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.

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