The deal used to be that if you went to college, gave up four years of your life and incurred tens of thousands of dollars in debt, tuition, and foregone earnings, you’d be set for life with a cushy job. That’s no longer true.
Since 1980, college tuition has risen more than 400% adjusted for inflation. In 2010, student loan debt outpaced credit card debit and it will top one trillion dollars by the end of 2011.
When we graduate college with astronomical debt--$24,000 in the US—we’re stuck in a narrow track, needing to find a job to pay off the debt.
In the United States, 70% of high school seniors go to college. A college degree has become the new high school diploma. Academically Adrift found that 36% of students showed no improvement in critical thinking, complex reasoning, or writing, after four years of college and less that half of students surveyed had taken a class that required more than 20 pages of writing over the entire semester.
you can’t assume that college = success
If college were teaching the skills required for success, 22.4% of college grads under twenty-five wouldn’t be unemployed, and another 22%wouldn’t be working jobs that don’t require a college degree.
if you want to thrive in the real world you have to hack your education because college isn’t teaching the skills required to thrive in the 21st century
but how do i go about gaining these skills??
by hacking your education!
i left college 6 months ago because i wasn’t learning the 21st century skills requisite for success
I left college two months ago because the opportunity cost of going to class was too high. There were many phone calls to make, too many places to be, and too many lines of code to write. Dropping out of college was not a first— I dropped out of school in 6 th grade. Fifth grade came and went for me—daily dittos and out-of-control kids were meaningless. The only thing I learned was how to cope with a rotten environment . Now, that is a valuable skill if you’re going to be working job you hate, but I wanted more out of my life. Instead I become an unschooler -- the self-directed branch of homeschooling. I started businesses, helped build a library, worked on political campaigns, lived in France, found mentors, and worked at a Silicon Valley start-up while my peers sat in class. What I learned as an unschooler were the skills, tools, and mindset that prepared me to thrive in today’s global entrepreneurial economy.
worked on politcla campigns
organized collabortive learning groups
won a shoclarships to live in france
helped biuld a library
went to conferences
worked at startups
As unschoolers we hacked our education, meaning we leveraged the resources of the world around us to create our education. WE weren't limited by the authority of academic institutions or the walls of classrooms. In class, the student who challenges authority is often dismissed, but in the real world, the great entrepreneur is the one who asks the unthinkable questions .
The skills, abilities and aptitudes that you need to be disruptive come from hacking your education, not through tests and grades. As Malcom Gladwell showed in Outliers, beyond a basic level of intellectual or academic proficiency, increased grades or IQ scores bears almost no correlation with real-world achievements. In other words, your passion, motivation, initiative, networking, and hustle matter more than SAT scores.
it’s false to say there are three doors in life
one : get yourself a office job
be the next mark zuckerburg
or three, sit in your parents basement and play video games
but i think there’s MORE to life!
and you get there by hacking your education
The next time you’re staring blankly at prefabricated power point slides, I challenge you to consider the opportunity cost of going to class. Look to the future. What else you could be doing with that time and money? How many companies could you start, how many countries could you visit, how many lives could you improve?
We’re facing a bubble that will be as bad, if not worse, than the housing bubble crash because in the United States student loans are unforgiveable in the case of bankruptcy. What happens when students begin defaulting on their loans? The bank can repossess your house, but they can’t repossess your education. We may think higher education lives in an ivory tower of BA, but it really lives in a glass castle of BS. When that glass castle shatters, university will never be the same.
we’ve stripped away the value of higher education. I’m the innocent student with the audacity to point out that the university has no clothes
Imagine if the millions of 18-22 year-olds currently sitting in class, instead of copying their professor’s words verbatim off the blackboard, started their own companies, their own causes, their own initiatives. Imagine if we approached learning in like French Salons, gathering to discuss, challenge, and support each other in creating tomorrow .
My goal isn’t to take down the academy, but I believe we have enough universities. We can do better. We can unleash the power of youth to change the world.
The problems I’ve outlined reflect a cultural shift from college being a vehicle to gain knowledge to a right of passage to adulthood. We don’t go to university knowing exactly what we want to major in—we go because our parents went, our peers are going, and society expects it. I know. I experienced the same thought process. When we 18-year-olds embolden ourselves in this manner we think of ourselves as customers. We expect certain things from college. We’re interested in the end product—the credential—not the intellectual journey that leads there. And in capitalism the customer is always right. What students demand, we get. This leads to schools building lavish dorms instead of hiring professors.