School isn't a totally accurate barometer for success. It's often said geniuses like Albert Einstein did very poorly in school, but went on to have extremely fulfilling careers.
When we are in school, though, we are taught to believe that we must become factory robots who produce straight As or else our future will be flushed down the drain. While this is not always the case--sometimes, the system in the United States really does work against those with lower GPAs and less opportunities.
But those stories that circumnavigated that hardship are inspirational.
Here were some of those answers.
Planes, Trains, and More Planes
I almost failed my last year of High school. I have no idea how but I managed to pass lol
I'll always have a little resentment for this. My parents forced me to go to college and I didn't even know what I wanted to do. I enjoyed animating at the time, I just didn't know if I wanted that as a career. The only class I thoroughly enjoyed was Drama. I liked acting, I was in ALL the school plays. So... I went with trying to become a teacher to teach that course. It went alright until my YouTube channel was doing GOOD. My animations were skyrocketing and I realized I wanted to that instead of school... but. My idiot mind didn't handle it well then I got kicked out of University at my 2nd year. So I spent a long time animating... then my channel got shut down for no reason. F**k you YouTube. Then my fiancé left me after that.
I was in a dark place for a long time. But out of the blue my buddy asked me if I wanted a job in a components shop for Aviation. They said they "needed an idiot to wash parts" and... I wasn't working. I needed money so I was like "yeah!" And I showed up the next day. I showed up an hour early regularly, I was genuinely interested in what was going on. I think both my manager and my boss noticed. I liked being there. I think my first week there as a temporary employee I did overtime. Like on a Friday I worked till 9 lol. So they obviously saw I was a brand new ace in the hole. After 4 months they hired me full time and now they're sending me to school. I got my level 1 AME license done and I'll be going for level 2 next January
It became a dream job after I arrived and I'm so happy to be where I'm at. My grades didn't matter. They just saw I was a hard worker... and now. I have my life together again.
Creativity Knows No Math
I did really badly in school. I hated it because I struggled with maths and with writing. I had good ideas but couldn't seem to get them onto the paper. I left school and worked in a shop Then I joined an acting class and eventually got into drama school in London. Learned to touch type as a way of writing comedy sketches....did well. Now I'm a professional writer. Turns out I have dysgraphia and dyscalculia. Took me 15 years to work that out.
It's Always Creatives
Got tired of high school, so I quit and did different jobs. In my mid 20's I started doing webdesign courses and found out I really loved it. Used all my savings (and got some help from my mom) to put life on hold for a few years and went to finish my high school degree, start college and get my degree to become a webdesigner. At 29 I got a permanent job at the place I interned and get to do design work and front end development in a small web agency and I love it ^^
It's Not One Size Fits All
This is me but let me explain something first.
Some kids respond better to different teachers and different environments in different schools. I feel there are very few bad teachers, it's just some teachers don't gel with some kids.
First school I went to, I was bottom at everything, went to a new school and suddenly didn't just excel, I became top at maths and IT. Next school, right to the bottom again, next school, I went into the top few in some subjects, even doing some exams early.
I then went to college and flunked everything because I discovered girls and how being a DJ got me lots of sex.
After leaving college early, working abroad, etc. I setup a company renting lighting and sound equipment, bought property, sold the company and now I own a software company that in 3 years has taken huge contracts from our competitors and still growing fast.
I do have a high IQ, it's just my parents didn't motivate me regarding school, so I got lousy grades. The same was true for my father. My son is the opposite and is super academic.
I also worked really hard for really long hours, and still do.
Getting rich is not easy, if it was, we all would be millionaires. You are competing against the rest of the planet and you have to convince people that you are better than others so they should give you loads of money.
Life is either a huge stressful competition, or you can have an easy life and do something that you enjoy.
Money is not the the only measurement of success, it is for some, but others are happy with living day by day with no stress and doing a job they love. I wish sometimes I was the latter.
Youth Ain't Everyone's Peak
I was a "Mess up" in HS - summer school every summer, barely graduated, not even a C average. Took a crack at the State U; got put out in short order. Got fired from a string of jobs because I was nineteen and I had a lot of attitude. Got a job in a factory building machinery. Had to go in the Army. Drank, worked as bartender and bouncer. Finally graduated the State U at 36; started law school at fifty, downtown office now. Life is far from perfect but it's vastly better than it was in my youth. Don't give up on yourself, don't sell yourself short, don't buy into negativity! You are not "struggling" - you are on a journey!
School Ain't My Place
Dropped out of highschool, got my GED, tried college but realized it just wasn't for me. I joined the Us Army and while I was enlisted I realized that I'm just going to have to figure my own way because I can't stand school. So I made my own way, learned to code 25 years ago and have done very well for myself. My brother has a similar story but he didn't even bother trying college. He's followed his dreams and made successful careers out of his hobbies. Just because school doesn't work out for you don't think less of yourself and don't underestimate your value.
A Nice Start
I'm in IT. Got bad grades all through high school because I didn't apply myself and took 8 years of online classes to make it through college with "Get a C and get a Degree mentality".
In the long run it didn't really hurt me, but it did make my path to get to my current position a little more convoluted. I ended up joining the Army since my prospects were slim initially and was able to get entry level experience and turn my security clearance into a nice start in the civilian world once I got out.
If I had to do it over again I might do things different, but I don't regret any decision.
I was a bad student in high school, but managed to pass.
In college/grad school, I think what helped me do a lot better was the fact that my parents weren't involved. I am 100% a believer of this. My parents were "involved" in my work all the time — making me tell them about my tests/quizzes/projects so that they'd always know to ask about my grade in it later. They always knew.
One stretch of time in 8th grade, I remember just going 'screw it' and not telling them anything. After ~1mo or so, my dad called the teacher and she told him all my test grades — all of which were in the B-range; a lot better than usual, at the time. There was no acknowledgement of being impressed with my independent performance. The big issue was that I never told them about these tests/grades. That was THE takeaway from that.
My parents always made it sound like a threat that when I finally went to college, they wouldn't be able to monitor my studies. And at the time, it was scary. But in reality, it was GREAT! I made honors three times (each level of school) — all without my parents breathing down my neck!
Now I work in a hospital
Once Again, Poor Metrics
I got fairly bad grades in highschool. My guidance counsellor told me to join the army and be an infantry soldier because I'd never go to university/college or be successful.
I ended up getting a BA and now I'm an ESL teacher. Currently looking at options to get fully certified and step up the teaching game.
I was a terrible student in high school, bottom percentage of my class, had to take a summer class after graduation because I didn't pass economics. They let me walk but I didn't get my diploma until like, August.
I watched all my friends go off to colleges while I went to community college after getting rejected from a few schools I applied to. Eventually went to a four-year college and graduated in two years with ok grades, not great. I was an art major so my grades depended mostly on meeting deadlines and quality of the work. Forward 10 years, I went back for certificate degree then started to work in my field (design). Now I'm working for a multi-national corporation and making six figures.
So being a crappy student hindered my ability to stay on a timeline along with my peers, but didn't prevent me from a successful life as a working adult.