dropping out from oxford
on my chaotic lifestyle and starting dropoutDAO
A very belated update — the last month has been crazy to say the least. Strap your seatbelt and follow along the thrill of a month… 🎢
After taking a leave from CMU, I studied abroad at Oxford. My reason for studying abroad was several, including having a better balance in a liberal arts and tech background.
I had an amazing time at Oxford, and absolutely loved the campus and environment. I had several friends who have studied abroad at Oxford previously, and they pitched me on the different education system, with one-on-one tutoring over lecture-based classes. My two courses that I self-created with “digital relationships” and “building virtual worlds,” and I was matched with experts in the field at Oxford and could not have been luckier in my placement. My college, Magdalen, was the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen and everyday I felt like I was walking and living in a historical castle. I felt the weight of the history and of the glory of being in the #1 university in the world.
Though I loved my professors, I still felt that there was something missing in my education. The classes were personalized, but were still lacking in terms of learning pace and customization. Rather than learning applicable information, I wrote long research papers that required empirical evidence and were based on concrete facts over psychology and intuition. In addition, there was little opportunity to meet other students, create, and learn through building since the classes were one-on-one. Over the first few weeks, I contemplated going back to the U.S., and being with the tight-knit community that I’ve spent the last few months building up.
Eventually at the end of two weeks, thanks to a very successful Twitter poll and the light convincing from Dave, I caved into my yearning to go back to the U.S., and booked a next day ticket back to Miami for Miami Hack Week. There, my friend and I built a project called DropoutDAO for fun.
DropoutDAO started as a meme, where Ami and I created a Telegram group chat to connect our friends and then friends of friends who have taken a leave from school or dropped out. We thought it’d be cool to bring together interesting people together in one place. However, to our surprise there was much more to it than that (read our manifesto here).
During Miami Hack Week, the first day we worked on it, the page got over 400 followers in 24 hours, then hit 1,000+ within a week. Our second tweet got hundreds of comments. All the students we met at Miami Hack Week had seen or talked about it. It was exhilarating, and we got the attention of key figures in the web3 space quickly.
Once I got back to the UK, I felt like something was missing there. I kept working on DropoutDAO, sleeping in U.S. time, and working 7pm to 4am each day. I didn’t expect this to be full-time, but it was basically taking up all of my waking hours. Eventually, I felt that it was pointless to stay in Europe if I was on calls all the time in U.S. time.
I called the shots and booked a ticket to NYC for that Friday.
Oddly, there’s no formal process to drop out of Oxford. What better way to make someone stay in school than not give an outlet to get out right? I had one friend there who did (he’s probably the only one) and he told me I’d have to ignore my classes and tell my professors to fail me. For awhile, I thought about just gritting my teeth and finishing the last few weeks. But I knew it wasn’t worth it. The next few weeks could be years of work missed if I waited, and I wasn’t going to do well in my courses when my head wasn’t there.
I emailed my professors and told them to fail me because I already had my ticket back the the U.S. and I would take whatever consequences they gave me.
Over the next few days, I set up 1-1s with all my friends who did freelance work, set up a plan to be able to pay my bills and support myself, organized three fully-sponsored houses with Ami to bring 30 of our friends and members of DropoutDAO for ETH Denver…
…continued doing a series of 1 on 1s to build our community from the ground up, and tried my best to scrap together as much money as I could to continue to build runway for myself so I could keep working on this.
ETH Denver was crazy — living with dropoutDAO community, co-hosting events every day, throwing a 350+ person party…
…meeting so many young and talented students, seeing Vitalik in-person 🤯, seeing so so many friends that I’ve met online in the living breathing form, bearing with snowstorms and sub-zero degree weather togethe — and a miscellaneous assortment of memories forever minted into all of our brains collectively. ✨
This is only the start, more to come soon 👀👅
So happy to have made the decision to take another leave, and I owe it to all the amazing people (tyyy Ami, Adil, Shrav, Em, Michelle, Evan, Tanthai, Roy, Sasha, James, Trisha, Kevin, Jerry, Timmy, Zach, Jason, Matthew, Oliver) over the last few months for inspiring and empowering me to push myself and do all that I never would’ve thought I could have done myself. 🌱
what i’ve been up to ✨
just got back to the bay, will be in SF for at least the next couple weeks! :) will be having more IRL events, keep updated through @dropout_dao
currently planning a co-living house for dropoutDAO in SF for march to may, DM me if you’re interested or would like to sponsor / partner
thinking of hosting a co-living house in seattle for my internship this summer instead of living in corporate housing (lmk if you’d be interested!)
designing merch for dropoutdao
trying (still) to get better at 3d art — still in bewilderment that someone bought an NFT I made for 0.5 ETH???
trying to read more, especially about unschooling & outdated school systems, dao structure and governance
trying my best to stay healthy and bear with relentless back pain, also need to start working out again and not eating terribly
forgot all my makeup collection i’ve collected and gave love to over the last few years in denver :( — but airbnb host was nice to agree to ship it over yayay
TY for reading this if you made it this far!! all love & let’s catchup 💖