My response to the article I posted yesterday by a recent college drop out who believes college is a waste of time.
I'm going to start this post by saying the thing I hate to say when it comes to matters of judgment.
Take me for example. I went to an expensive college and majored in something many less expensive colleges offer - Communications. Worth it? Too soon to tell.
I graduated from that college and took a job that I got through a connection from my college. Worth it? Yes. Very much so.
In both that first job and my second job (which I got through a friend I met while in college) I performed skills that required no greater than a high school diploma. Worth it? Technically no.
Then somewhere around my third job I decided that what I really wanted to be doing was television/film writing and development so I overhauled my life and moved to LA where I took a job that I got through my third job in New York (which I got through one of my college roommates, so that technically goes in the "worth it" pile too).
I am now pursuing a path that does not technically require a college degree from a prestigious university and that, frankly, the university I did attend is not best suited for. I went to Boston College - a magical place I wouldn't trade for the world - but if I knew I wanted to live and work in L.A. I would have gone someone far more connected with that industry like a USC, Northwestern or BU.
But that still doesn't answer the core question of whether or not college - no matter where you go, what you study and what it costs - is a waste of time.
Again - using me as an example. During my college years I focused on four extracurricular activities (NERD ALERT!!). I wrote for the school newspaper, produced and hosted a weekly news show on BCTV, participated in volunteer programs, and started/ran a website that provided weekly reviews of Boston-based events and businesses - ala Thrillist but WAY before its time ;)
I could have easily done volunteer work and started this website without the help of Boston College - so that goes in the "not worth it" pile, but it isn't likely that a real newspaper or real TV station would give me the kind of hands on experience that my college versions allowed - so that's a "worth it" feature.
But here's the thing. I didn't know I wanted to do any of those things until I entered college - specifically Boston College. These activities/programs/projects grew out of interests I developed based on friendships I made and lessons I learned about myself and my abilities inside the classroom. College - for me - was a place to realize my potential - to incubate, if you will.
And here's the other thing. I didn't have the money to forge ahead on my own without the backing of a college degree to open the necessary doors that at exist in a society that values higher education. One VERY important factor about Dale Stephens' personal situation is the 100,000K grant he's been given to leave college. Yes, people make their own way in this world without a dollar to start by. And yes, very very rich people waste their time in college because they don't "need" it to get ahead in this world. But for "most" people pursuing "most" careers - college is imperative as a step toward that career and I'd argue important as a step toward becoming a well-rounded adult in this world.
College may very well be a waste of time for Stephens and many other students with his abilities and interests. And for those who cannot pursue a college degree because of the astronomical costs these days, I believe there can be a bright future.
But I don't agree that college is a flat-out waste of time. It certainly wasn't for me.