For the record, my path so far has been very different from Aaron’s! I completed my bachelor’s with a double major in Studio Art and Japanese Language and Culture and regret none of it. I resent the student loan debt, yes, but the experience was very good for me and I’m glad I went through with it. I did, however, drop out of a grad school level illustration program, which I felt would have been extremely helpful to folks coming in with little to no experience, but was ultimately redundant and counterproductive for me.
I also had a job doing product and packaging design for two years right out of school, and was an office manager at a lawn care and landscaping company after that before eventually pursuing art full-time. So there’s that!