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College?

Discussion in 'General Entrepreneur Discussion' started by kelrash, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. kelrash
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    kelrash PARKED

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    I'm currently in the military and go to school part time. I don't know if the topic been dicussed yet on the forum, but I was wondering does going to school and getting a degree plays a role in you becoming successful (getting in the fastlane)?
     
  2. Bilgefisher
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    Bilgefisher Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    I am not in the fastlane, but I was the College Coordinator for my boat while I served. Is a degree necessary to be successful. Short answer is no, but it really depends on what you are trying to do. Does a degree help in many fields, absolutely it does.

    I have harked against higher education on these forums, but I do believe it is worthwhile if you are in the military for several reasons;

    -its free or nearly free. The military pays for 75% of your college tuition and covers 100% of classes with several schools that have programs designed for military students. Any college expenses (books the remaining 25% etc) are tax deductible. When it was all said and done, my degree cost around 5k. I could have done it for around 2k, but made some mistakes along the way.

    -if you plan on staying in the military, nowadays a college degree goes a long way towards advancement. It can get you into an officer program and at least for the Navy, is now a prerequisite to earn E-7 (a Chief for outsiders). It looks really good on your evals when you show that you are working on higher education. Not to mention your unit commander gets praise for improving education in your unit. The military is working hard to shake the image of uneducated grunts. Its college programs are nearly unmatched and they get better each year.

    - distance learning, self learning is extremely useful if you have the dedication and know where to find help if you get stuck. When I was deployed on my sub, obviously outside help was limited, but I was truly amazed at some of the info my coworkers knew when I asked. Also, it works around your schedule, which I know to well is hectic as can be. If you can convince others to work on their education, you will find many will have the same classes as you. Use that to your advantage. One reason I became college coordinator was slightly selfish, when I saw others working on education after watch, I was motivated to so as well.

    -cleps, cleps, cleps. The little known college gem that is free to military and only $60 for civilians. I earned over 30 credits via cleps. Simple 1-2 hour exams. Thats 1 year of normal college study. They are usually given once a week and are given on most college campuses and military installations. Check with your local college office on base. Of the 7 cleps I took, I only studied for 1 of them. I only studied for 10 hours for that one to boot. Its not that I am some know it all in subjects, far from it. Just go in and take the exam, if you fail, so what. The only stipulation is you cannot take that exam again for 6 months. Oh well its free. If your worried about passing any of them, there are many clep guides available at the library or your local book store. My recommendation however is to check the suggested references on the official clep guide, go to the book store and read the opening and summary of every chapter and take the test. There are also tons of free guides on the internet if you search for them. Besides the tests are multiple choice. I have know clue who painted some picture in 1860. I could care less about art, but I do know kinda what a Rembrandt looks like or a Van go. Use your best guesstimate, you'll be surprised how well you do. Several exams I took, I didn't even know I was taking them until I looked at what list was available that morning. Clep Main site On their site in the upper left hand corner their are links for military personal. There is also a link to locate your nearest testing center. Ok enough on cleps for now. If anyone wants more info or exam tips, I can post it.

    -combined with your military experience a college degree will push you above and beyond other job applicants. If your applying for a government position, the position is given to a the candidate with the most points. Points are awarded for knowledge in an area, veteran status and college experience. Veterans have a 5 point advantage over non vets and disabled vets have a 10 point advantage. The points are limited to 100 points with an average of 70-80. You better believe it makes a difference.

    some recommendations for you
    - determine what field you would like to work in when you get out. This may not be the field your in. I made the mistake of thinking, I'm a nuclear operator, I'll just do that when I get out. My degree is in nuclear engineering. I have absolutely no desire to do that. Oops. Earn the degree in what you want to do. It may take a little longer, but can be worth it.

    -If your just looking for a quick degree, then stick to your career field. You will already have a ton of military credits towards that degree. Here's where due diligence can help you. If one college doesn't accept your military credit, (they generally do, since many have agreements with the military just like they have credit transfer agreements with other accredited schools) take that transcript and send it through another school. They may accept it. Two different transcript offices can interpret that same data two different ways. Once you have the credit with that school, transfer it back to the original school you were going through. Military credits are confusing for most transcript offices, they just don't know how to correlate experience to classes. It is much easier for them to understand credit transfers based on credits from another school. If that doesn't work and the University or college is nearby, have a chat with the professor in the course you are trying to earn credit in. They are pretty reasonable. This earned me 9 credits I would have otherwise been denied. If you need further explanation on credits and transferring them, let me know.

