You don’t need a college degree. Blasphemous, right? But it’s true. Today, there are countless other options available to you.

Options for you to discover what makes you come alive.

To build the skills you need to earn whatever kind of money you aspire to make.

Options that don’t require you to spend years in a classroom or go tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars into student debt.

You don’t need good grades or top test scores to take advantage of these alternative options available to you today. But if you can muster the courage to think differently, you will find a great big world of opportunities out there ripe for the taking — regardless of your education background.

Still, if you're considering not going to college, you've probably already's nice to have a backup plan, right? (If even to quiet the doubts of other people in your life who want to see you succeed.)

Here are 5 Things To Do This Year If You Choose Not To Do College.

1. Get A Job. Any job will do just fine.

Really. Don’t sweat too much over it. But bonus points if there’s an entry-level hourly wage job that actually excites you. Whether you’ve had a job before or not, work experience is like currency. Earn up enough of it and you can use it to buy other, different job opportunities. Because as you’re gaining experience, you’re also building a track record. And that’s a useful thing to point to when you’re exploring future opportunities.

2. Get Smart About Money. 

The earlier you get started on your financial education, the more time you have to try things out, make mistakes, and recover. Plus, if you can build some momentum in the early innings, you'll set yourself up to be able to say yes to a lot more opportunities down the road.

3. Find A Mentor. 

Who is somebody that’s got a career that interests you? Or a skill that you’d like to learn. Or just somebody you really think highly of.

Seek that person out. With money from your job, offer to buy them lunch in exchange for their time and wisdom. Arrange so you can meet with them. At least monthly. To ask for advice. Talk about your goals. To learn from. To use as a sounding board for your ideas. Because they’ve been around the block a time or two more than you, their age and experience comes seasoned with the salt of wisdom that can be really useful for you (even if you just absorb it for later).

4. Explore New Ideas and Beliefs. 

The world will put you in all sorts of sticky situations that force you to make choices. Choices where you don’t have the time to call up Mom or Dad and ask them how they’d handle it. And in the real world, *you* will be held responsible for your choices.

So it’s imperative you get comfortable with your own ideas. Your own beliefs. And where you stand on different things. But more importantly, it’s crucial to your own personal development to give yourself the freedom to explore your own unique, individual point of view on the world.

Your own personal point of view is what will enable you to become the best version of yourself. Whether you validate that you believe the same things your parents do, or discover an entirely new set of beliefs and ideas about the world — the important thing is that you do the work to build confidence in your own skin.

5. Move Away From Home. 

It’s very difficult to undergo a personal transformation while you’re surrounded by people who knew who you used to be. That’s not to say you have to leave everything you ever knew behind and become an entirely new person.

But if you want to discover the stuff that really makes you come alive, if you ever want to really do your best work, then it’s imperative you give yourself the freedom to explore the world on your own. Independent of the influences and social pressures of the town where you grew up and the people who raised you.

Plus, moving away from home will (hopefully) force you to become financially independent — in addition to intellectually and emotionally independent. This is important stuff. Really. Building confidence in your own ability to make choices and navigate the world is maybe the best thing you can do to set yourself up for future success.

Mitchell Earl
Post by Mitchell Earl
December 4, 2023
COO @DiscoverPraxis: I mentor young adults to take agency over their lives, careers, and money. | Career Bound Podcast | Author of Don't Do Stuff You Hate