We live in a world where people believe that going to college is a must. Indeed, they don’t want us to end up succeeding if we skip college! They went to college, wasted their time there, and want us to do the same, making them feel less guilty about having wasted their time.
The advice to go to college may even come from family and close friends! They recommend college because they need to justify their own decisions. And we really can’t blame them, because that is just what they do to feel better about themselves. They haven’t seriously considered alternatives to college.
What is awful about that is that they are the very ones who could show us all the options available, teach us about all the alternatives to college, and then let us decide for ourselves.
When it comes to the decision about what to do instead of going to college, there are several options.
First, we need to get to know ourselves and find out what it is that we want to do and what drives us, what excites us. At first, we may be in a job we don’t love until we realize it’s definitely the wrong job for us, but jobs like that are the ones that teach us about life and priorities. They can help us discover our interests.
Every job is an alternative to college. We may need to change jobs several times and try many things. These experiences can teach us a lot about life and help us find our inner voice.
“An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has so developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others.”
~ Napoleon Hill
We need to believe in this.
Here are six alternatives to college that we can try when starting out our adult lives.
Volunteering is all about dedicating ourselves. We need to want to do it. We can’t be forced. Volunteering can help us bond with other people and see how we can fit into society and contribute to it.
Volunteering can open our eyes and make our actions more thoughtful. It can raise our awareness of how problems arise, thus making us think about preventing them instead of quick fixes.
If looking for alternatives to college, volunteering is an option we should consider. There are so many non-profit organizations out there, and we will reap a lot of benefits and develop skills from such experiences.
Another option can be our local community. When looking for a job, choose a field that later on can be used as a case study.
Of course traveling is on the list of alternatives to college. Traveling is unquestionably the most empowering and enriching experience in life. We all are wanderlusts deep down inside. Who wouldn’t want to explore and learn new things?
Learning different cultures and seeing all types of lifestyles can help us become more open and tolerant people. Meeting all different types of people, with different opinions, values, religions, and dreams, can change our perspective towards not just life but our own behavior.
Of course, traveling abroad will bring challenges every day. Sometimes, we’ll get disappointed or feel helpless, but that’s just a simple test that life is giving us. Such an experience can start a profound personal change. We will become more patient, tolerant, happy, and loving. We will expect nothing in return. And by default, when we expect nothing, we become more grateful about every small thing that happens in life.
Traveling will also open our eyes. We will become more careful and aware of people who want to harm us. Traveling will enlighten us spiritually, too. Realizations, such as understanding how things that matter back home don’t matter when we are away, will set us free.
When traveling, we will learn how to always stay true to ourselves and others. Be kind, and don’t judge.
Everything bad that happens, every missed flight, will all be worth it in the end. We should enjoy the ride, because at the end of the journey, it will all make sense.
Traveling is one of the alternatives to college everyone would like to try.
3. Reading books.
The importance of reading books is enormous because it can affect our mindset and attitude in life.
Reading activates the brain and can bring up memories. It is both educational and entertaining.
The key to learning from reading is to read what we are truly interested in. Invest in reading and feel the enormous power of self-education and all the influence that books can have on our lives.
Some may be surprised to see internship on this list of alternatives to college. It’s typical to think we can’t obtain an internship without a college degree. Yet in the creative industries, a degree isn’t needed for an internship if we present ourselves as a valuable asset and investment.
Try it out; we can learn a lot from an internship!
5. Starting a business.
Today, starting a business is easier than ever. Becoming an entrepreneur may be the best decision we can make. We’ll be exposed to the real world and learn how things really work.
To choose this out of all the alternatives to college, we must be prepared, smart, and a fast learner. We will have many new things to learn. And many of them may be hard.
Starting a business is easy. Yet sustaining a successful business is not.
The problem with this world is that intelligent people are full of doubts and stupid ones rule the world, as Bukowski said. Let’s put aside our doubts, start a business, and give life a try!
6. Online courses.
These are a great and cheap option among the alternatives to college. Courses can easily be found online. There are even free courses online. There are courses about every possible field. And they give immediate results and feedback. We will understand what we are passionate about and what drives us.
Plan some time each day for self-education. We may learn a lot more from a course in a month than we learn in a year of college.
Online courses are short, and we can always switch to a different course, unlike at college.
All the benefits that alternatives to college have.
In most alternatives to college, the benefits are enormous. Both college and its alternatives may seem risky; both could leave us with no degree and no job. We could waste many years trying to discover ourselves.
On the other hand, college is great for socializing, networking, and having fun.
But everyone learns differently, so college is not for everyone.
College usually puts us into debt, often huge debt. Debts force some people to work boring jobs. Having debts takes the joy out of living. Because of debts, many people feel paralyzed by life. They can’t go traveling or move wherever and whenever they want. They are overwhelmed by fear or lack of self-confidence.
In reality, no college can prepare us fully for the real-life workplace. So avoid the debt of college, be open-minded, self-educated, and proactive, and we’ll get the job of our life.
We can get a lot of experience by choosing an alternative to college. Experience can teach us a lot and make us better people. Real-life experience is what matters most.
When we experience life, we find out what we’re good at. Try all different types of things. Be curious.
Such actions can make it easy later to determine what it is that we want to do and what we don’t want to do. Experience helps us get to know our true self and our desires.
These are the skills that we can learn from everyday reality. For example, we can learn effective time management. We can figure out how to optimize and track our time in order to grow.
Learn how to prioritize and figure out which things to focus on for the long or short term. Learn how to communicate clearly. Understand what it means to meet like-minded people. Improve self-awareness. Be productive.
Believe that we can achieve all these without college. We should choose an alternative to college, but fully dedicate ourselves to it. Focus on learning. Focus on succeeding. If we believe we can, we will!