Formal Education is overrated. Unless you are planning to join a career in a very specialized field such as becoming a medical specialist – Doctor, Radiologist, Nurse, etc… or plan on becoming an Attorney, Physicist, Electrician, or Plumber(all by the way noble professions that I highly respect), your need for going to College or trade school for the sake of just furthering your career is pointless.
This is not to say having a certain degree or certification that may raise your salary cap is inherently bad or overrated, but rather that having a degree or certification for the sake of having one in “hopes” of getting a raise (see my gambling vs investing post) is pointless.
The cost of higher education continues to skyrocket. I personally know someone who’s $20,000 college loan eventually became a $40,000 loan thanks to compounding interest. That is one expensive education! Granted it was a good education, but it does make one pause and think “Is it worth it?”. This is why I’m going to encourage you to take at least a year off after highschool to figure out what your interests are. Watch the video below. I don’t agree with Alan Watts’s full philosophy, but I’m not here to make an ad hominem (look this up, as well as other logical fallacies) attack on him. His point is great and I wish I knew about it when I was younger.
I made the mistake – as a first generation college student – going right into college and pursuing a degree in accounting. I absolutely hated it. I didn’t like accounting, but I struggled through it, and eventually I quit. I had zero passion for it. Instead, I thought to myself “I’m really only really going to have one opportunity at this college thing, what do I want to do”. I ended up getting a degree in Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry (double concentration in Poetry – as I took 2 senior seminar workshops in it and extra courses from different professors). I’ll save the details on why I chose that degree later. Long story short I wanted the degree, because I had a passion for it.
Nowadays with the internet (we are so lucky to have access to the internet), a world class education is just a click away. Free education is on YouTube, everything from business, mathematics, mechanics, cooking, to geology. Experts and Professionals practically are dying to share their knowledge about the subjects they are passionate for. Now you can’t believe everything that you see or read on the internet, but the YouTube community and the internet community as whole has a way of weeding out the BS (Banana Stems – no one likes eating those). Do your diligence before using your academic energies while studying under a self proclaimed internet expert – you definitely want to vet the people you watch.
Another way to get a great education is by joining curated learning websites such as Udemy.com and Lynda.com. If you want to take your education to a whole another level you can also take a look at EdX.org. The EdX program was started by Harvard University and MIT to – as their mission statement states –
Increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere
Enhance teaching and learning on campus and online
Advance teaching and learning through research
The best part is that this education is free. The only downside is that it will take a ton of discipline to complete these courses. One of the advantages of going to a traditional college is that there are consequences if you don’t attend class or take exams. With self-paced learning the only consequence is a waste of time or a loss of opportunity. I used to think that the only thing in common every single human being had on this earth was death. Sounds morbid, but we are all going to eventually die or so we think (take a look at google’s calico project). Well the President of my current company told me of another “equalizer” which is that “we all have twenty-four hours a day, it’s what we do with those twenty-four hours that will make a difference”. What will you be doing with your twenty-four hours? Playing games, goofing off, or making a difference?
Thanks for reading!