Canada, I hope to have a drone so I can make my own video and narrate it instead of poaching something from YouTube. In the meantime, so cool that someone has a video of that road. Gives me a great feeling of nostalgia watching it and thinking of all the writing I did in that place.

      Now if only I hadn’t tossed all those boxes of drafts and copies of my published zines … I remember one of my aunts trying to talk me out of it …

      Ah, the silly decisions of the young writer on his way to the stuff of legend! 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy


Enter your email below to get instant access to my FREE course that gives you a proven step-by-step process for remembering anything you want. You'll discover how to:

  • Speak any language fluently
  • Recall complicated formulas, math equations, or numbers.
  • Master the technical terms for your field of work or study.
  • Recite poetry, jokes, and even long speeches word-for-word
  • Quickly absorb the most important ideas from books, textbooks, or lectures...

Unlock your natural ability to learn and remember anything 3x faster now!


Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

Dr. Metivier holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University and has been featured in Forbes, Viva Magazine, Fluent in 3 Months, Daily Stoic, Learning How to Learn and he has delivered one of the most popular TEDx Talks on memory improvement.

His most popular books include, The Victorious Mind and… Read More

Anthony Metivier taught as a professor at:

Remembering & Recalling Critical Information Becomes Easy With This...

Stop needlessly forgetting! Enter your email below to get instant access to my exclusive course that will show you how to MASSIVELY improve your memory so you can remember important conversations, what you read, and even learn new skills.