How much are you really gonna learn by staring at a bunch of books, sitting in a lecture hall, and getting drunk on a Thursday night for 3 years?
Been there, done that. I’ll give you the answer: not that much.
Sure, you get what you put in, yada yada. I went to Oxford and I worked pretty hard. But I still learned more from the three years after college than the three years spent in college.
If you wanna be a doctor or a lawyer or something super important and admirable, you gotta go to college. I’m not talking to you.
I’m talking to the people who just ‘wanna go to college’. They don’t really have a direction in mind. They just want to study ‘Communications’ or ‘Media Studies’ and get drunk for three years. Well, man, when you come out with that big old mountain of debt and nowhere to go, you’re gonna wish you’d taken one of these 10 options instead.
I went to Japan right after I finished college. But I probably should have done it instead of college.
I learned so much about myself and how another culture views the world.
Japan influenced my thoughts on so many things I take for granted today.
- Social harmony
- Honour, pride, and respect
- Customer service (how to make it world class)
Travel is going to teach you way more about the world than you ever learn sitting in a lecture hall.
Some travel suggestions:
- Go to Japan, learn Japanese, eat a ton of kobe beef (my preference).
- Go to Israel and work on a kibbutz to learn about communism (my friend did this).
- Go to Nepal and learn yoga and meditation in the mountains (my friend also did this).
College will probably cost you ~50 grand… if you’re lucky.
You can take a fraction of that cash, buy a plane ticket, book up some accommodation and uproot yourself from your familiar surroundings. You’ll get schooled hard in the subject of life. And instead of sounding pretentious when you discuss Marx and Engels, you can sound pretentious when you talk about what you learned in the jungles of Malaysia.
2. A year of love
I read about this one couple a while back that decided to take all the money they would have spent on college…
And spend it on banging each other.
They asked their parents (if I remember rightly) and I’m pretty sure their parents swiftly disowned them.
I don’t even know why you would need any money for this!
After a few vibrating marital aids and contraceptives boasting exciting flavours, how much do you really need to spend on this?
It sounds like a pretty dumb idea to me.
But, hey, a year of love could be better than a year of college.
You could chronicle your exploits like a modern day Casanova. You could blog about it. Combine it with the travel idea and call the blog something like ‘Banging Around The World’. (The domain name bangingaroundtheworld.com is currently available. Snap it up you dirty romantic.)
Armed with a copy of the Kama Sutra and no sense of shame, you could really “pick up” a thing or two!
3. Start a business
Oh, the things I could have achieved by now if I had started and failed a bunch of businesses instead of 3 years of college politics and endless reading lists.
When all your friends emerge from college with crippling student debt and no business savvy, you’ll be bathing in Benjamins. (Not me. The president on the $100 bill)
Even going to business school doesn’t equip you to actually start a business.
Who’s gonna be further ahead…
The guy who spent 4 years getting his Master’s at business school?
Or the guy who spent 4 years throwing stuff at the wall until something stuck?
Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard.
Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard.
And if I’d had half a brain, I probably should have dropped out of Oxford.
Stop reading about stuff and debating stuff.
Go and actually do something.
Flip houses, start an ecommerce site, hire a team to cut grass for rich people.
Try, learn, fail, repeat.
After three years of that, you’ll have a business.
Instead of paying to sit in a bunch of lectures, why not offer to help people for free?
You’ll learn so much more.
- Read to sick kids
- Help at a homeless shelter
- Volunteer at an old folk’s home
You’ll learn about the hopes and dreams, loves and hates, fears and joys of other human beings.
You’ll learn how to talk to people. You know talking to people is mainly about listening. At college, you don’t really do much of that. You listen to your tutor, regurgitate it, and then ignore what your peers say.
If you know how to do these two things:
- Help people
- Understand people
You’ll do just fine in this world.
I can’t say you’ll learn those two things at college.
5. Write 10 books
You can totally write 10 books in 3 years.
That’s ~3 books per year.
1 book every 4 months.
Obviously you’ll need some life experience so you should pair this one with one of the other options.
If you’re a budding writer, instead of blowing your cash/the bank’s cash/your parent’s cash on 3 years of “creative writing” courses. You can set your own syllabus and put some of that cash into funding your writing endeavours.
Those funds can help you with marketing costs, cover costs, editing costs, and so on.
Plus, by the end of those 3 years, you’ll have a body of work and some cash rolling in.
Freelancing will teach you way more about human nature than 3 years of college will.
- how to make money
- how to spot scammers
- how and when to negotiate
- how to create and maintain business relationships
- how to deliver a level of service relative to what you charge
While those suckers are dropping fifty grand on ‘Communications’, you’ll be raking it in and paid to learn valuable life skills.
7. Become a YouTube sensation
You know how long it took PewDiePie to earn $7.4 million?
In that video, PewDiePie says…
When I started doing YouTube, I was in college, I was on a student loan, I couldn’t even afford a proper computer that could record gameplay on. So I was lucky I managed to sell some artwork that I made online.
I don’t think there was just “luck” involved.
I think PewDiePie worked damn hard.
He also says this about college….
Shortly after I quit college and so I had to get a job. I took whatever job I could get, which was to work in a hotdog stand… I was the happiest I was at that time because finally for the first time in many many years I was doing what I wanted to do.
I think there’s a gem of wisdom in there.
8. Enter the fight game
Let the bodies hit the floor! Let the bodies hit the floor! Let the bodies hit the flooooooooooooor!
Instead of making your head ache from Advanced Calculus 101, why don’t you spend the next 3 years taking 10,000 hooks to the jaw?
You could take a bunch of martial arts and become a total badass.
I would choose a few from the following:
- Krav Maga
- get in great shape
- learn how to deal with a broken nose
- be able to handle yourself and protect your loved ones
9. Take an apprenticeship somewhere cool
People balk at working for free.
But those same people with throw fistfuls of cash they don’t have at getting a piece of paper after 3 years of stuff you won’t remember a month after leaving college.
You would get so much more out of working for someone successful. Follow them around (as much as possible), see how they do things, help them out massively (pretend your getting paid loads of money), and take lots of notes.
Now that’s an education worth paying for.
The apprenticeship doesn’t even have to be related to what you “think” you wanna do.
I might think an apprenticeship in publishing would serve me best as a writer.
But what if I could work as an apprentice for Hattori Hanzo in Okinawa?
10. Start your own news network
Back in college, I dreamt of starting my own freelance news network and going off to report in war zones.
I researched places like Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan endlessly.
I obsessively watched tons of war reports and analysed what they did.
With the news in its state of disarray today (translation: completely untrustworthy), and with how easy it is to start a website or put a video up on the internet, starting your own news network has never been easier.
To those who doubt that, remember that Branson started Virgin by calling by Boeing and asking if they had a spare jet available. Often it really is that easy.
College doesn’t count as “experience”
Experience is the best teacher.
Reading and studying are nice accompaniments to experience (definitely don’t neglect that).
But if you even have to ask the question, ‘Should I go to college?’
You probably don’t need to.
And if you don’t need to go to college, don’t go to college.
Do one of these things (or countless other things) instead.