Hey guys! My name is Kouame N’Dri, I am 18 years old and I am a software developer for Midan marketing. I have been on a nontraditional path and would love to share my journey with you. The point of this piece isn’t to give advice, but provide a perspective from the next generation up.
We have all heard the myth before: College is the gateway to a great, prosperous life. That is 100% false. The problem with colleges today is that we assume a degree is necessary for everyone, regardless of their interests, talents, and passions. Being a software developer, I wasn’t too excited about attending college in the first place. I knew my passion early on and was committed to my independent studies.
I know for a fact there will be some people out there that will say “That narrative is played out!” , “Stay in school, chasing your passion is not a safe route!” I get it, I really do. Everyone has a different mindset, different story, different motivation. And quite frankly those same people haven’t been in school in the last 10 years.
My First Semester
During my first semester, it was so hard for me to focus and study for classes I thought were useless. Instead of studying and memorizing Avogadro’s number ( which is 6.022 x 1⁰²³ by the way ) and the mass of an electron, I was too busy writing programs and indulging myself in current tech news. My passion is what kept me up late at night. Most of the time I didn’t sleep because I was in the library trying to solve code challenges, reading documentation, and of course, I watched “The Social Network” every other night with my friends.
My team and I have won the Shop.com “App Contest”. It was a true eye-opener for me. Through all the stress that comes with all of our classes, we were able to create a great product and win the whole contest. We wanted to make a statement. A minority freshman team, disrupting the tech industry, that was our goal and mission.
There are two types of environments in the world. You have a startup environment and the traditional corporate environment. College has so much structure, with a designed linear projection of where I am supposed to be in four years. The traditional way of learning is outdated, it is time for people to transition to project-based learning. The exploratory, project-based learning is the startup environment. You dedicate your time, resources on things of your interest and you learn while you are doing. That’s the type of environment I want to be in and is the reason I decided to leave college.
The traditional way of learning is outdated, it is time for people to transition to project-based learning.
For 12 years of my life (I skipped my junior year of high school) I attended school 8 hours a day for 210 days a year. What was the outcome? It created a focus on short-term goals and objectives. The school trained me to look for the “right answer” rather than taking a step back to look for a unique answer.
After leaving school I began to develop a learning plan for myself. There are multiple great resources out there for those who love learning and improvement but just not in a college setting. There is edx.org, this site provides online classes that are from prestigious schools like MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley. There is also udemy.com, that has renowned instructors in almost every industry that teaches a course. The courses range from marketing, project management, to coding, Photoshop, communication skills. Anything you can think that will help better yourself as a person and a professional, one of these two resources have that course for you.
I hope you found this piece refreshing as it provides a new perspective. If you decided to go to college that’s cool, if not just know that the world did not end.