Risking my ‘school’ for my education

Isabella Grandic
11 min readNov 9, 2022

2 weeks before grade 11, I withdrew from high school.

I had no plan, just a desire for a bolder education. To see and *actually* do things in the world.

I was on a houseboat in Amsterdam, living and working with the daughter of the godfather of lab-grown meat. A year prior, I had no idea what lab-grown meat was.

It inspired me —

— the change a year can bring when you skip 70% of your classes to follow your curiosity.

For me, that looked like being the 15-year-old face of cellular agriculture. The girl who knew the distinguishing biochemical steps of Beyond vs Impossible vs Lab-grown meat products. The girl whose curiosity for the future of food was unbounded, so unbounded she nearly never went to school.

I knew I didn’t want to skip 70% of school anymore. I wanted 100%, at least for a year.

I pressed withdraw.

Days before withdrawing! With the best crew of women in Amsterdam.

My journey to being a grade 11 dropout

In grade 10, I found every (interesting) excuse not to go to school. Like:

  • Volunteering at the Toronto Machine Learning Summit (before I’d ever written a line of code).
  • Shadowing venture capitalists at the Creative Destruction Lab (before I knew what a venture or a capitalist was).
  • Doing a technical deep dive on the barrier of fetal bovine serum for lab-grown meat (before I understood any of the biochemistry around lab-growing meat).

I chased rare experiences whose ROIs (returns on investment) were interesting stories.

Each day I didn’t go to school, I made decisions that developed unique skills/stories/networks. By extension, I made the time I invested in school more valuable and efficient because it had to be. Parkinson’s law.

I condensed my “conventional” time investments (school) into the minimum amount viable to achieve my goals. Then, I maximized the rest as an 80/20 rule meets google calendar fanatic.

An example of my maximizing:

It started with an interest in vouching for sustainable biotechnologies for food! I literally watched a YouTube video that made me…

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Isabella Grandic

Aspiring healthcare infrastructure designer, technologist and scientist.