Austin Life Coach | College Guidance | Personal Development Plan

  • ROI wasn’t worth it
  • Too many people “Wish they had not gone.”
  • Felt too “entitled” while in school
  • Knew there were other options
  • Didn’t want to waste $ “figuring it out”
  • I can always go back

“I didn’t go to college. Well, I went to college but I dropped out. I have always been entrepreneurial and I realized that college just wasn’t the route for me. But my parents felt differently so I was forced to give it a try. One semester was enough for me to realize I didn’t want to be there but somehow my parents convinced me to go back. One semester later I was gone!”

Not Going to College

College is an easy intersection between people so it plays a huge role in social interaction. Questions like “Where are you going / where did you go to school?” or “What are you studying?” are a simple way to get to know someone. In these interactions people judge me when I tell them I dropped out, but I follow up with my clever elevator pitch (above) and I immediately go from being the “lame college drop out” to the “college-dropout-entrepreneur”.

But since this question has come up so much lately I have been thinking about college and asking myself questions like:

“Why did I not go? Will I ever go back? Should I at least get a bachelors degree? Should I maybe try an online degree?”

These questions have raised more questions about why I don’t want to go to college, what I don’t like about the whole industry (yes, it’s a business), and what my next step is without a degree. Here are my thoughts on the college topic.

They say, “You NEED a degree…”

To go in to that field.

Whenever I talk about the idea that a college degree isn’t necessary, inevitably the person I’m talking with brings up doctors, engineers, or other specialty careers that require degrees. Or grad school. These don’t apply. The main point is that the average degree will get you a job that an ambitious and dedicated individual without a degree could get. Most of the time the degree is used as the first test to see if you are credible for that job. “Yes, you went to college and got good grades, good you won’t be a total failure when we hire you.” That’s about all a degree does. But what if you could convey your credibility without a degree? Yes, it’s very possible. (Or what if you don’t even want a job?)

To be successful.

This is a blatant lie. There is no arguing this point. Do some research.

To get a job.

Nope, the degree gets you past the first level of security. But there are back doors, bribes, and connections that will get you past security, too. If you can take some time to plan out how to get past security and act on your plan, I guarantee it will take less time to get the job you want than the four years that it took to get your degree.

Because it is important.

This is just false because 10 years from now your degree will mean nothing. Literally, you won’t remember half (if not more) of the stuff you learned, it will be outdated, and someone else will have newer “book-smarts” for your field. The degree is really not that important in the long run. Work ethic, experience, and hustle are way more important.

Most people go to college for 3 reasons:

1) It’s the “right / smart / best” thing to do.

I don’t want go too far into this because it has been covered indefinitely across the board. To make it short, college used to work when it almost guaranteed the America dream. The American Dream is vastly different than what it once was and a guarantee doesn’t exist anymore: There’s no “guarantee” that college will pay off (like it used to). You have other options that might suit you more, will be smarter in the long run, or better for your path.

2) To have the “College Experience”

The “College Experience” is pushed very aggressively in our media. Over and over again we see the “College Experience” portrayed in movies and music, which builds the college image. Many high school graduates want to go to college to be away from their family, to party, to be free, to live on their own terms, and to make their own decisions. They want the all night cramming sessions at coffee shops, the socializing and partying, they want the whole college experience. It’s portrayed in movies and T.V. shows and everybody wants to take part in that lifestyle.

3) To figure out what they want with their lives.

College buys students 4 years of experiences that help them figure out and narrow down what they want to do with “their life”. Well, it used to. But in my experience working with the people to whom this should apply, it really doesn’t. Most college seniors graduate without the understanding of what they want to do (or how to figure it out). They are still searching for their meaning and calling four years later.

How This Applies

I’m not saying, “Don’t go to college.” I’m not saying, “Drop out.”

I’m suggesting that you really think about what you are doing.

The direct-to-college route is probably not best for most people. Sure, there are exceptions, but for the vast majority, you have options besides going directly to college (or going at all). I saw the progression, talked to people about their experiences, and decided that I didn’t want to pay for my $60K-$100K “I made it” piece of paper. So I dropped out. I realized that I could experience all the reasons people go to college without actually going to college.

I could hustle, live, learn and get the job I really want (if I want a job). I can live the college experience on my own terms, go to all the same parties, and be free without having to actually go to school. And I can ACTUALLY figure out what I want to do with my life instead of having professors and the educational system direct my career choices.

Sure, getting a job might be a little bit harder without a degree but, like I said, there are ways around it. A degree is literally status quo in America and to really get high level jobs higher levels of education are now required. So you either go all the way up the college latter or you take the time to figure out the back doors and work your way up from there.

What Does the Future Hold?

How will it fair for me not going to college? We shall see!

But so far I’m loving my journey and my path towards living a successful life. I have a very clear idea (and it’s becoming more and more clear) of what I want to do with my life, what my strengths are, how to improve my weaknesses, and how to live my life. I’ve figured / am figuring it out so there’s no telling where the path goes. Maybe college will be back on the horizons but for now I don’t see that happening.

Article Written By: Zach Horvath from Action Catalyst

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