Friday, July 29, 2016

College: The Unnecessary and Avoidable Evil

I'm a little over two months into my freelancing career change and at the moment it's not going all that well. I haven't been hired for any steady jobs and the jobs I have been hired for haven't paid all that well--though I'm grateful to have gotten them, something is better than nothing.

However, I am in pretty good spirits and I am learning a lot about freelancing and a lot about myself. I still couldn't be happier and I am positive things will get better.

I have been listening to podcasts and reading blogs and articles about how to make it as a freelance writer and it's mind blowing how a lot of these folks share my mindset when it comes to college institutions. All of these freelancers want the same thing: they want to be their own boss, run their own life, make money the way they want to make it without being a slave to a corporate paycheck.

So Naive I was...

Sooo not worth it. Keep your diploma, I'll take that money back.

I WASTED four years of my life to get a Communications degree. Don't get me wrong, I am somewhat proud to have graduated college. I was the first in my family to get a diploma. (Well actually I still don't have it, it's in a vault with my school because I have to pay $150 bucks to get it out. Just to stick it on my wall? Nah.) If I could do it over again though, I wouldn't have gone at all or at least not go on my own dime.

When I signed up for college, I was truly I naive fool. Although I received some grants and scholarships, I still had to take out loans to help pay for the tuition costs because I chose to go to a terribly expensive private college that I just on a whim decided to go to because I liked the way the campus looked, not knowing that the campus was so pristine and beautiful because it was built off the blood, sweat and tears of gullible undergrads.

I wish that I had thought about work-study programs and additional scholarships, but I was only 18 years old. I didn't have a friggin' clue what I was doing, and my immigrant parents weren't savvy enough to point me in the right direction. There was no one around to evaluate the wisdom of the decisions I was making, and no one making sure I actually understood the borrowing process and the clusterfudge I was getting myself into.

College to me really just brought me nearly $50,000 of debt that could've been avoidable had I just invested my time in google searches, YouTube tutorials and Wikipedia to learn what I wanted to learn rather than pay an institution to teach me (poorly).

The degree is utterly useless to me. The only benefit it brings is to my resume and even that is pretty insignificant. No employer effing cares about what degree I have or where I went to school or my damn GPA. Employees only care if you know how to make them money which you can't really prove by telling them you've been in a classroom for 4+ years.

It's NOT a Safety Net

People and even kids these days are practically brainwashed to say that college is, "a safety net so you could get a job." I bet if I were to ask them who told them that, they would be flabbergasted.

I read today that employers are caring less and less about degrees and there are companies that post jobs that are not putting a college degree as a requirement to be hired. Google has stopped looking at degrees and other companies are following suit. So what's the friggin' point of getting one now?

So What Should We do instead?

Eventually my kids are going to get to the age where they are going to contemplate going to college. Heck, society will still implant it in their naive brains that it's a MUST if you want to be successful even though a lot of highly successful celebrities have done without it. So I will give them this advice that I will give you.
  • Do what you love. Figure out what your passion is and figure out the best way to pursue this passion. You'll likely find that college is actually an obstacle and not a prerequisite to doing what you want to do in life.
  • Study, study study. You don't need to be in a school setting to study. Study things you enjoy. The internet isn't just there for social media, porn and other distractions. Like I said above, Google search, Wikipedia and YouTube tutorials beat the crap out of college because you learn the same stuff in a BETTER and QUICKER way for FREE.

  • Work or Intern in your field. You wanna be a lawyer? Work or intern at a law firm and see if you'll really enjoy it. Whatever you want to do, find a place in your area that does it and inquire about working there even if its to fetch donuts. You'll see how things are, people may be willing to teach you a thing or two and you'll be a 100 steps ahead of those undergrads that are stuck in classrooms.
  • Read every day. Five pages a day of anything. I read in an article that after college "80% of people never pick up a book again." If you don't want to read, listen to podcasts about things that interest you. The mind needs to continously develop and you can't do that sitting in a cubicle doing crap you hate for 40 hours a week.
  • Learn the following skills which are crucial in every aspect of life but are never taught in classrooms:
    • a. Sales (particularly selling yourself)
    • b. Negotiating
    • c. Self-care/Self-love (Positive self-thinking)
    • d. Interpersonal Communication

Now I'm not ruling out college completely. Some people do actually benefit from college and enrolling in a program that they are interested in. But that's few and far between. If you do go to college and I will tell my children this too, don't PAY FOR IT. Make it fully covered via scholarship so you don't pay a cent for it. If you can't do that, DON'T GO.

As a child of immigrant parents, I know how much parents try to influence you to do things you don't give a flying freak about doing. College is the holy grail for these unsuspecting parents. Here's an interesting tidbit from a blog I read:

I was at a dinner once. Someone who was working for Mayor Bloomberg asked me, “Would you let someone who didn’t go to college give you brain surgery?” 
I said, “It’s not about me. Would you let your son who has no interest in being a doctor, go to four years of school and another 4 years of medical school just so he can operate on my brain even though he hates every minute of it and gets a million dollars into debt?”

