Thank you for sharing your personal story. I can relate to it on several levels.
What I found particularly interesting was that you said you dropped out of college because your zen practice was taking off. What does that mean exactly? For me it was the opposite. I started falling in love with college because I could study Buddhism among other religions there.
I see colleges in the way Michel Foucault described them. For all their promise, they are very much stifling and ultra-conservative. I really don't want to go into massive debt in order to have my interests suffocated and my mind narrowed for the sake of some technical specialization, which is what American higher Ed is. I'm motivated to look into a long term monastic training program at a local monastery. I want to explore my potential as a monastic.