    -if you plan on taking classes after you exit the military, get your MGIB extended now. For 600 dollars you can increase your monthly MGIB payout by nearly $400/mo. Currently the MGIB pays $1070 a month for a full time student (set to go up to $1140 this month). If you do the $600 kicker, it goes to $1470/mo. Believe me, if your a college student outside the military thats a huge difference. Not to mention that carries over the full 36 months of your MGIB life. $600 for total of over $14k more, thats simple math for me.

    -find out who your units college coordinator is and have a chat with them, to see what options are available. However, if yours is as lackluster as my first college coordinator was, two options are available. First you can take over the position like I did. Again it looks good on the evals and you get a inside look on how the program works. 2nd, you can just go straight to your base college office. Mine was extremely helpful. They have more info on college programs then you can shake a stick at.

    -if a degree is not what your after, look into tech school. The military pays for those as well. Whether your still in or not. Heck, when I landed my first job after I got out, it was at a coal plant. On the job training counted with the MGIB. That was an extra $600 a month.

    I could rant all day on the benefits of a degree while your in, but my biggest reason why, its to easy not to do it. If you have any questions, please ask.


    edit: I forgot to add. There is a growing community within this forum of active duty and vets. Lets work together and make things happen. Its really makes me happy to see so many working to better themselves.
     
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  3. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    The answer to the question really depends on your long-term goals.

    If you envision yourself as some corporate VP or CEO, I'd say college is a must.

    However, if you see yourself owning a business serving millions, college isn't quite required.

    I went to college for 5 years and received 2 BS degrees. I don't use them much. However, what college did for me was taught me concepts not taught in school: Discipline, time management, relationship skills, networking, teamwork, independence -- truly valuable tools in anyone's skill set.

    Positive side effects of college
    1) More well-rounded education
    2) Time management skills
    3) Discipline
    4) Networking
    5) Increased, albeit marginal, earning power in job market.
    6) Offers safety net


    Some negative side effects of college:
    1) You become strapped with student loans
    2) You increase your credit card debt (I had $10K+ from books, tuition)
    3) Increased urgency to "get a job" to fight back debt payments
    4) 4 years of brainwashing - preschool for corporate America.
    5) Job = Less time to pursue real goals

    If I had to do it over again, knew what I knew now, I probably wouldn't have gone. 95% of what I've learned in the past 15 years has been self taught; books, internet, magazines. You can buy a college textbook at anytime, study it, and educate yourself.

    My problem with college is the side effects - side effects that can throw you onto the hamster wheel and never get you off.

    So your answer lies in your personal vision for yourself in 5,10,25 years. Answer those questions and your answer to "college" will be answered for yourself.

    There is no right or wrong answer to the question. Good luck!!
     
  4. tbsells
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    tbsells Contributor

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    Excellent post MJ! My side effects of college were:
    1) More well rounded waist
    2) Time wasting skills
    3) Lack of Discipline
    4) Drinking-which is closely realted to networking:cheers:
    5) Increased, albeit marginal, earning power in the job market
    6) Safety net- which thankfully I've never needed:smxA:

    Like MJ said there is no right or wrong answer. It really depends what you want to do. The biggest benefit for me was the realization that I did not want to spend my whole life working for the man. I also think it gives a young person some sense of accomplishment and confidence which is important. Also, it gives someone just starting out in business some credibility with the older more experienced people. It's probably beneficial if you don't get saddled with too much debt. The downside is definitley the brainwashing that makes you think "get a job, get a job, get a job" and the debt that requires you to do that.

    As far as "using" my college education. Its been a long time since I've seen anything related to trigonometry or calculus. Accounting was probably the most beneficial and by far the most boring.
     
  5. BeingChewsie
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    BeingChewsie Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I think it really depends on the degree and what you want to do. My significant other has a law degree. He uses it all the time. It changed the way he thinks and looks at the world. He uses it looking at contracts, structuring businesses, and on and on. You don't have to practice law for it to be valuable and useful.

    I don't regret getting my nursing degree or degree in education, they don't offer opportunity to make a lot of money like a degree in business or law would but you do get to make a difference in the lives of others and that is ultimately most important to me.

    Interestingly I have found the nursing process and applying my assessemnt and analytical skills makes me really good at technical analysis.

    I think it depends entirely on what you want to do.

    Sue
     
  6. WheelsRCool
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    WheelsRCool Contributor

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    Another one I see, Romandad back at LamboPower said the same thing, quoting him about the law degree: "...it taught me to think in different ways, to reason in different ways..." this is making me consider earning a law degree down the line. Sounds like it can come in handy!
     
  7. Andrew
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    Andrew Contributor

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    I walked away from a completely free college degree over half way through.

