Why It’s Totally Cool If My Kids Skip College

I have a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, despite myself.

I mean, there was never a question I would go to college. After all, it never occurred to me that any other path was available.

But I started out studying journalism at the College of New Jersey. I became disenchanted and discouraged by my choice of major. I fell into a depression after both the death of my grandmother and the end of an abusive relationship. I dropped out of college with the certainty that I didn’t need it to be a writer.

Which was true, but I wasn’t sure how to go about making money. I ended up in a crappy retail job, at which I lasted for two months. Is this all I’m capable of without a degree? I asked myself, horrified. It wasn’t, but I didn’t know that. I ended up at Emerson.

After graduating, I was lucky enough to get a job within two months (though not in my field). I was miserable there, and felt relief when I was laid off after six months. A year later, I had my feet planted firmly within the publishing industry. Finally. I was content… for awhile. But I soon realized I had no interest in working my way up the corporate ladder. I wanted to create. I wanted to be my own boss.

And so I made my circuitous way to the here and now, where I’m a happy, and pretty well-balanced, business owner. I’m lucky enough to be one of the few people out there who has ended up making money in the field they studied in college. But I could have gotten here quicker. I could have gotten here without incurring debt. I just didn’t know. [Read more…]

Forget Grad School. Is Your B.A. Worth It?

I’ve commented on a lot of blog posts arguing the benefits of grad school versus real world experience. I’ve blogged about how I feel the best way to learn is by doing. But forget about grad school. Was getting your undergraduate degree a waste of time, too?

A fellow YEC member — Donna Fenn — recently shared info on the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship. Basically, those chosen for the fellowship have each been given $100,000 to drop out of college and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.┬áIn addition to the moolah, fellows will be provided with mentorship from the Foundation’s network of entrepreneurs, in addition to other resources.

I was intrigued by this story because, while I felt college was beneficial in helping me develop as a person, I didn’t feel as if it prepared me all that much for professional life.

What do I wish I’d learned in college?

[Read more…]

Telecommuting to Class

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For several years now, I have believed that office environments are breeding grounds for time suckage, that commuting creates wasted hours, and that telecommuting is the most efficient way to get shit done.

So why is it that I’ve been so reluctant to switch from the in-person, traditional classroom to online learning?

[Read more…]

Continuing Education for Freelancers

Earlier in the week, we discussed how the very act of being prepared can strengthen one’s self-confidence.

Today, I’d like to go over the various forms such preparation can take.

If you’re teetering on the edge of starting up your own freelance business, such steps toward readiness will take your plans from romantic to realistic.

[Read more…]

Giving Notice: How To Make That Final Leap

cliff-diving.

Photo: ‘Derek J’ by Phil Watt

It’s been almost a year since I left behind a viable book publishing career for the terrifying uncertainty of freelancedom.

A questionable move considering that, three years before, I had been applying to just about any full-time staff job I could conceivably be considered qualified for.

To make an excruciating story less excruciating, let’s just say that I wasn’t feeling quite right within the corporate environment.

Now I work a number of freelance gigs, most of them from home, and I’ve never been happier. So, of course, I want everyone else to try it, too!

But as much as I advocate trying out new career paths, jumping blindly isn’t the smartest way to go.

[Read more…]