College Is Worth It — But ONLY if You Plan to Work Your Ass Off
Whether or not college is worth the money is a hot topic, especially during election season. Before we get into it, here are the current numbers on the college debt crisis, according to Forbes:
Forty-five million borrowers collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in the U.S.
Student loan debt is now the second-highest consumer debt category.
The average student loan debt is $32,731.
In the last decade, the amount of people going to college has dropped by more than 2 million. On the flip side, entrepreneurship has become trendier than ever. You don’t need a pricey college degree and you get to work for yourself. It looks sexy and seems easy (thanks to social media).
But being a so-called entrepreneur is neither of those things. My dad used to say that most people don’t have the stomach for it, and I completely agree.
Colleges are like brands, and brand matters. Hate to say it, but Cornell University, where I went, looks good on a resume. And once you’re in, you have access to the school’s network of grads. Down the line, those connections can be valuable.
You also learn how to learn at college, and how to work hard. Getting accepted in is one thing, but graduating is another. It takes drive, grit, and focus. A degree doesn’t fall into your lap.
I’m not saying you need college to network and to learn how to learn. You can obtain these skills on your own. The reality, though, is that most people won’t. If they did, then there would be no need for professors, whose job it is to set deadlines and test you on your knowledge. They hold you accountable.
Think of college as an investment in yourself. The difference is that you get to choose the ROI (return on investment). If you just party, your ROI will be crap. Work your ass off, really grind, and you’re going to gain some worthwhile experience.
You may be thinking, “But, Joe, I can’t afford it.” There are plenty of schools that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Or, you can find a way in through a side door like me. Go to the admissions office and ask, “What do I have to do?” Go to community college for two years. There’s always a way.
Let me know what you think on LinkedIn about the ongoing debate.