    There are some very serious downsides to college that simply are not talked about. Besides bad habits (and addictions), college debt is a big negative. There are lots of companies peddling college loans at credit-card level interests rates; combine this with an expensive school and a medium to low earning degree and it is a recipe for financial suicide.

    I don't mention numbers publicly because I can be personally identified, but its fair to say that dropping out paid off big time -- in a matter of 12 months. I enjoyed school, I could go back any time now, and may be I will (but probably not.)

    That being said, not going to college, or dropping out, is for people who know how to make things happen. If you always need someone to lead you by the hand then get a degree because you will need it. Just be sure to run the numbers so you get a degree that is advantageous to your financial future.
     
  8. WheelsRCool
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    If you go to college:
    1) DO NOT GO TO AN EXPENSIVE SCHOOL IF YOU CAN GET THE SAME DEGREE AT A MUCH CHEAPER SCHOOL. Only go to an expensive school if the school is expensive because it has the advanced engineering facilities for example that your degree requires, where if you graduate from that school, it will really help you get hired.

    If you are majoring in something like mathematics for example, better to get the first few years at a community college, then a cheaper school. Many college professors at expensive schools are actually plucked by said schools from cheaper community colleges to come work for them, so it's not like you will necessarily find a lower quality of professors at community colleges then at expensive schools.

    2) Choose a degree that actually will help you make money (if you are going to school for a career). For example, DO NOT go to an expensive engineering school, taking on huge debt, and majoring in something like Peace Studies!
     
  9. dhuang
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    dhuang New Contributor

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    Right now I'm attending a very rigorous engineering school... out of state. That means I'm spending up to 30k a year for school. Luckily, it's my parent's money, but given that they are Asian, they'll probably stab my eyes out with chopsticks if I try to drop out or anything of the sort. I also don't like the idea of them paying for MY degree.

    Each and everyday, I am closer and closer to just taking a break from school and getting my startup off the ground. I'm also diving into affiliate marketing to help start fund my tuition fees.

    Again, I agree with many of the things mentioned in this thread. Network, Network, and Network. Think about people like Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. If the two of them didn't meet, there wouldn't be a Microsoft or Google today. I met an outstanding person last year, sadly, he's doing nondegree-seeking at another college (GPA reasons) for the time being, but he started an IT company at the age of 15 or so, and has been an absolute inspiration to me. That's the kind of people you want to network with - Bright minds who have the drive to accomplish or have accomplished amazing things.
     
  10. randallg99
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    randallg99 Bronze Contributor

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    I think education is important and my long winded philosophy hammers the fact that Americans are much too complacent about expanding their horizons. Rational and critical thinking process is a very important skill that can be learned but oh so few people even engage in it...

    Get an education, learn, expand horizons, see places, read books, listen carefully....
     
  11. GoldenEggs
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    I agree with the points that other people have made previously. Although I am not using my degree right now, I enjoyed the experience.

    I must be one of those nerds who loved college! I lived on campus and enjoyed it. I was also active in student government in the residence halls and worked as an intern for the president of my university. Student government exposed to me a variety of people and I was forced to think outside the box. I had opportunities to attend national conferences to work on issues that sudents faced. As an intern to the president, I was able to meet other university officials and I saw both sides of the university. I learned how not to compromise yourself or your position. I learned how to work with people I could not stand but had promising ideas. I learned when to bite my tongue when it counted and when I needed to speak up.

    For me, all that went away when I went to "work". I ended up being a cog in a machine.
     
  12. czach41
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    czach41 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Also, I agree with the majority of the points made in the previous posts. I am in my senior year at an out of state college.
    My personal opinion: you get out of college things like networking, self confidence, independence, maturity, time management, self-discipline, and a lifetime of memories.
    However, everyday while I am in class, I am thinking to myself: how is this information relevant to my path to financial freedom?
    I had no idea what I wanted out of life three years ago, so I declared history as my major and a minor in journalism (I'm a pretty decent writer). Anyways, I get so disgusted sitting in class. For example, in my media ethics (seriously, am I really learning about media ethics when I should be educating myself about money?) The teacher is talking about preparing yourself for the real world... "for your job". I sit there and mutter to myself some words I shall not repeat.
    Basically, I am in a dilemma. So close to graduating with my history degree. I will not be pursuing a "job" out of college. I am not even going to interview when all of the companies come to campus. So my $100,000,000 question I ask myself is this: what am I doing here? Is my media ethics, Roman Republic, Latin American Revolutons Class helping me find great investments, find financing for them, and closing? And if so, why am I still here putting my parents into debt (they are kind enough to pay my tuition for which I am very grateful) when the information they are paying so much for is ultimately on the path to put me into debt (teachers don't make a lot of money unfortunately)?
    My conclusion: college is great in the sense that you meet a lot of people, you grow up, you gain confidence to do things you never thought to do before, you gain people skils, you network, you learn time management skills, etc. Basically, all the benefits I have taken from college have been centered around interaction with others - NOT what I have been learning in the academic classroom.
     
