One of the most challenging mindset limitations I have overcome has been my lack of a college degree. I dropped out of Central Michigan University after three years with no focus or major. I labeled myself as the college dropout and for years I let this label define me. I unwittingly factored in outside influence and the negative connotations of "college dropout". Deceptively, my ego made me believe I was inferior and kept me from doing things outside my comfort zone. I was missing opportunities because, in my mind, they were out of my reach. I gave into my limited thinking and used my college dropout label as an excuse.
The truth is there are successful people (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg) who, like 30% of college students, dropped out early. Similarly there are great thinkers and innovators (Richard Branson, Frank Lloyd Wright) that have never stepped foot in a college or university.
We have been led to believe that a proper education leads to comfort, security, and fulfillment. And while this may be true in some cases, college isn't for everyone. Do we want to perpetuate a culture where a degree is the ultimate ticket to success? Especially in times where degrees aren't necessarily helping grads land a job and student debt is becoming an increasing problem.
Learning should be a positive experience and one that you feel comfortable with personally and financially. The point I'm trying to make is that there are alternatives to traditional 4-year colleges. Fortunately there are now options to explore before you make the choice and, if you’re like me, when you're faced with overcoming dropout status.
So, start nourishing your brain. Here are my top five places to learn on the internet. Most sites are free, so there are no excuses!
People use the internet for finding their wedding dress IQ? Huh? I'm speechless from how oxymoronic that is, considering with the same click you can learn from some of MIT's best professors. MIT is sharing some of their online coursework, and it's free!
Khan Academy is also free and you can learn alongside your children. It's a good starting point to get into a non-traditional mindset of learning outside the classroom. It's come to a point in our society where we shouldn't be solely relying on public education.
Saylor Academy offers several courses that earn you transferable credits to certain accredited schools that they affiliate with. They offer core classes you might take in a traditional college or university as well as career oriented courses.
Alison offers free courses to expand workplace skills from business and IT to health and personal development. This site is great if you are looking to grow your knowledge base whether you want to advance in your current job, look for a new job or start your own business.
SkillShare has been one of my favorite places to learn. They charge a small monthly fee for access to all their courses. You can also take some courses for free if you’re not up for the premium membership. This site has course-work taught by successful working professionals. Most of the classes are brief and to the point so you're getting good content in a timely manner.
Self-education is becoming more prevalent lately as people start realizing they want more than the 9-5 grind. Learning new skills is a great way to get yourself motivated to branch out, start your own business and get into an independent mindset.
The take away from this post: Don't let labels negatively affect your mindset. It doesn't matter where you are in life, you can always learn and grow.