“I have learned more in the past 6 months than I have in the past 6 years” is probably not a good conversation starter that you want to use on your parents any time soon. But the simple fact is, I am learning so much about life, leadership, and business right now that I have a hard time keeping my excitement to myself.
Do not tell my parents this, but College was a huge waste of time. Forgive this obvious ignorance, this is not to be a blanket statement. Not all of college is a waste of time, but there were aspects that seemed rather pointless. The money spent, the time wasted and the pointless classes all have led me to believe college isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. College can be more like a place to hide rather then a place to excel.
Dream with me here, what if instead of going to college right after high school we started a business, traveled the world, moved to a different city, or even invested the money in the stock market? What if we did it all different then what we were told to do?
I remember when I was a junior in high school. Me and my friends would often listen to the Michael Savage show. Mainly because we liked to see what was happening in the world, but often because he was just a crazy guy that yelled about a lot of stupid things. If you have ever listened to the Michael Savage show you can remember him always talking about investing in gold. That was his thing, and because it was his thing we wanted it to be our thing. Now you have to remember that this was 2003. Gold was starting to make an appearance on the scene of things to invest in and turn a profit on, but nothing like it is today. I remember a couple of months ago talking to a friend about Michael Savage. He told me that the day before he was looking through some storage and found a packet that he received from the Michael Savage show. Inside of this packet was an advertisement for gold. As he laughed about the past memories of listening to the show he also laughed about the fact that if we would have invested some money in gold our junior year of high school we would all have made a good chunk of change several years later.
I do not tell you this story so that you go and invest in gold, I tell you this story to show the missed opportunity. The ridiculous that was a bunch of 17 year old guys investing in gold.
I tell this story to show the ridiculousness of the system.
What is the system? The system is the very thing that you and me grew up in. The system is the structure that forms our lives. And the system says that 17 year old guys should not be thinking about the future but rather focusing on parties and girls. Sometimes I feel like college is a part of that system.
“A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed,” he says. “Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.”
As we know with any bubble, it can only get so big and can pop at any time. And inside this bubble of higher education we have a lot of people full of hot air saying that education is the safe way to go. Take for example what Steven D. Levitt, wrote the book freakonomics, recently said about college: (read the rest here)
The numbers that people have come up with over and over are that every extra year of education that you get will translate into an 8 percent increase in earnings over your lifetime. So someone who graduated from college will earn about 30 percent more on average than someone who only graduated from high school.
Here are two conflicting reports, one says that college is a bubble about to burst the other says that the more college you attend the more money you make. One can I argue that they are both correct?
College is simply a choice. A choice that everyone (unfortunately this is not a reality) should be able to make. After a time of examination and reflection, I have decided that though going to college was a great experience, it was also a great hinderance.
This challenge of going to college is not for everyone. I said earlier that often times people go off to college to extend high school, 13th grade. It is a place to hide from the haunting reality of having to grow up. For others it is a step in the direction of a goal. But it does not always equal success.
I think we equate going to college with producing formulas for success. Like there is a secret code that is hidden in our diplomas and upon graduating we will receive the mystery of life. But I would argue that one might need the very opposite to find all of these things, that not attending college could be the very thing that could produce successful people. But I want you to notice something. Not everyone is meant to not go to college. See what I did there? It use to be said, not everyone is fit for going to college, but I think we can now reverse that and say that not everyone is ready to take this step of not going to college.
3 things that you don’t need a college education for:
Why do I think I shouldn’t have gone to college?
Here are 3 things that I am noticing that I am learning on my own away from college and on my own.
Every day I wake up around 7:30am. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Like most people who rise early to go to work, I wake up early for work as well. The only difference is I work for myself. I have learned that if I wake up early and start working I am more productive throughout the day. This does not necessarily mean that waking up early gives you drive, but it does mean that drive helps you wake up early.
I develop this drive because I learned what it means to make a difference, to have some success, and to want to help others. I have a reason to wake up each morning. Not to go take a test, write a paper, or make an 8 O’Clock class, but to grab ahold of the potential each day has to and to hustle. It sounds very rainbows and sunshine type of an attitude, but I have learned very quickly that you never know who is watching or what email will be sent to you that could lead to great opportunity.
Getting a D on a paper does not have the same power of hearing no. If drive comes from having motivation then determination comes from having vision. Determination develops over time and does not follow far behind drive. Determination is the thing that pushes you forward, that forces you out of bed, that helps you see patience will pay off, and that fights the fear of rejection.
Determination does not come from getting a grade, determination comes from being challenged.
I will be honest, I wanted to make these all start with a D, but detection fits in. Detection is the skill of being able to see things. Detection is often thought about in the line of investigation, but in this case detection has more to do with seeing things that are not really there. Detection is all about accessing a situation and having a gut reaction. As important as drive and determination can be, without detection all of these skills are pointless. Detection allows you to see the future, it allows you to make important decisions, and it allows you to see things happen before they actually do.
Often times following the system or the status quo is simple more about hiding then succeeding. Sometimes it is easier to do what everyone else is doing in hopes that you might be that lucky person that gets exactly what is promised. This can be true for college, your job, or simply life. Sometimes it is easier to go into auto-pilot mode and follow the necessary steps when all we really need to do is step out and create our own steps.
College is not for everyone, neither is not going to college for everyone. But challenging the system must be done by all.