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  13. Buddha
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    I agree with everything above but, if your working full time and going to school then the interactions with others isn't as big a point. Im surprised at how many people live on campus. The main point for me attending college is to get a decent $ job so I can get decent capitol to make my own $$$$$$$$$$
     
  14. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Speed++ for understanding the college trap - understanding it can help you avoid it.
     
  15. czach41
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    Buddha - you bring up a good point.

    "The main point for me attending college is to get a decent $ job so I can get decent capitol to make my own $$$$$$$$$$"

    I agree with you 100% on that. I have thought about that aspect many times. However, I think I have come to a conclusion for that question. I highly doubt that I, as a history major with a 2.8 GPA, would be able to land a decent paying job which would allow me to allocate surplus funds for investing.
    Because of this, I have been looking into, and have decided, to pursue a direct sales opportunity. The income potential is astounding compared to a fixed rate of say, 35k per year (job). If i have the possibility of generating amounts of money in a single month comparable to what I would make my first year out of college in a j-o-b, then does it make sense for me to continue to pursue the degree when I could instead pursue ventures which can make me a heck of a lot more money? Once again, I am totally in line with your point. I view my job (if I ever have one) as a means to create capitol to invest. That is all it is. So if I can raise more capitol doing something unrelated to my degree and the job it would get me, should I still pursue that degree knowing I will be doing direct sales to raise capitol to invest once I graduated college?
     
  16. Bilgefisher
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    All great points in this thread. I am glad its staying civil. I think this is a topic that could get heated very quickly.

    I do agree this is a strong incentive for many, and college does contribute to this. For the OP, I think its a mute point. The military has probably helped him achieve all of this. I don't think its absolutely necessary for him to earn it, but I think it would be a waste not to, its just to easy to do while your serving. I think the reward exceeds the time and money in this case. For some one directly out of high school the reward to money and time is much much smaller.

    czach, its funny you mention sitting through class frustrated. I felt exactly the same way while I attended CSU. On a side note: I bet your media ethics class has been very interesting in the last couple of weeks after the collegian incident.
     
  17. kelrash
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    You made a good point Bilgefisher about being in the military. That's why it kind of makes it harder on me to decide.
     
  18. Jason_MI
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    Hmmm....all very good points. So let me add what I see is the most important caveat to whether or not you go to college. Like anything and everything else in life or love, you get out of college what you put into it. I'm not necessarily talking the time and money; I'm talking the effort and the love of learning. Yes, you can get into debt, get fat, waste time, and in short, waste the experience. Or you can learn about life, about making choices, about understanding choices and how you are in charge of them. Going to college for me was never a black and white idea of "college and a job or not"; it was about learning, and then applying that learning.....and I certainly don't mean the stuff you learn in books, but about how to take advantage of life. Think about it.
     
  19. Buddha
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    in response to czach41, I used to be a music major in school, probably would have ended up being a hs music teacher at about 30k a year. Then I decided that I would rather (eventually) do things my own way, so I decided to change my major to accounting. This has a two fold affect of giving me more of an opportunity to make better $ in a j.o.b. after school, and also what I learned in school and at the job should help me in my own business endeavors. Wether or not you choose to continue seeking the degree is up to you, I found that I can still enjoy music alot even though I am not a music major, becuase majoring in music led to stress and lack of focus on other things, now I can just enjoy it :)
     
  20. S928
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    The way I see it, only you can determine whether school will play a role in your success. Since you have the luxury of going to school and your employer pays all of the tuition, you can wisely take classes with subjects that interest you; of course, use school to your advantage, you'd be a fool otherwise.
     
  21. biophase
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    Me and my college buddies talk about our college experience all the time. It's been 15 years since we've all graduated and we all agree that college is a great experience. We all lived in the dorms a few years and then apartments away from our parents for the first time at 18.

    I actually am taking classes in college again. Why? To learn stuff!!! Yes, I go there to learn now. This is a far departure from when I went to college at 18 and was there to get the grade.

    Example: In college before all I cared about was the grade. Performing memorizations of dates and events, remembering math formulas, or copying off of friends was all I cared about. If I got an "A" who cared if I really didn't understand the question? I was there for one goal, to get my degree.

