What Entrepreneurship in College Really Looks Like

Take our advice: Don’t drop out

Entrepreneurship is often glorified, like the idea of the Apple guys in the 80s, hunched over a table in a tiny garage working on a groundbreaking computer. Words like “hustle” get thrown around, and startups give new hires titles like “development rock star” or “happiness hero.” It’s the cool, hip thing to be an entrepreneur — you can live like the 1 percent with only a laptop and a great idea.

Most people want things they can’t have. When someone sees a startup go from a home-brewed experiment to a multi-million dollar empire, they say, “I want to create a startup.” Because entrepreneurship is often seen as an easy path to success — it seems that if you work hard and have a vision, you can cruise your way to fame and wealth.

Other people might tell you that entrepreneurship requires you to get your hands dirty and work hard. They say you’ll have to pull all-nighters regularly and miss out on fun stuff because you should prioritize your job before anything else.

College shouldn’t come first, because the real entrepreneurs all dropped out of Harvard, so the least you can do is drop out of whatever college you’re attending. Society tends to see the college dropout as a sort of whiz kid, and that stereotype gets put on a pedestal.

Of course, neither of these extremes are completely true. I would know — I started freelance writing in my sophomore year of college, and now, I’m an established marketer going into my fifth year of studies. Real entrepreneurship isn’t as glorious (or as horrible) as it sounds. It’s somewhere in the middle.

Entrepreneurship can be a great path to success, but you probably won’t make millions. It’s often touted as a get-rich-quick scheme, but those schemes are few and far between. Even if you have a revolutionary idea, you have to get it developed, funded, promoted — the list goes on. Still, entrepreneurship is much better than being stuck in a boring job that makes you disillusioned with life.

And the work? If my experience is anything to go off of, entrepreneurship consists of collective hours of studying, marketing yourself, and finding ways to provide value to people, all while sitting (in my case, standing) at a desk when you’re not attending classes.

Some days are boring and anticlimactic, and other days you’ll be overjoyed because you made a breakthrough. It’s a rollercoaster lifestyle, but not in the Hollywood-ified sense.

As for the dropout thing: Don’t do it. Unless you’ve got a million-dollar business already built, it’s best to finish your degree, especially if it directly relates to your area of entrepreneurship.

Being an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding ways of getting experience before you graduate. It’s more flexible than an internship and guarantees that you’ll develop skills in the specific area(s) you’re interested in. It’s fun, too, and it allows you to lead the kind of life you want to live. Just don’t expect to create the next social media network.

Originally published on FlockU.com

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