Assumptions about college are being turned on their head. Real world experience is providing a better context for learning and a more direct path to life and career opportunities.
Education researchers like John Holt find that learning happens pretty quickly when the learner is spending “focused time” on something. The thing is, “focus” comes from the learner and is intrinsically motivated. Real learning happens out of either necessity or interest. Learning is fastest and most effective in the moment of interest or need. It’s ineffective to pile on busy-work and drudgery to try to master something totally disconnected to your interests or personal advancement. Studying marketing in a classroom when you have nothing on the line and may not need the knowledge for another few years is an almost impossible way to really learn. When faced with a real-time real-world marketing conundrum, you’ll do whatever it takes to find the answer and solve the problem. You’ll learn.
Degrees are a way of the past. Google is your resume, you are your credential.
A degree says something about your ability, but it’s increasingly unclear what. Meanwhile, you now have the ability to demonstrate projects completed, outcomes achieved, and skills mastered with personal websites, LinkedIn, Quora profiles, Amazon book reviews, GitHub, and more. It’s limited only by your imagination. The degree is only a valuable signal in the absence of something better. Something better isn’t hard to build, and real work experience is one of the strongest, clearest signals available.
Take a year to go work somewhere with something genuine on the line. A place where you could be rewarded for success and held accountable for failure to deliver. It beats more classrooms any day.