Told you should focus on your studies rather than earning an extra buck? Here’s why you’re smart to do both at once.
If you’re trying to juggle school AND a job, you’ll probably hear this question, whether you’re working for a corporation or looking to of your own.
No one’s prohibiting you from snarling the rhetorical question, “Did I ask your opinion?” After all, it’s your life, money and energy. But if you have the grace and patience, turn the question around and ask: Is college a good idea for my career?
Well, is college a good idea for my career?
The short answer is yes, particularly for entrepreneurs. , or those born in the 1980s and ’90s, are said to be trained from birth by history and economic circumstances to eschew certain aspects of the fabled American Dream, particularly when it comes to employment by large corporations. Millennials dream up companies like Facebook and start business ventures with little more than a smartphone, a laptop and a vision.
But despite all this creative energy and acumen, higher education remains important whether you’re pursuing an or a Saturday-afternoon MBA program.
Why do I need to pay for a piece of paper to prove I can do what I’m already doing?
You might have a point if we consider this question only in the most shallow of terms. But then again, learning to delve into a subject more deeply is one of the prime examples of a skill you’re presumed to have with that college diploma in-hand. And even if you’ve labored to begin this new business and it is, in fact, still alive and breathing, that’s no guarantee that you’re prepared to handle challenging situations as they arise. And they will.
The fact that you’re successfully running a small start-up doesn’t mean it won’t tank next year. It’s happened to bigger and better companies before your little Acme was conceived. You may someday need that degree to qualify for a job with a company you work for, not your own.
The perks of being a boss while still in school
The benefits of simultaneously managing two roles – entrepreneur and student – are many, once you’ve acquired time management skills and given up any delusion that you’re going to have a lot of free time while juggling these pursuits.
One major aspect of this dual life will be your ability to avoid the ramen-noodle poverty required of most college undergraduates unsupported by parental wealth. In a time when half your fellow students are graduating and moving directly into joblessness, your employment is already assured. You can instead focus on . Another added bonus: real-life business conundrums are fabulous fodder for required class projects, giving you college credit for solving a real dilemma.
How do I do this again?
First, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’ve already been doing it – because it’s likely you already fall in that camp. If you’re considering it, remember that every year.
Second, adopt a mantra of efficiency. With the right technology, you can listen to required class texts during commutes. Take as many classes as you can online, allowing you more control over your schedule. Recognize that most of the lessons you learn during this time will probably transfer over when you’re attempting to juggle a relationship, work and a family.
Finally, the efforts required to earn your degree will come to a close. You’ll eventually acquire the required credits and graduate. In other words, this is only a temporary period of difficulty that you must get through to reap the benefits of your efforts.
Dawn Altnam lives and works in the Indianapolis area, and she enjoys following the tech and business worlds. After furthering her education, she now spends time researching her interests and blogging about her discoveries.