Here’s a small excerpt from a guide to rethinking higher education that I authored. This is a hodge-podge of lessons I learned through my own education and career experiences, some of which may be valuable to you.
Check out the entire guide here.
• Free time is more valuable than planned time.
• Work is more valuable than school.
• Responsibility and ownership at an early age are irreplaceable.
• College is what you make it, but nearly everything good you get from it can be had better and cheaper elsewhere.
• Your education belongs to you, and no institution can give it to you.
• Discovering what you hate is more important than finding out what you love. As long as you’re not doing things you hate, you’re moving in roughly the right direction.
• Seeing geography as a constraint is a major impediment to your educational and career progress.
• Your personal philosophy and educational and career path should feed each other.
• Wandering and experimenting are great, but not at any price. Meandering through an educational path you’ll be paying off for a decade or more is different than dabbling in a free class or internship that will only cost you a few months.
• Don’t fear how you compare to your peers.
• If your interest isn’t there, don’t put energy there. But when it is, go all the way.
• You always get more out of things you choose than out of things you’re made to do. Find ways to have more of the former, and fewer of the latter.
• Work ethic can overcome knowledge deficit, but not the other way around.
• Mentors can be great, but they can also hold you back. Don’t take them too seriously.
• If it isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong.
• If it isn’t hard, you’re doing it wrong.
• You’ll be doing it wrong at least some of the time. That feedback helps you figure out how to do it right.
• Push your imagination to see yourself as capable of great things. Continue to do this.
The few regrets I have for the path I took boil down to one: I wish I had had more confidence, and earlier, about going my own way.