    In college now, I couldn't care less about grades. What does getting an "F" in a college class do now? It goes on my transcript which nobody has looked at for 15 years. I go to college to learn. All I do is sit in class and listen, understand. I don't do homework or study for tests. But I bet I understand the stuff taught in class more than 80% of the students in there.

    One of the biggest things about college is the campus life. You watch NCAA football and basketball and look at the crowd and you'll get a small glimpse of how fun and crazy college life can be.

    Yes, college is expensive and the return on investment may or may not be worth it. You can probably get financially set quicker in life without college if you're smart. Looking at college as an investment, I probably wouldn't go again if I were 18. However, looking at it as a 4 year vacation (it really is a vacation compared to the real world) inbetween high school and the real world... I wouldn't give it up for the world.

    One more thing in response to czach41 about those useless class you are taking today. I took Classic Civilization, Geography, etc... all those required electives and thought the same thing during them, I should be taking more engineering classes. But guess what, those are exactly the classes that I take now. I don't need Theoretical Applied Mechanics 250 now, but a good European History or Greek Mythology class will do wonders for me when I go to Europe to vacation in a few years.
     
  22. hakrjak
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    hakrjak Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    A few random thoughts --

    For me, I think whether or not to attend college depends largely on your age, and what you plan to do with your life. A lot of us have used our "day job" to fund our side businesses, and in the Kiyosaki model to "mind our own business". Landing a good day job is not all bad, as long as you recognize that it's a temporary means to an end.

    For a lot of the reasons specified in previous posts, I reco going to college to any kid out of high school or under the age of about 25. The #1 reason I've found that you should attend college right out of high school was: Nobody is going to give you a good paying job until you get older anyway, so you might as well learn something in the meantime, and it will keep you out of trouble.

    Don't focus too much, but instead concentrate on becoming a well rounded individual. Take all kinds of electives from English Lit to Anthropology, to History, Politics, etc... Take a Tennis Class, Golf, and maybe a Ski-ing class if it's offered at your school -- and increase your breadth of knowledge about the world in general. Enjoy the whole College Experience, from going out and getting drunk at the social functions, to taking advantage of seeing productions by the theater and music departments. Do your best not to get anybody pregnant, or visa versa during this whole journey. :)

    When you're done, you'll always be glad you have that degree in your back pocket. Don't bother with grad school unless you are going into one of those focussed professions like Law or Medecine, otherwise you'll end up burried in debt and chained to a medium level job for the rest of your life.

    Best of luck,

    - Hakrjak
     
  23. hakrjak
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    hakrjak Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    I agree 100%.... When you can actually communicate with people and talk like a grown up about history or literature, etc -- it goes a long way at cocktail parties, and on the golf course. When you attain a certain level of success, people get tired of hanging around with idiots and losers. In my opinion those elective classes are more important than the concentration courses, because they help make you a complete person -- not just a gearhead or geek, etc

    - Hakrjak
     
  24. czach41
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    czach41 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Haha, I absolutely love it. I actually had a long conversation with my father two days ago. I basically told him how I felt, and I was thinking about taking a semester off to focus on getting started. Now, the only reason he can afford to put me through school is because of the assets he owns, which he purchased about five years ago! That is relevant because he totally understands where I am coming from. He knows the trap with degrees and all that good stuff. So, we basically came to the conclusion that I am just going to get this done, NOT strive to get A's; basically I am going to cruise through the rest of my academics (not failing.. just not excelling.) He wants me to finish, get that damn degree so I can move on and get on with my life. All the while, that time that I don't spend working on a thesis statement goes towards educating myself on REI, networking with people in my area, and possibly taking action while I am still in school :) Seriously, college really is a four year vacation. The only reason I am eager to leave it is because I want to bust my a$$ for 10 years so I can go on a permanent 40 year vacation. :smx6:
     
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  25. djs13
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    djs13 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Yeah I agree. I'm a junior in high school and I'm in that point in my life where my parents are all college-college-college, SAT-SAT-SAT. I have about an 80 GPA and that is perfect for me. I honestly don't try that hard because high shool is a joke. I wing everything and rarely do the work.

    As for college, I'm applying to schools based on the location they are in. I also wouldn't mind a 100-1 girl to guy ratio. :smxB: I honestly think that the business education doesn't differ that much from college to college. I've even heard stories about teachers having jobs at multiple schools which makes each college's program almost the same.

    I plan on partying alot and I really want to buy a two or three apartment house where I can live in one and rent out the others. This way I have cashflow and I can choose who lives with me.

    Right now I'm thinking about Texas or NY. We'll see where I end up...
     
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