This Woman Quit Her Ivy League School and Went Off the Grid Completely

Columbia University student Nayla Kidd recently escaped her Ivy League life, packed up her belongings, and literally disappeared.

She deactivated her Facebook account, turned off her phone, and went off the grid entirely. She was reported as a missing person. The 19-year-old simply wasn’t happy at Columbia, and with all the associated pressures and expectations imposed upon her. Kidd penned her thoughts in a piece for the New York Post, titled, “Why I Had to Quit My Ivy League Life and Disappear.”

Her story is a powerful one that speaks to societal pressures, how we define success, and the ability to follow your heart, passion, and happiness over anything else. Her story is relatable to young professionals who leave the secure corporate world to follow their dreams. Inspired by Kidd, we did some thinking about the importance of following the desires that consume your thoughts – sometimes.

If you’re on the verge of dropping it all to follow your heart and build the life you really want, here are 7 tips to start fresh without hitting a wall.


Photo: J.C. Rice

1. Be Prepared
Starting fresh can mean unexpected challenges and costs. Make sure you have a cushion of cash in your savings account before you start a clean slate. Of course, being prepared also means having clearly defined goals.

2. Have a ‘Plan B’
Outline your goals, but also have a backup plan just in case. You always need to have something to fall back on.

3. Be Ready for a Financial Hit
Most people can expect their bank account and wallet to take a major hit in the case of leaving a stable 9-5 to start a company. As a result, be prepared for your lifestyle to adapt accordingly. That is, until your business starts to take off, of course.

4. Seek a Mentor
Any major life change is made easier with the advice, insight, and wisdom of others who have been there. No matter your pursuit, make it a point to find someone you can turn to for guidance. Sometimes, the Internet just doesn’t cut it.

5. Have a Stress Release
Change can be stressful. Make sure have outlets to release your stress so that it doesn’t negatively affect your life. This can mean anything from yoga and meditation to jamming out on an electric guitar.

6. Don’t Look Back
Once you’ve made the decision for a major life change, don’t look back. Sure, there will be days when things about your old job or your ex seem pretty attractive. But remember that you made the change for a reason.