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Going to college is a constant mantra today. Young people are bombarded with talk about the value of getting that college degree.
The facts sing a different tune. Perhaps the best example is that of Bill Gates. He quit college to start Microsoft.
High flyers aside, more and more young people are discovering that college might be a waste of their time. Look around and you'll find people who did not go to college and yet they are successful. Others signed up for the college of their choice, only later leaving in disgust.
Example: Alisha loved makeup. At an early age, she borrowed her mother's makeup and applied it to her dolls. Then she discovered hair and hair styling. She badgered everyone to let her do their hair. Then she left regular high school to attend a trade school program. Combining her creativity with what she learned, she opened her own salon after she graduated. Today, Alisha operates her own high end salon and attracts clients from far and near. She is supporting her growing family and teaching them that they, too, can achieve anything they set their minds to.
Example: Tom had an interest in growing plants. While still in high school, he worked as an apprentice at an organic farm. The owner of the farm and a teacher encouraged Tom to pursue farming. When he graduated from high school, he rented five acres of farmland from a retired farmer. There, Tom began growing organic herbs and vegetables. He sells the produce to chefs who specialize in farm-to-table menus. He is putting up a greenhouse to expand, and he is experimenting with hydroponic farming. His plans include renting a barn to grow mushrooms.
The most important thing we learn as youngsters is how to think. Many young people learn this from a parent, from a teacher, from early work experience. Going to college can put a finishing touch on this, but the basics are already there by the time you matriculate.
Careers in business are built on interest and hard work. Part of that hard work is learning how to think. You see a problem, you wrestle with it, you figure out how to solve it, and then you're on your way.
Trade schools provide real opportunities for young people to connect with their innate interests and turn those interests into lifelong careers. Think electricians, plumbers, welders, auto repair technicians, beauticians, chefs, and more.
Preparing young people for careers can take a multitude of paths. College represents only one path. Careers in small business are another. Too often, teaching the value of small business is being neglected.
The losers in life's casino are those who become so enamored of going to college that they go to college for many years, piling on degrees, while trying to find themselves. Many reach middle age--still looking.