40 + 15 Alternatives to College

The value that college education brings to a student has been questioned for sometime now. I had earlier written about this challenge here, here and here.

The increasing amount of student debt combined with the rising unemployment rates are a testament to the fact that the conventional education system is not currently broken.

In this situation, James Altucher has listed down 40 alternate ideas to a formal college education (which comes with the debt) in a slide deck that he shared on slide share.

I would like to add my own list of alternatives to college education as below:

  1. Join someone as an assistant. It doesnt matter what the person does for a living – whether he is a mason or an electrician or a plumber or a stock broker or a film maker. Help him with all his work. You will end up learning a lot about the craft, which could lead you to more opportunities.
  2. Become a salesman for a business. Sales teaches you to communicate & convince others; a skill that every single successful person has in abundance.
  3. Go to a mall or a market and talk to at least 10 – 15 strangers. Ask half of them how can you help them. Ask the other half for help. Do this every day for a year. You would be surprised by the number of people whom you will know and who know you – another key ingredient that could potentially make you lucky.
  4. Go to a temple or a church. Help the priest there run the temple or church. Help everyone who comes there to pray. Pray for them. Pray with them. You will make a lot of friends. Let serendipity strike you.
  5. Go to a public library. Read any book that you find interesting. Make notes of the books. Blog about the notes that you have made.
  6. Make a list of email ID’s of all the people you meet through any of the above ideas. Create a newsletter based on whatever you did and mail it to them on a regular basis.
  7. Start a podcast. Interview some of these people and get them to share their stories with you – “In convesation with a common man”. Share this with everyone you know.
  8. Find a relative or friend who is in trouble or who could benefit from some help or support. Help them out in whatever way you can.
  9. Visit a new corner in your city. Explore that part of the city. Share what you find out in a blog or a podcast or if possible through a YouTube channel.
  10. Go eat at a different restaurant for your every meal. Rate the restaurant, their service & their food on Yelp. Do that everyday for a year. DO remember to exercise well though, so that you remain healthy.
  11. Watch a movie everyday and suggest try to think what could have been better in the movie. Take this one step ahead and write about your thoughts on a blog or to the writer/director/producer of the movie. You can find that most of these guys have some form of public presence.
  12. Get yourself a twitter account. Follow all the people whom you respect. Read everything that they write or share. Comment on the blogs that they write or videos that they share. Blog about the content by adding your perspective to the content (I guess, I am doing this right now) and share. Do this everyday. Twitter is a treasure-trove of great content if you want to read through. Pick a topic (#HashTag) and read everything that is being shared about that topic. You will learn more than any college course can teach you about the topic.
  13. Drive a taxi or a cab or an auto-rickshaw. Talk to the commuters. Learn what they do. Try to make an impression. If you learn how to make an impression on these travellers, you can make a living selling and marketing.
  14. Combine some of these ideas. Review restaurants and books or serve at a church and review restaurant.
  15. Try one of these idea every month.

These were some of the ideas that i could come up with. Do you have any other ideas that you can share with me or with James?

I have been following the work of James Altucher for some time now and would recommend his blog and podcast to anyone who wants to learn more about life, success and failure. The content that creates is just awesome.

Do share your thoughts and continue the discussion