Why college education is still very relevant

Now you can learn anything on the Internet. There's Wikipedia, there are tutorials or YouTube videos on any subject possible... so anyone can become an expert at the age of 15 or less... and with College dropouts like Mark Zuckenberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, many people started questioning the value in College (University) education. Well, for a person who has two College degrees and lives a life he always dreamed of, I can't stress enough how my University education helped me become the man I am today:
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1. You learn how to think and study later in life, it never ends

Now that I'm quite a few years out of College, I can say that University education helped me learn how to study effectively - every exam was different as every professor had different way of approaching their subject... and there were subjects I liked... and the ones I thought were useless and unnecessary for me to learn... yet I had to pass them all to get my degree... so I needed to find a way to study and prepare for all the exams. Also the ones I didn't like.

Now I'm studying different new things every single day... and it never ends... and I love it in life. It's great I get to learn and develop my skills and I don't want to stop. 5 years of solid University education helped me prepare for this time in life. (just think about it - I studied business, yet I learned PHP and MySQL and Javascript and built the initial version of Nozbe on my own...)

2. You learn how to deal with stress and tight deadlines

When you're at the University, there are lots of distractions... and parties... and girls... and whatnot... yet when the exams are due, you learn quickly how to study the material, learn stuff quickly and collaborate with others to learn the most difficult stuff together. When I was finishing my High School, I thought the final exam is going to be the most stressful and difficult ever in my life... and when I entered the University, I realized every single exam there is more difficult to pass. You learn to deal with that... as life brings you more exams afterwards.

3. You get to be a child... and adult at the same time

Now about something more pleasant than learning - you get to be a child, a student actually. And nobody treats the students seriously.... so you get to be an adult who can behave like a child and everyone thinks it's OK. I loved it. "I'm just a student" was the best excuse ever to do some silly stuff and try out different crazy ideas. Being a "student" I was "immature" by definition - I could do anything I wanted... and I tried, and it was both fun and a great learning experience. You don't get that when you enter the labor market straight after High School.

4. You get to party a lot and meet great people

At the University most of the people (well, many of them) are bright and intelligent and smart... and you get to connect with them on different levels... you talk to them, you party with them, you make crazy stuff together... and you grow together... I planned my first startup ideas with my best friend from College (Wiktor) and we kept on exchanging ideas and thinking big. I learned programming with my other friend (Michal) from College and again, we grew together in the process. And I learned languages talking to my foreign friends on the campus... You've got all these great people over there and they all want the same thing - hand out and have a great time, while studying...

5. You get to travel and learn new cultures (Erasmus)

In Europe there is this Socrates-Erasmus program that fosters exchange between Colleges so I could travel and study in Germany and later in Spain. Thanks to this program I met people from all over Europe (including students from outside Europe, too), I learned to speak fluently German and Spanish... and had to improve my English in the process as well.

If you're still in College and you're still considering this program, don't think twice - just go for it and study abroad. It's the best experience ever and helps you grow incredibly. I say it should be obligatory for every student to study at least one year abroad.

6. You get to think what you really want to do in life

When I entered College I chose "Business Administration" as I had no idea what I wanted to do in life... I was interested in too many things and thought that "business studies will be very "all-about-everything" studies that will help me find my true calling. I knew what I liked (computers, laptops, traveling, languages) and throughout my studies I learned skills like marketing, sales, research... and programming (in my spare time) that shaped me and helped me figure out my calling.

7. ...and there is one more thing - you should study what you're really interested in

I was interested in business, so I chose it. If you like philosophy, go for it... and don't look at what the market needs today. I know people who studied linguistics and are now running successful companies that have nothing to do with linguistics... my father studied electronics and ended up being an ad-designer.... and learned to be an accountant and now is my Chief Financial Officer. My mum studied architecture, later became an accountant then turned to build an advertising agency... and later became an art merchant. My parents showed me they never stopped studying and always were pursuing their new ideas and it has never stopped them. Whatever you study at the University - study for all the reasons above... and you'll find your career in the process. Good luck!

So what did you study? How did you like your College years?
--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Posted on Monday, January 24, 2011 (business,education,life)