Recently, Tim Donovan of Salon wrote an article titled “Thanks for Nothing, College” in which he systematically proved that college is worthless. College never provides a return on the time and money invested, Donovan argues.

Unfortunately, just not going to college at all is easier said than done.

Even though college isn’t perfect and is overpriced, many employers still require a degree. Hell, even some McDonald’s restaurants require their cashiers to have a bachelor’s degree! Skirting around college might sound appealing, but if your parents aren’t independently wealthy, you might have a tough time. Building skills or getting a decent job somewhere won’t come easy with just a high school education for most people; college, as maligned as it is, might be the best bet.

If you find yourself at college, there are some important things you can do to make sure that all of your money spent is worth it. Let’s talk about them.

First, READ! If you’re paying money to attend classes, the least you can do is read the assigned materials so that you can learn what the class is supposed to teach. Yes, sometimes you have to take a GenEd class that you aren’t crazy about. This GIF sums up what you should do in that situation. You can’t get out of a GenEd, so learn what you can while you’re there. If nothing else, it’ll make you more well-rounded of a person. You’ll be able to sound so intelligent at parties and will ace bar trivia! There’s also a chance you might discover something that you’re really into. For example, a college calligraphy course proved to be life-changing for Steve Jobs. If you don’t pay attention or do any of the assigned work for your classes, you’re wasting money. It’s that simple. You’re there to learn, so learn.

Second, TALK TO PEOPLE. There’s a tired yet exceedingly true saying that goes “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” College gives you a chance to build a network. Don’t waste it by just going to class and going home. Being “that quiet kid” has no benefit. Someone you make friends with at college could get you a job a couple years after graduation!

Third, and most importantly, INTERN! We live in a world where entry level jobs require 2-3 years of experience. Therefore, the only way to have enough experience to land a job soon after you graduate is to intern your ass off. It may be a pain, but it’ll payoff. A lot of companies will only take college students as interns, so once you graduate you’ll lose a tremendous amount of opportunities. Intern wherever you can (provided that it’s relevant to what you want to do, obviously), whenever you can.

These three nuggets of advice seem obvious but they’re easy to ignore when you’re a wide-eyed summer child, or if you’re spending all your time drinking and smoking rather than studying or interning. College may be flawed, but part of college is what you make it. Don’t screw it up by being lazy and/or ignorant and/or apathetic.


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