I'm looking for more ideas here. I'll start us out here with a few. But looking forward to hearing what you smart people have to say!
FYI - here's my previous post on the topic - Alternatives to university?. I'd love some new ideas.
  • A year in Australia, on the working visa thing (https://www.australia.com/en-gb/youth-travel/working-holiday-visa/faq.html)
  • Code camp. Learn coding skills somewhere, preferably in person, for engagement and meeting people
  • Praxis - https://discoverpraxis.com/. Kind of like code camp, but not code, more business/life skills. It used to be that you didn't pay up front, but now looks like they're charging a more normal tuition
  • A certificate from a technical college/ vocational school (plumbing, electricity, many also have tech courses)
  • A chunk of time, doing low budget travel
  • go to work in a cannery, in Alaska. Hard work, earn lots of money (not through high pay, through working many hours).
Also - it used to be pretty common for young people to travel for a year, or at least a summer, the whole "backpacking through europe" or asia, taking temporary jobs when available. I almost never hear about young people doing this nowadays. What happened?
this territory is moderated
I think the allure of backpacking around Europe or taking a gap year to learn about oneself has decayed with the new economic reality we're in.
Inequality has increased which limits potential participants. College tuition and student debt have ballooned, which increase the opportunity cost of traveling vs. working. Doing it young takes away crucial time for investments to compound later in life. And then there's the likelihood of these ventures proving to be a fruitless way for a person to spend their savings until they come back to reality and have to take the first job that comes their way.
Doing this when you're young has many benefits vs. doing it much older when you might not be able to for health reasons, the biggest benefit being the experience. But people ignore the costs.
I did a version of this. I didn't travel but I took time off to pursue a dream. I failed and the dream died. Then I started working and it sucked for years. Society had me under the thumb, and I made up my mind that I'd never make that mistake again. And through that experience, the dream 2.0 came along, and I gained the money to pursue it and travel as much as I want.
Kids like to run away from their problems. I'm not a kid anymore.
Which dream 2.0 did you take?.
In 1.0, I wanted to be a novelist, but I was too young and my writing wasn't good enough yet.
In 2.0, I found bitcoin and had a front-row seat for the greatest story of our time.
0 sats \ 2 replies \ @9 28 Jan
You can also just use google earth and YouTube to virtually visit everywhere
I hope you are joking...
0 sats \ 0 replies \ @9 29 Jan
You can even do it using virtual reality. That’s what I did when i had my legs amputated.
2088 sats \ 3 replies \ @k00b 28 Jan
In general, I recommend people go to college. Mostly because you don't know what you don't know and colleges do. It's expensive and certain fields are totally fucked, but if you want to learn either a breadth of things or a depth of something, there isn't a better, single, generic place imo. There's no shortcut to mastery and there aren't bootcamps for doctors or chemical engineers.
IME my college education could be partitioned like this:
  1. reading a lot of books and discussing them. The books are usually one of:
    • a survey of a particular field
    • significant to a particular field
  2. ordered learning tasks that intend to layout a path to mastery in a specific field
  3. gamified learning, ie
    • grades are scoring systems
    • homework/tests are challenges in a level
    • classes are levels
    • deadlines
  4. meeting a lot of people from diverse backgrounds who are learning too
  5. a hierarchy of mentors literally standing by to mentor
If you want to replace college, it should have those things or analogs for them.
Also - it used to be pretty common for young people to travel for a year, or at least a summer, the whole "backpacking through europe" or asia, taking temporary jobs when available. I almost never hear about young people doing this nowadays. What happened?
Afaict this is still happening but it's no longer remarkable, because so many more people do it now and it isn't as challenging as it once was.
1147 sats \ 2 replies \ @anon 28 Jan
If you go to a highly ranked college at a reasonable price (whether scholarship, family support, grants, etc.) and pick a major with a high ROI its great.
If you do any combo of: go to a bad school, don't finish your degree, take out huge loans, get a degree with a low ROI or that doesn't have directly marketable skills and knowledge - it basically amounts to a scam.
I went to college and I'm glad I did, but I purposefully picked a major in the top 20 most highly paid.
Genuinely not to pick on people but if you pick an easy degree pays little money then you are likely in for a fun time at college followed by a rough real world afterwards. There are always exceptions, but this is painfully common. Don't go for the proverbial "underwater basket weaving" degree. Ask yourself what do real world companies want most and will I be able to do that with this degree.
