4 Years, 2 Schools, 151 Credits, and 1 Degree Later: A Memo on College
One week ago I walked (almost tripped) across the stage to shake the President’s hand, smile, and receive my diploma.
Four years of college will make you dream of that moment. I thought about it every day.
Is it really worth it? Will it actually help me? Should I go pursue something else? Is college right for me?
I survived. Barely.
This memo is to conclude this chapter of my life. To sum up the lessons learned. Thoughts and frustrations. And words for those thinking about attending or already attending.
1. College is Not for Business Majors
College is not what it used to be. And I knew that when I first came, but I understand it now. Nonetheless, as a business major, I appreciate it for what it is.
History, English, Math, Teaching, Psychology, sure. But for business? No.
And I’ll tell you why. College is a place for professors to teach you what you couldn’t otherwise learn. They learned it. They’ll help you learn it.
It’s a place to learn about things that haven’t changed and will not change.
Think about it. History, the discipline hasn’t changed and will not change. English, the fundamental rules and practices haven’t changed and will not change. Math, the formulas and equations haven’t changed and will not change.
Business. It’s constantly changing and will continue to change. What you learn about business in college was from 10–20 years ago. 10–20 years ago is irrelevant for what you need to do today.
Business classes today are history classes.
The best business class I took was a class on financial models using excel. But the important part wasn’t the financial models, it was excel.
I’ve been amazed at how behind business classes are. They’re simply out of date. Every generation brings a new set of management practices, technology adaptations, dreams, social norms, expectations.
Today you can learn more relevant, impactful, and informative information on business than you ever would in class, for free, here on Medium. Or Udemy. Or YouTube. Or Quora.
2. College is Too Slow
Does it really take four years?
Does it really take 16 weeks to take one class?
I think the reason why college drop-out rates are steadily increasing and the general interest in college is steadily decreasing is not because we are lazy or financially unable. It’s because it’s too slow.
Every class is drawn out. What could be taught in one day takes one month. What can be produced in a week takes a whole semester. Professors take an entire class time to say what can be illustrated in one graph.
In the real world, you don’t have semesters, you have deadlines. There are no weekly meetings to explain what needs to be done next month. You learn what needs to be done, you figure out how to do it, and then you execute.
The way it is now, it’s discouraging.
Imagine learning how to drive a car by driving a go-kart for four years. A silly example, but you get the point.
The motivation to learn is killed by the slow, monotonous routines of class.
What college students need is speed. Rigor. Intensity.
What we need is something focused, relevant, and hands-on.
3. College is Not Practical
What college needs to do for students is to give them a portfolio of what they’ve produced and the understanding to do it again.
Students need more than a piece of paper when they graduate. They need something to show. Whether thats internships, projects, papers, etc… I don’t know. What I do know is that you need to walk away with work you’re proud of.
Those hours sitting in class listening to lectures… don’t do anything for you at the end of the day. It’s what those lectures inspire you to produce that matters.
Whether you study astrology, business, music, etc… you need to walk away with the practice and portfolio you need to go out do what will make you a living.