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College is What You Make of It

College application season is truly a time of anxiety, dread, and, of course, lots of excitement. After all, up until then, that has been your ultimate goal in life following four grueling years of high school education and twelve long years of primary education in total.

So much on the line, so much at stake—or is it really? Many people glorify the image of college, seeing it as the “be all end all” in life, believing that without going to a good college, you are nothing.

A group of students throwing their graduation caps in the air
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

That statement is very far from the truth, especially in today’s age.

Learning Skills in College

The job market today is based on skills, and skills can be learned both inside and outside of college. Many colleges have actually become aware of this fact, taking on partnerships with companies to offer students internships at job fairs, or even co-op programs for students to work while studying.

Northeastern University in Boston particularly prides itself on its co-op programs, advertising them as a reason why students should pick the school over others. While prestigious colleges may provide a better array of opportunities for incoming students, it is more than possible to find equally good opportunities at a state school.

One of Northeastern University's buildings in the day
Photo Courtesy of Northeastern University

One of my local state colleges, California State University, Fullerton, actually has a program called the Center for Entrepreneurship, which aims at helping students launch and run their own businesses.

One of CSU Fullerton's buildings in the daylight
Photo Courtesy of California State University

An important point to note here is that aside from focusing on coursework, which can sometimes be overly theoretical or not relate to your major at all, finding the right opportunities exclusive to your school can be extremely beneficial. Without attending college, young adults cannot easily find this kind of career support anywhere else.

Is College Really Useless? 

There also exists a select group of people who believe that college is completely useless: that it is a waste of money and time, and no one should partake in it.

Entrepreneurs such as Robert Kiyosaki and Paul Orfalea have even gone as far as saying that doing worse in college may result in more business success.

Profile photo of Robert Kiyosaki
Photo Courtesy of London Real

One of Orfaleas’s most popular quotes is that “The A students work for the B students, the C students run the businesses, and the D students dedicate the buildings.” Kiyosaki has a similar line, claiming that “The A students work for the C students.”

There is simply no basis to prove that either of these claims is actually true–scientifically, there is zero correlation between success in college and business success. In fact, many of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th and 21st century have been “A students.” Bill Gates and Warren Buffett performed spectacularly in school, and billionaire Michael Bloomberg went to both Johns Hopkins (Go Hop!) and Harvard Business school, which are world class universities.

Johns Hopkins University in the daylight
Photo Courtesy of Johns Hopkins University

The reality is, the reason why Kiyosaki and Orfalea make these statements is because the majority of students are C students, meaning that the majority of entrepreneurs are also C students–it’s simple probability.

What is Certain About Success? 

The only thing that is certain here is that the greatest entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and other professionals all share one trait in common–a desire to learn more, and thus, the will to continually explore their passions by grabbing every available opportunity in sight, whether or not college plays a role in their lives.

In other words, they are resourceful,giving them the most valuable skill of all.

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