These are exciting times in education and career training. The landscape is changing, and everyone knows it. College degrees are still expected by most employers, but the trend is in the other direction. Some of the most interesting companies don’t care. They want something that stands out and signals real value.
Online education is exploding. It still falls short in many ways, but for basic conveyance of knowledge to the motivated learner, it’s incredible. Meanwhile, innovators are furiously trying out ways to test and verify knowledge, make it interactive, and enhance the experience.
Young people are listless and frustrated, but not willing to throw in the towel. More and more are taking longer to make it through college; not because they’re dumb, but because college doesn’t help them discover their passions and hone their skills, even in four years, so they try a semester abroad, a new major, and on and on. They crave a new, immersive experience. They want something for them, not for the people who created the system. They want to be the customer, and have their educational needs catered to; rather than feel like the cog who is used by the system then discarded.
Yet there is hesitancy. Young people want to try something new, and break the mold, but they’re scared to be too far out there or too different. They read articles about the declining value and rising costs of college, but they still see degrees listed as a requirement for many jobs, and their friends and parents keep urging them to go, to finish, and if that’s not enough, to try grad school.
Is it a little radical to try something like Praxis? Yes. That’s precisely why it’s so valuable. Five years ago, doing something other than college was risky. In five years it will be common. Now is that sweet spot, where you have a chance to do something just enough on the edge to make you stand out, but not so far that no one understands. This is the time to push yourself just a little out of the comfort zone, be an innovator, and reap the first mover rewards on the job market.
The opportunity cost is low for young people. The older you get, the harder it is to try something for a year. It’s always possible, but the mental hurdles become harder to overcome. Now is the time.