How to be Successful Without College

Either you’ve made the big, scary decision not to go to college (or are thinking about making that decision), or you’re a huge fan of mine that’s supporting my blog. If the last option is the case, then hi Mom!

If you’re not my mom, you’re likely reading this because you’ve decided not to go to college.

First of all, I want to congratulate you for making such a terrifying decision! In this big huge world, it’s amazing how many people think there’s only one right way. Your highschool teachers and peers are shaking their heads, and saying you’ll make latte’s for the rest of your life, aren’t they? Don’t worry, I’ve been there. Now I’m 17 and getting ready to move to Austin, TX by myself for an internship with an amazing company. I’ll learn how to own a business, create growth, and bring value to companies. I’m taking online courses that improve my skills and make me much more valuable to employers. No, not college classes. Since when do you need to know World War II History to be a Physical Therapist, am I right college kids? I’m miles ahead of my peers who frowned at my scary decision. Now they’re congratulating me and wishing they didn’t have to waste their lives away in a classroom.

So where do you go from here?

There are endless opportunities, my friend. I may be a little biased, but I think one of the best opportunities available, is applying for Praxis. You get to learn the in’s and out’s of being an entrepreneur, and you get a wicked awesome job at a startup. You’ll have hands-on experience creating value to a company which is far more impressive to many companies than a degree. It’s a big leap though, and if you’re not ready to take that leap there are other things you can do to assure that your future won’t be spent as a barista or burger flipper.

Before anything else, you need to figure out what direction you want to head and what job will help you get there. Ignore credentials for that job that tell you what degree you need and instead focus on how you would improve their company. Email the CEO and tell him/her what you can do for their business. Don’t even mention that you don’t have a degree, it’s not relevant. Mention what you do have. If you’ve held leadership positions, mention that! Anything that proves you’re responsible, a hard worker, of value, etc. is important to focus on. Prove to the company that you’re valuable. And don’t you dare say, “but I don’t have talents, or experience, or value to bring to the company!” That’s a big fat lie. Have you ever had to watch your little siblings while your parents were out of town? Have you ever been a dog sitter for the old lady next door that’s clearly losing her marbles? Doesn’t that take responsibility? You’ve got what it takes, you just need to dig deep and figure out how to prove that. If the company is still not interested solely because you don’t have a degree, find a different company. Do not let that slow you down.

Another option (they’re endless, you know), is to start at the very bottom of the food chain for a company you want to work with. Start as the janitor, or the receptionist! But don’t just be the janitor, and don’t just be the receptionist. Go above and beyond your duties. If you dream of being president of the company, then show the current president your value through your work. Be helpful and do things they wouldn’t even think of asking you to do. Create growth, no matter what your title is. Don’t let your title keep you from making improvements to the company in other ways. Work your ass off, and you’ll find yourself making your way up the food chain. The president will see your talents and traits are exactly what he or she is looking for. Before you know it, you could be the co-president.

No matter what you decide to do next, do not have the mindset of, “well I didn’t major in business so I can’t run a company or be the president.” A lot of people will let that keep them from ever even trying. But you my friend, are not a lot of people. You’re a stud that made a bold decision. And I’m proud of you for that. Now go prove your highschool teachers and peers that you’re extraordinary.

I’d love to chat with you about what you’re going to do next. Email me at dianazitting@gmail.com. I respond personally to every email and would love to talk more about this, or anything else. However I can be of assistance to you, I will be.

Diana Zitting graduated at 16 with her GED so that she could be more productive with her time and gain a real-world education. Now at 17, she’s been accepted to Praxis and is having the opportunity to do just that. Her mission is to prove to the world that education is not one-size-fits-all, and that college is not always the best option.


Originally published at dianazitting.com on November 20, 2015.

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal development, and education meet. Learn more at discoverpraxis.com

Diana Hazel Zitting

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Diana, 18, is a Praxis participant. Her mission is to prove to the world that education is not one-size-fits-all & that you can be successful without college.

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal development, and education meet. Learn more at discoverpraxis.com