Every spring, millions of American high school kids are faced with this choice.
It sounds like a no-brainer. And it used to be a no-brainer… because college used to cost a reasonable amount of money.
As recently as 1980, you could get a four-year bachelor’s degree at a public school for less than $10,000, on average. These days it’ll cost you at least $40,000… or upward of $140,000 for a private school… or well over $250,000 for a top school.
Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor’s degree.
“All through my life it was, ‘if you don’t go to college you’re going to end up on the streets,’ ” Morgan said. “Everybody’s so gung-ho about going to college.”
So he tried it for a while. Then he quit and started training as an ironworker, which is what he is doing on a weekday morning in a nondescript high-ceilinged building with a concrete floor in an industrial park near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
As I get ready to walk at my college graduation next week, I have more gratitude for one thing above all: YouTube. YouTube was my go to while doing homework, prepping for exams or just when I needed to refresh a term meant.
It’s also the first place I go when I want to learn about a subject I don’t know a lot about. Time and again, YouTube has helped me understand concepts, offering numerous different explanations till I found one that clicked.
Sometime in high school, my Economics teacher introduced Keynesian economics to us with this video:
Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg has some advice for high school seniors: forget college, become a plumber instead. “Today if your kid wants to go to college or become a plumber, you’ve got to think long and hard,” said Bloomberg Monday at the annual meeting of Wall Street trade group SIFMA.
“If he’s not going to go to a great school and he’s not super smart academically, but is smart in terms of dealing with people and that sort of thing, being a plumber is a great job because you have pricing power, you have an enormous skill set,” he said.
The founder of financial data and news services company Bloomberg L.P. even went as far as to say that students considering Harvard should do the math. You could pay $50,000 to $60,000 a year to Harvard or you could make that much as an apprentice plumber, he explained.
College is a step toward adulthood for many, but the transition from bachelor’s degree to entrepreneur can feel a bit jarring. Keeping your chin up, a stiff upper-lip and other empty clichés everyone says to you can’t really prepare you for one really important truth: There isn’t a curriculum for adulthood. Knowing this, here are a few changes to expect when you take your first steps away from college and into starting you own business.
1. Attendance is always mandatory.
In college, you may have ditched class or ducked out early and still managed to pass. This isn’t going to fly in the startup world. Rain or shine, young treps need to show up and do so in a punctual fashion. Not only will it keep you in the loop of the day-to-day activities but will also set a good example for employees.
2. Scheduling isn’t set in stone.
Your Friday morning biology lab is finally over. What a relief. While you may be thanking your lucky stars you don’t have to roll out of bed after a crazy night to go and dissect a frog, don’t get too excited. Adult life and entrepreneurship means you’re beholden to a schedule of necessity rather than attendance sheets. As a young trep, you are the harbinger of your own success, meaning you sometimes will need to ask yourself to come in on a Saturday.
3. Free time isn’t free.
Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as “free time” in the world of startups. During college you may have had huge breaks between class or long holidays but startup reality is quite different. While most of your friends are working at finding a nine-to-five job and attending happy hour, you are slaving away at your business plan or putting out fires at your company. And that’s just the reality of being an entrepreneur — sacrificing free time in exchange for freedom.
via 10 Lessons College Won’t Teach You — But Entrepreneurship Will | Entrepreneur.com.
You can become a debt slave on autopilot as part of your college education. Institutions of higher learning have partnered with banks to dole out Pell grant and student loans through debit cards that double as student identification cards.
Now you can get a degree that you can’t pay off and be nickle and dimed to death doing it.
It up to us to stop this.
Click on image at left to enlarge.
“You can’t put a price on a good education”… or can you?
If you ask your parents or mentors how to become successful, their answer will most likely include four interrelated invisible scripts:
“Get the best education you can.”
“Colleges provide the best education.”
“The best colleges are expensive.”
“More college is better.”
Like so many of the invisible scripts we grow up with, three of these assumptions aren’t necessarily true.
We’re obsessed with leadership. Bookstores have entire sections devoted to leadership. Corporations spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on leadership retreats. At some universities, you can even major in leadership. Venture-capital money flows like water into the hands of founders who are labeled “visionary” and “at the vanguard.” And what’s sexier these days than the words “I started my own blah blah blah”?