Phase One Recapitulation

Three weeks ago, I set in motion a plan that had simmered in the back of my mind for a number of months: the Life Without College blog. It’s funny how ideas can sit in the little wrinkles of your brain, where you hardly notice them, even though you know perfectly well they are there. This was one of them. And I don’t know what occurred to me three weeks ago; I can’t quite put my finger on what made me set up a little homepage and begin blogging. But, in case it wasn’t clear, I am beyond enjoying myself. There’s no looking back now.

I believe the past six entries have given a sufficient introduction to my objectives for this blog, my reasons why I am living my own life without college, and presented my view on the whole college = wealth = success mentality which has swept America in these past few decades. As I am brainstorming more directions for this blog to take and more topics to cover in future entries, I am starting to see the first 6 entries as “Phase One” of the Life Without College blog. So, before I move on, I think it is only fitting to recap Phase One :

Life Without College – Is it Possible??
My very first post! I started with the basics and gave a short overview of what mental limitation the glorification of college has left us with. “My primary goal with this blog is to enlighten and encourage those people out there who want to do more than what is expected of them, who want to accomplish their dreams now, and who don’t want to wait for so-called “opportunity” to come a-knocking…”

Backstory: Why I am not in School Today
Yes, my literal back story: where I come from in the area of schooling, my college experiences, and my big, amazing “anti-college” adventure. Basically, the foundational reasons why you are now reading the subject matter I’m presenting to you on this blog.

Autodidact
In which I show a more clear picture of what Life Without College is all about by introducing the term “autodidact.” Self-directed learning, I state, is all a matter of choice, and the attitude behind that choice.

What’s Wrong With College?
This entry is to put us all on the same page as far as general attitudes towards college go. It was good for me to write it because I know I do tend to have a negative view towards college. The entry is a halfway point where we can stop, shake hands, and sing songs around the fire. In it is I state that there is nothing inherently wrong with college; what is wrong is the assumptions that it is the answer to all problems, and always the next step in life, no matter what you really want to do, or if you don’t know what you want to do yet. I highly recommend that anyone who comes to my blog and accuses me of being anti-college read this particular entry. It really stresses one of my main points.

Defining Success, Part One
I commence my two-part piece on the definition of success by pointing out that we too often view success as the achievement of the “American Dream”: higher education for a high-paying corporate job, in order to acquire huge sums of money to own as much STUFF as humanly possible. And most people are afraid of rejecting this definition – if they do, they’ll end up homeless or on welfare. I restate and elaborate on points I made in the previous “What’s Wrong With College?” entry as well, most specifically on how at 17 or 18, most of us are really just finding out what we want in life, and shouldn’t feel like we have to pick something to do for the rest of our lives right then.

Defining Success, Part Two
Apparently, the second part of my two entries specifically about our warped views of success in the 21st century. I use an example of a high-paying job which required high education, and a mediocre-paying job which required very little extra education, which was not gained in a college environment. There was some controversy when I linked to it on my Facebook page, about whether I thought doctors were secretly awful people living materialistic lives, or that wealth was sinful. But the main point I want readers to see in this entry is that we do not have to look at only one grand type of career path or certain amount of wealth as being successful; we can make our own definitions of success. As my friend Bushra puts it: “Success is simply mental freedom and satisfaction. If one gets it by being a highly paid doctor or by being a volunteer social worker or running a small business or raising kids at home, it is his/her prerogative. We must not judge others by the standards we set for ourselves…”, nor judge ourselves by the standards seemingly set by the world.

And now, a call for feedback – where do you want to see me go with this blog? What directions are you expecting it to take, and/or what directions would you like it to take? Do you have any questions or thoughts which you would like me to answer/address in a future post? I want to make sure not to write just what I want to say, but what my readers want to read.

Thank you for all the support so far! The next exciting “phase” of my blog will begin shortly.

~Jess

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