DopOuts-Entrepreneurbench

COLLEGE DROPOUT: TREND OF EVERY ENTREPRENEUR

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The first thing I’d do if I were to drop out of college again is throw away all my textbooks, notes and mental baggage I picked up along the way.�

I dropped out after one year at The University of British Columbia and I’ve been trying to unlearn everything that 16 years of formal education taught me. Here are some examples:
On risk
In college risk prevents you from making good decisions. Want to take a really hard, but interesting AI class? Think again, that 4.0 GPA is at stake. Want to write a term paper unlike anything anyone has ever written? You’d be better off shooting for something “above average” and scoring that A.�

Colleges encourage students to optimize for good grades. And many students listen to the advice and make terrible decisions because of it.�

In real life risk is rewarded. Entrepreneurs that pursue high risk ventures make billions. Writers that reject the status quo sell the rights to their book for $10M.�

When I shut down my last company I was congratulated because I tried. Then I was offered about a half dozen jobs (without ever sending a resume). Doing something risky and learning applicable skills looked better than those 4.0 GPAs from Harvard.�
tips for college drop out-Entrepreneurbench

On differentiation
When I was growing up, I was always told that college was a place where you can find yourself. The liberal arts schools that I imagined were full of frisbee games and late night conversations contemplating spirituality. But when I arrived at school it was anything but.�

UBC is an extremely competitive school. The average high school GPA of new students at the business school was 93% (Canadian system) the year I attended classes. And so the type of people that are selected are the ones that learned how to follow instructions and take tests better than their peers. They are the type of people that studied harder than anyone else.�

The college system rewards this.�

In the real world the most successful people are the ones that question whether the instructions at hand are the right ones. They rewrite the rules. They are better because they are different.�

There was a quote next to my ex-girlfriend’s dorm room that changed my perspective on what it means to live a successful life:�

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different

� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � – Coco Chanel
If you’re a cog you are a replaceable and therefore you aren’t valuable. Conversely, if you’re great at what you do and the only person in the world that can do it, you are incredibly valuable (assuming their is demand).
On careers
Today, college works like this:

Year 1:�Take a diverse set of classes and discover what you enjoy (unless you’re an engineer in which case you take 80% math and science classes)�

Year 2:�Start to specialize

Year 3:�Specialize.

Year 4:�Specialize even more

So you’ve really got one year to explore your interests. If you switch from Biology to Computer Science like my friend did you are another $50k in the hole because you have to take another 2 years of classes. So there is a financial incentive to choose quickly rather than develop a broad skill-set and experiment with a lot of potential paths.�

The reality is that there is no better time in your life to try out lots of things. Try being a writer one year and a businessman the next. Study biology and if you don’t like it switch over to computer science. If none of them work try something new because you’re young and you can! Unlearn the idea that you have to choose a path now and stick to it for the rest of your life.�

My advice to all dropouts and wanna-dropouts is to unlearn everything college taught you. Take big risks, be different and try lifestyles until you find one that you enjoy.�

Here’s what I wouldn’t do:

  1. Don’t write a resume.You’ll always lose this game. Do something completely unique and interesting that gets you in the room. That’s your goal if you’re looking for a job.
  2. Don’t work for big companies.They won’t respect you like a small startup will. At IBM you might feel bad about not having a college degree. At a startup you’ll have the opportunity to prove that the degree doesn’t matter anyway.
  3. Don’t feel weaker than the HBS graduate.A degree doesn’t mean anything. Results, work ethic and character are the only currency that matters in today’s world.

�

� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � ��by

Micheal Thomas-Entrepreneurbench� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Michael Thomas

� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Founder of SimpleData

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2 comments

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  • Every college dropout is not a genius. Some left college due to some personal issue whether some left as they were not able to understand their subjects. There are students that need additional support with core skills in reading and mathematics prior to college. And not all schools are selecting students based on test scores, athletics or parents. A college education is also about technical skills such as Nursing, Graphic Design, Architecture and more. These skills also require students to read, write and do numerical equations to pass exams or practices. If you are college educating students that passed high school with a standard Grade, have been educated in a poor school system, have a learning disability or do not speak English as a first language then there is a need for additional core classes so they can pass their college courses. I do understand your point about schools making extra money by offering courses to students that do not need them, but there is a population of students that do need the basics. They can learn through online websites like Transtutors.com, assignment help, meritnation etc. these websites helped me in my learning too

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