Why do people choose to go to college?
I’ll start by answering the question myself. I went to college because I wanted to learn how to create better websites. I’ve had a background in web development since elementary school, but I used to believe that going to university was the best (and only way?) to become a qualified professional in the field. I at least thought you needed some kind of degree in web development if you wanted to get a job in the field.
But as I was signing up for my first courses, it turned out the school curriculum had recently undergone significant changes. The course descriptions no longer matched those in the school pamphlet, and many development courses had been replaced with business-related study units.
The school had decided to take a new approach that didn’t adapt well with my own objectives. Their new strategy was to focus less on technical ability and start training project managers. While the IT industry does need project managers who exhibit a technical understanding of how websites and applications are built, I wasn’t planning on starting out as one. I wanted to be a developer first.
I could’ve waited another year and applied to a different school, but I decided to stick around. One of the key motivators to stay was the study abroad program the school was promoting, which I of course signed up for and thus had the privilege of studying in Japan and meeting the coolest people in the world.
But although I had a blast in Japan, I wasn’t becoming a better web developer. I realized I hadn’t learned almost anything new about web development during the past two years in college. And I only had a year and a half left. If things continued like this, I would graduate empty-handed in that respect.
So I had to do something differently if I ever wanted to make a living as a web developer. I had to stop relying on the school and look for the knowledge myself.
In a way ending up in that college was a blessing. I came to realize many things. I realized that if I truly wanted to learn something, I would have to become active and get my own hands dirty, and not assume that the skill would be handed to me on a platter.
I also realized that schools weren’t the only place where you could learn things. In fact, I realized that you could learn a lot more and specialize in what you wanted provided that you had the determination to learn the skill.
Thanks to the Internet and all the people sharing valuable knowledge and services there, we now live in an age where you can learn professional skills from the comfort of your home with minimal investments.