David Bowie. Steven Spielberg. Abraham Lincoln. Richard Branson.
Would you guess that none of these people had a college education?
During college, it’s pretty much drilled into your head that if you get this degree it’s a golden ticket to job paradise. Oh boy, have I found out since graduating in 2008 that you can have a piece of paper saying you are the destroyer of boredom and get further than having a degree, especially in these very tough economic times. A year later and still unemployed with a very expensive piece of paper in a frame and still paying off student loans. However, what I did learn in college with a BA in Communications is the technical skills necessary to creating my own brand. I’ve accomplished more than I would ever expect in college guidance councilor’s wildest dreams. By learning photoshop, how to do my own video and press releases has saved me tons of money in having to hire others. But did I need to spend the money to learn this in an institution or could I have self educated myself?
This was recently brought to focus when I over heard a conversation with a young man to his mother. He had a business plan and seemed to have a driving passion to get it off the ground. He was arguing with his mother, he wanted them to spend the money for college to invest in his passions, she wanted him to go off to an expensive medical school. Seemingly, completely different path than his idea. I felt saddened by his inner fire being extinguished by others dreams and a financial prison.
It was almost painful to hear this conversation as I have had so many extremely talented friends get forced into going into college only to be completely disinterested and better off being self educated and self employed. Most of these friends ended up dropping out of college and becoming quite the entrepreneurs. However, I believe that my experiences in college made me grow to who I am. I think some of us need those years to explore our different interests, heck, I wanted to be a International Business major and I almost moved to the Netherlands. Around my last year in college I really started focusing myself and finding my true passion in life, social media.
The best advice I can give to those parents that are financially strapped for college right now, I recommend community college first then a big university. Why? My community college days allowed me to get general requirements out of the way while staying closer to home, cutting on housing costs and with a comparison of $60 per credit hour to $400 a credit hour at a private university.
Remember that movie Rushmore? I was that brainy kid at my community college, in every single club and student activity board. I worked my ass off, being on campus more than most of the staff from 6am to 10pm some days between classes, clubs, meetings, events and working on campus under work study. It paid off big time, all those clubs and volunteer hours sure helped out get the financial aid and scholarships to afford the bigger private university to gain my B.A. degree. I could easily say I saved $50,000 on my college education by attending community college and getting involved.
Above all, you are all students of the world. Learn from those before you and decide for yourself on your future. Fight for it if you have to, I can’t count the number of times I went in front a Board Of Trustees telling me I couldn’t do something or I couldn’t afford something. Doing so, I was able to afford to attend a private university and get a trip to Europe all while fighting against poverty and distance. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t attend most of my last year of school while being in Greenville and they don’t normally offer distance learning classes. How? I fought for the ability to educate myself with guidance from educators, honestly… that was my most productive year in college because I was able to focus on my passions. (Thank you to all those professors that stuck with me in those very hard times!)
Kudos to all you beautiful young brains, graduating high school soon. If you know where your passion lies… learn one word. Autodidacticism. It’s your choice, your life. Poor or rich, you can make yourself into who YOU want to be if you fight hard enough. Keep fighting.