Do you really need to go to college to follow your passion? Perhaps you’ve heard of a few who didn’t . . . Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Pitt, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates to name a few. As you work through this badge program, keep an open mind.
Remember, the world is not what it once was.
1. What is hacking your education?
Hacking is looking to alternatives to education as we know it. This isn’t just college, but all schooling. As the popularity of homeschooling and charter schools soars, many more people are questioning how our schools teach us. Is what they are doing effective? In the US, we spend more per student than most other countries, yet we don’t score that way on comparative tests. The question is . . . do you really need school?
2. You are an advisor.
Are you pushing your kids to go to school? Then pushing them to continue to college? Why would you do that if college is not for them? You need to be aware of the options that are available so you can do a better job advising them. We are moving out of the industrial revolution where each student needed to perform similarly to fit into the machine. We are moving into a communication revolution where we need to think, to understand and to challenge previous ways of thinking. Look at yourself. What do you learn every day for your job, for your life, for your pleasure? How much of what you do today did you learn at school?
3. Grades vs. games.
When students are working toward grades, they are stressed and care more about the result than learning. Our education system stifles creativity. It is more concerned with maintaining the status quo than actually educating kids.
Instead, if we can think of learning as a game . . . as fun . . . we are more likely to push ourselves harder. If we fail, it is not the end of the world. It is just another learning experience. Just as a video game character comes back to life for another chance, so does the student. You learn and try again. Discuss how this is different than what our kids are taught in school.
4. Pursue your passions.
Students have to take control of their lives and education. Organization and perseverance are key to success when you are taking control of your learning. Find something you need to learn and explore how you might find the information to improve upon what you already know.
5. Determine and acquire your skill set.
You need skills to have a career. Determine what skills those are. Learn the skills you need to pursue your passion. You can learn the skills by taking single classes, reading books, finding free (or low cost) courses on the Web, finding a mentor, becoming an apprentice or even volunteering. For each skill you want to learn, research how you can learn it.
6. Practice and fail.
You need to practice to get better. You need to fail to learn what doesn’t work. Learn from your mistakes, don’t cower to them. Track the avenues you choose to hack your education, documenting your successes and failures.
7. Careers on the Web.
Why go to school to learn things that are already online? Why pay thousands of dollars if you can learn the same information for the cost of an Internet connection? If you start college with no idea of your interests, you are wasting your time and money.
Here are a few careers that you can pursue without going to college:
- Web Designer
What other careers can you find where a driven person can gain the knowledge they need without going to college?
8. Sometimes you just can’t hack.
Some careers will not allow you to hack. Careers like medicine and law have restrictions in place to make sure you must go to school. Certain certifications and degrees are required. If you are recommending school, first determine what kind of career your advisee is looking at joining.
9. Professional improvement.
Are you happy in your current job? Remember that education is a practice that you must continually engage with. If you have a job and you’re not learning new things, you are working yourself out of a job. To stay at the top of your game, you need to learn. What could you learn that would improve your work?
10. Supplemental learning.
While you may not be looking at formal education, you can learn almost anything online. Look at the things you do in your everyday life . . . work, parenting, volunteering, etc. What parts of your life would benefit from learning something new?
11. Learn online.
So, how can you learn online? Free lectures, courses, workshops, podcasts, webinars and more are available. In addition, you can find low-cost books and ebooks as well as classes. Check out the sites to explore for free resources as well as more information on hacking your education.
12. No naysayers.
Do not listen to the doom and gloom. The decision to hack your education is up to you. Determine if you have the drive to find your own education. Do not let someone talk you into going after an education at a college or university if you are not sure it is for you. Do not believe that you will fail because you choose to hack your education.
Alternatively, if you feel that traditional education fits you better, go for it. Every person’s journey is different.
Sites to Explore