Enough said.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Procrastination, Our Terrible Friend

An interesting theory on Procrastination and How To Stop it From Killing Our Goals

So I was procrastinating all week when it came to figuring out what subject I was going to write about this week and while trying to avoid brainstorming I came up with a brilliant topic: procrastination!

While mindlessly scrolling my Facebook feed--my go-to procrastination tool in my unproductivity utility belt--I saw an article post entitled,  "9 ways to stop Procrastinating on Your Screenplay". Interestingly enough, that is exactly what I've been doing! 

Seeing as how the article was relevant to my exact situation, I gave it a quick look-see and was fascinated by an insight about procrastination that was articulated in a way that I have never heard before: 
"Procrastination is ultimately a fear of being judged".
Suffice to say, I was intrigued.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The No BS Guide to the 2016 Presidential Election for Those who Despise Politics (Like me)

Yeah I know what you're thinking. It's the middle of 2016 and I'm just now writing about the election. So I'm jumping into this a little late alright? Being on hiatus for so long, I have to play catch-up on a lot of hot blog topics so here goes.

First, a disclaimer. As the title says, this is a guide for those who despise politics. I would be one of them. Trust me, I've tried to get into it and feel like it's my duty to be at the very least be informed but cot' damn I can't stand the garbage! As a child, I used to think that I just needed to get older to care about politics and that soon enough I'd be watching CNN all day like my dad does but NOPE--almost 29 years old and still can't stand CNN, C-SPAN, and all the talking heads blowing hot air either lambasting political leaders or being engaged in a circle jerk. This is my good faith attempt to breakdown the election and the candidates and the implications of the upcoming election(which aren't good either way). Without further ado...

Monday, July 4, 2016

Back From Ramadan Hiatus

Hey everyone, your favorite PhilAsifer is back at it again to give you a quick update in regards to my absence. So I couldn't keep myself to a consistent writing schedule AGAIN, but this time I have a pretty valid number of excuses. 

First off, Ramadan has kinda put a pause on my blogging. With it being a month of spiritual reflection and trying to devote more time to the Qur'an, PhilAsify 101 had to take a backseat. Plus some of the topics I've wanted to touch on are political and worldly issues and I didn't want to get into that stuff during Ramadan.

Secondly, I've been trying to focus more on my freelance career and establishing myself. The best way to do that is to put myself out there and find work and deliver top notch quality writing. That's not an easy task so I had to put my regular blog posts on the shelf that way. 

Lastly, I have had other writing projects and developments that were more pressing. For example, I finished writing an E-book! The first I've ever written and it's one I will let you guys in on in the very near future.

So there you have it. That's why I haven't written anything after promising to post weekly. Please forgive me. If you don't then you can just stick it up your...ah man---

I am fasting, I am fasting

With it being the last day of Ramadan today, expect me to be back at it again next week with a new installment and regular weekly posts of new PhilAsify 101 content thereafter. Stay tuned and stay patient cause I'll be coming at ya next week with a doozy!

Ramadan Reflections 2016

As for my reflections for this years Ramadan, it was a good month spiritual-wise but I feel I did not spend enough time with the Qur'an. I didn't hit my goal of reading the entire translation of the Quran with a juz a day, I didn't do enough tajweed reading, I didn't get to memorize a new surah that I had been doing consistently during Ramadan for years. I didn't participate in any taraweeh prayers (though they are sunnah and can be prayed at home)

It's a lot more different now being the father of two really young kids and trying to really get your Qur'an studying on and doing extra prayer and meditation. My two little ones make it a bit difficult and I noticed that I have to be a bit more strategic and pick my spots when I can read a little or pray longer (when they were asleep mainly).

My children are both a tremendous blessing though and I find solace in the fact that God knows my intentions and he knows that I have responsibilities and rights my family has over me. Running to the masjid and confining myself there because "I GOTTA PRAY AND READ OK?" would be selfish and inconsiderate because I'd be making things difficult on my wife and I'd be neglecting my kids by this sort of self-righteous type of behavior.

So while it feels like this Ramadan is a wash because I didn't do the traditional things like taraweeh prayers, or doing a masjid retreat (ihtikaf), and the whole nine, I don't see it that way. In the past I would've felt guilty or beat up on myself but I'm in a better place now where I won't sweat it too much. It's not about the quantity though its a plus during this time of year. It's always has been about the quality. In Islam, quality always trumps quantity. I do believe I had some good quality prayers, duas and meditation time to really spiritually connect with God on a level I previously hadn't done before.

Often times people use Ramadan to really up their rituals they've been neglecting and then unfortunately drop them as soon as the month is over. But the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH( did say that it's consistency on spiritual activities that God loves the most, no matter how small and minute they are. Consistency is the key and I hope that outside of Ramadan I continue to do those little consistent bits of good and not sweat that I'm not doing these big heavy rituals that most folks who take part in them do really to toot their own horn or do them blindly without really feeling or appreciating the significance behind an action. That's my take away for this year.

I hope everyone had a good Ramadan and I hope also that everyone has a great Eid! 
Catch ya later.