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Why Going Into Debt For A Degree Isn’t Smart

The cost of going to a university these days has gotten out of control. I am still trying to figure out how universities have been able to get away with what they charge.

Current federal student loan debt in the US is above $1.5 trillion. Trillion with a T. I value education as much as the next person. One thing I don’t agree with is the fact that it’s the only way. We live in a day and age where the answer to any question is at your fingertips. Ever heard of a thing called Google? It is cool. I recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

Why Results Matter More Than A Piece Of Paper

I bring this up because I am a firm believer that education is important, but action and results matter more. I have hired individuals from MIT and Harvard. When you hear these schools, I am sure your mind immediately goes to top level talent. Which is true in most cases. What most tend to forget though is a degree shows you have book smarts. A degree doesn’t show you will be able to make it in the real world. I ended up having to performance manage the MIT grad out. They struggled to translate the book smarts into solving real world problems.

I learned a lot from this mistake. I had a sense of excitement after hiring the MIT grad. I thought they were going to come in and crush the game with little oversight. Boy was I wrong.

Lesson Learned From A Degree

This is the fundamental lesson I learned from this. A piece of paper is just that. A piece of paper. A piece of paper saying you received a degree from a top program means a few things:

  1. You must have some degree of book smarts, or you are good at cheating haha
  2. You more than likely spent a large sum of money to get that piece of paper. There are many scenarios where you received a full ride for academics.
  3. You more than likely believe having this piece of paper will get you a high paying job. Eh.

This piece of paper does not dictate whether you will be successful in the real world. There are hundreds of individuals graduating from top universities each year. This simple fact won’t make them successful.

What Makes Successful People

I would take experience and results over a piece of paper. Any day. No questions asked. There are three main things in my eyes that I look for:

  1. Having a strong work ethic
  2. Ability to solve difficult problems
  3. Ability to interact with people and influence them to do the things you want

In my eyes, you must have a combination of these three things to be successful. I could go on for hours about what success means. That is not the point of this article.

Key Takeaways:

  • A college degree doesn’t mean you will be successful. Understand whether a college degree is necessary for what you are trying to do. Going to college and coming out with a large amount of debt is not a smart thing to do.
  • Results matter more than anything. Results in this sense being progress towards a goal.
  • Work hard, solve difficult problems and be able to influence others. Any piece of information you want is at your fingertips. Google. Smart Phones. Technology. Gotta love it.
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