IMHO gap years to travel basically amount to a scam that only rich kids are able to do these days. I try to stay open minded but I would have a hard time hiring someone who did this. Everyone I've interviewed after a gap year (meaning right after, not later in their career) was clearly from a rich family and very entitled. Gap years yes you learn a lot of valuable social skills, but often not anything directly that employers what. If I'm running a small business and looking for a generic entry level analyst, do I hire someone with 1 more years work experience or someone who spent an extra year traveling europe? work experience every time, doesn't meant the other person is in any way bad, they just have less knowledge and experience my business needs
Yes, in my circle of friends/acquaintances there's been a lot of recent college outcomes that have not been great.
  • Daughter of friend, graduated from college with a degree in communication, I believe. She had gotten a great scholarship for college, but it's been almost a year since she graduated, and she's still working at the place (fast casual type restaurant) that she was working at while at college
  • Another daughter of a friend. What with covid lockdowns, she switched colleges a couple times, thinking she'd escape the isolation of a particular college, but ended up experiencing the isolation of multiple different colleges. Her plan now is when she graduates in a few months, to live at home with her parents and work at a bakery, same as she's doing now in school. She was studying business, switched to polysci.
  • Son of a friend, he just flunked out after 1.5 years. Computer focus.
I do know one kid who graduated 2 years ago, and actually got a job doing what he had studied for. It took him about 6 months to find the job. His brother is still struggling, alternating between some college, some work, some full-time video-gaming from his dad's basement, sleeping all day long and gaming at night.
I think the value of a college degree went down a lot, with covid. There was so much isolation, anxiety, and NOT LEARNING happening because of the lockdowns, masks, etc.
1044 sats \ 0 replies \ @anon 29 Jan
Not to shame people, but just to learn the examples of where and how college goes wrong need to be discussed much more. You give some good possible examples. Not completing your degree, picking a degree with little or no direct job market, and switching to an easier degree should all be big red flags to parents. You do not have to have your whole life figured out and planned. You just need a basic approach to get some skills that are in demand in the job market and you can gradually build from there. Parents and the students should constantly ask what are they/I going to be able to do with this degree? Is this going to make my whole life better in the long term or is this just the easy thing to do right now that I'll probably regret later?
Build a plan to acquire a technical trade, like HVAC, Electrical, or Plumbing (apprenticeship), and then get a contractors license.
Learn to Code
This guy knows what's up
244 sats \ 0 replies \ @Roll 28 Jan
  1. Enrol into an apprenticeship
  2. Join a school leaver programme
  3. Take a gap year
  4. Start your own business
  5. Gain some work experience
  6. Apply for an internship
  7. Complete a sponsored degree
  8. Gain a national vocational qualification (NVQ)
  9. Take an online course
  10. Get an entry-level job
  11. Study a foundation course
  12. Complete a traineeship
  13. Work as a freelancer
  14. Volunteer
  15. Join the military
Find an NGO for a mission that suits you. And attach yourself to that NGO and become indispensable. If they cover room and board, you can continue indefinitely. Missions vary considerably. Some ideas: installing clean energy solutions for make shift schools in refugee camps. Teaching orphans, or some other disadvantaged demographic about Linux, open source, and Bitcoin. Clean water tech in areas with no infrastructure. The right mix of adventure, philanthropy, and learning a new language and other valuable skills will serve as a solid substitute for university.
Very interesting. A lot of what I've seen from NGOs has seemed like real scams. For instance, spend time at an orphanage, pay us for the privilege, it'll look great on your college admission application. Or even more popular - have a group of people come to an orphanage or some community building in a third world country, have them paint it, and take a big donation. Even though it just got painted a month ago, by another group.
But anyway, cynicism aside, I'd like to learn about how this has worked for you, or your friends, if you're interested in telling us some more.
There are countless NGOs all over the world. Groups of people coming together for a cause that they believe in. Of course, DYOR. To be clear, I did finish university. But after that, I volunteered for an NGO where we set up green energy systems in refugee camps in Asia. Not a scam at all. On the contrary, it was an incredible experience. Made friends with people that I am still in touch with after 10 years.
If you travel to Laos or Cambodia you will find pockets of wealthy touristy areas which are surrounded by crushing poverty. There are plenty of opportunities to help improve people's lives just about everwhere.
Currently visiting a 42 coding school, 42 is a worldwide network of privately funded programming schools with a in-presence cose curriculum focused on the fundamentals of programming and computer science in a self paced learning style by p2p learning (no teachers). Great experience, learned twice as much as in college in the same time.
Hey, thanks for the reply, this sounds really interesting. Would you care to tell a little more about it?
To get accepted you first do an online test, then a 30 day in-presence test (pain :), then if you get accepted you can learn mostly in your own speed (only in presence). The curriculum is done mostly in C and C++ except some more specific projects. So far really satisfied with the projects, they really go in depth and take a fair amount of learning. My campus is great, we have nice Macs, a gaming room, fitness room, free coffee, sleep room (power naps), music room, etc... The connections you can make are also great as you are surrounded by other motivated students every day.
