Is it important to attend college?

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Ah, a big question for many (including my self). A lot of people have asked me “Why majoring in economy?” when the media world is my field and passion, which I’m going to explain in this post as well. I just want to write some thoughts and reflect around this whole “Do you need college?” thing.

My early life relationship to school

School has always been super important to my family. Both of my parents are doctors and went to medical school. I’m an only child, but if I had two siblings I’d guess at least 2/3 of us would become a lawyer, engineer, economist and maybe even a doctor as well. Luckily, my parents never wanted me to become a doctor, and actually have advised me from doing it. But if I had told them I wasn’t going to attend college after high school, I’d probably be sent to a boarding school in China. Just kidding (I hope… But at least something close it).

When I got my internship at 16 at Topp Magazine, the ones working there told me “You already got gold on your resume”. Here I was, 16 and a freshman in high school, with my own desk and computer at Norway’s biggest teen magazine. I got emails from students at journalism school who asked how I did it. I was in a position graduates from journalism school dreamed of. My YouTube channel also started to grow, and I was already in the business that I wanted to be a part of. I had my dream job, and I had gotten a lot of contacts within the business. After my internship, I worked at a PR firm for half a year at a “prestigious office” at Aker Brygge before I decided to focus more on my channel and school. My co-workers were students at marketing schools etc, and here I was. An 18 year old senior.

Still, I chose to attend business school after high school to learn more about economics and business law. I knew it didn’t really “need” to, because I already had a strong network and resume. But It’s not a secret that because we have this “system” there is a pressure to attend college, but I was actually excited about it. Even though I kind of needed to create some sort of excitement around it anyways, considering I knew it was not an option to not to go to college.

What do I think now?

I just finished the first year of my bachelor’s degree within economy and business law. I’m in my room and I’m thinking… What did I learn this school year? I mean, there are some interesting things I’ve catched up upon. But have I learned more here than in an everyday work life? Not to talk about I also got a super nice debt (that will be fun to look at when my bachelor is over).

I’ve watched a lot of Gary Vee’s videos lately, especially the ones where he talks about college:

Now, I would not discuss if education is important in general. We should all have the rights to learn how to write, read and basic math. If no one was educated, it wouldn’t really look right to the world. Knowledge is super important. But is it important to attend college? This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Now I’m not talking about becoming a lawyer or doctor, but for example business and marketing, like Gary talks about.

The first thing I have to say when the question is “Do you need college?” is… Well, you don’t really need anything in life (except water and food). Do you really need that degree and piece of paper? We’ve all heard plenty of times the sunshine stories of people with no college degree who makes millions of dollars and did just fine. I think, as for nearly everything else, it all comes down to the individual. What you want in life, how the circumstances are for you right now (and if they are not like you want them to be, create that environment now) etc. One thing I do know and like to say, is that your education alone is a very small percentage of it in a work setting. The education can be what you make it, and the degree will probably not hurt you when seeking a job. But if school doesn’t sound motivating at all, and you’re a hard worker who got a great idea? Go for the business idea! Maybe it will include you taking a part time job on the side, but you can still work smart and hard with your passion project.

It’s what you use it for that counts. I’d like to be better at drafting contracts etc., which I’ll learn more about the next years since I specialize within business law. A lot of people have asked me “Why economy?” when I work within media, but that’s exactly why: I don’t feel like the professors at a school can teach me more about how to make it in the social media world than what the internet can, and what I already have learned from work experience. I chose economy & business law because I wanted to become better at something that is not my main field. If I’m going to college, I might as well choose a major where I can learn something that can help me with my future businesses. I’ll admit, personally, the thought of having no college degree scares me. But I’m not sure if that’s because of the system of society or my parents (not that I have anything against going to a boarding school in China, but I’m perfectly fine here in Oslo).

If you want to work within marketing, already got a lot of work experience and strong connections, I’d say you’ll do just fine without an education. By all means, still go to college if that’s you dream, but I wouldn’t feel like I needed it. At least use school for more than just the classes. Network and make connections. Create relationships. Make the most out of it! But remember that people would want to work with you because you can show results within your field. Not the grades or the name of a degree on your paper.

What’s very, very important, is that no matter what you choose, you got to believe in yourself. I don’t care how cliché that sounds. If you keep doubting you and your ideas, it’s automatically going to be so much harder.

So, to make a conclusion: I think no matter what you choose – as long as you’re a hard worker, have belief and got a good head, I wouldn’t worry. Maybe I’ll write a post in 5 (or 10) years from now on with the same title, but with a bit different (and better) answer. Maybe even a “10 questions to see if you should attend college”. I still got two more years of college left as well, so we’ll see. What are your thoughts on this?

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