Tell me if you have any specific questions, otherwise you can probably find information and the nearest campus here: https://www.42network.org/42-schools/
Sounds fascinating. Looks like there's no 42 campus in the US. So this is a nonprofit?
Yes the schools are nonprofit, purely financed by private sponsors. I think US had one in California but it had to be closed because people sight up just for the benefits you get as student like free housing...
Also completely free to attend, you just have to get accepted (which is not easy). Best way to get into a coding career IMO.
152 sats \ 0 replies \ @anon 28 Jan
Do a trade as an apprentice then journey level for a few years then start your own small business of that trade is the easiest, fastest, and most certain direct path to being a millionaire by 40 in most big cities in America. There is such a shortage of tradespeople and most of those small business utilize no technology, don't keep appointment, and have terrible customer service. All you have to do is be decent at your trade, have an online appointment portal, and show up on time and you will make really good money. We desperately need to encourage this as a society or we are going to run out of people to keep our homes from falling down.
151 sats \ 2 replies \ @OT 28 Jan
Traveling cheap for long period is such an amazing experience. You learn so much!
Would love to hear more, @OT. What did you learn?
I did some cheap travel for a while (hitch-hiking, anyone?). And it was great, good stories to tell, good experiences.
Eventually I learned that I really wanted a bit more stability (I remember at one point thinking "I would give a lot to be settled in a small apartment"). But for 3 - 6 months it was great.
30 sats \ 0 replies \ @OT 29 Jan
I did some cycle touring around Asia in my 20's. Just how different everything was (especially in China). Just by living in that environment you subconsciously pick things up.
I learned how to budget my travel pretty well as I knew I wouldn't be working for a long time. I also found out how friendly people generally are, even in countries that might have a bad reputation in the west.
A certificate from a technical college/ vocational school (plumbing, electricity, many also have tech courses)
Don't sleep on this possibility. Its often the best return on investment. There are a wide array of such courses now....its not just plumber, hvac, etc. There are cybersecurity, network admin, etc.
What makes these programs such a good return on investment is that often they are either directly funded by - or have industry partners that hire out of the programs. For instance, in Texas lots of these 'trade schools' offer all manner of petroleum engineering degrees, and the major energy companies hire from this program (its a win-win as the companies dictate what they want taught so they are getting trained employees who paid to train themselves).
So its entirely possible to spend $6k on a few semesters of trade school and wind up getting a job for $75k within a year or so....
You are not married to that job. You can always do something else....
https://saylor.org from Michael Saylor is also a good alternative.
Free Code Camp has free full courses on coding: https://yewtu.be/channel/UC8butISFwT-Wl7EV0hUK0BQ
Trades man. Start apprenticing. Whatever you have a knack for, start learning it.
Technically, the university is supposed to be a place where you do that too, but somewhere along the way it became a status symbol and a job certificate.
Yes, there are a lot. However there's nothing better than self education. Learn everything what your interest suggest you. Do what your drive says you to do.
If I could go back to age 18, knowing that I was interested in computers, I would start a startup and/or try to get a job at a startup. If I had to work my own startup and work another job to feed myself, I would do that.
I eventually ended up failing out of college because I didn't want to be there, but spend years of my life getting drunk and wasting my time. Could have started real life a lot sooner and been far ahead of anyone that went to school.
Traveling and doing a startup is now a great option too, since you can work from anywhere with your laptop.
Working on your mental and physical health by yoga, meditation or the good old gym.
Apprenticeships, becoming an entrepreneur. University is a business that sells expensive products. I recommend not buying it.
There is nothing wrong with blue collar jobs.
There however is something wrong with people wanting to join white collar jobs without being qualified. I have seen so many teams now in computer science and engineering that get absolutely crippled because they waste their time teaching basics to people who did a "code camp"
i don’t feel qualified to give any specific advice, but if you’re debating a couple of ideas i’d lean towards the one that sounds more extreme
Two year technical college, build competency and work hard. These are the best investments you can make.
Other than that, spend a few months away from your parents.
Then, get a solid job, get married, start having kids and reading books or taking Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs).
My journey was traveling with the Air Force. Spent 4 years through South Carolina, Texas, California, Florida, Italy and South Korea.
Kids should experience different places and cultures. And they should probably be homeschooled, the curriculum is Bitcoin.
Get the real skills that no one seem to want these days. Electrician, Plumber, HVAC, etc. In a few years, you can start your own business and never look back. After 10 years running that you will be your own Boss then you can travel all you want :-) YMMV
Practice to become good at AI tools. AI is not going to obsolete everything, but it is a tool that can supercharge one's abilities and it's essential to know how to utilize it to excel in many fields.