At the end of my freshmen year I dropped out of college.
It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
It all started in 2004. I had just graduated from high school and I was looking forward to going to college. Like millions of other kids I was pursuing a degree in business and marketing. Also, like other kids I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but I knew that business and marketing would somehow fit into my overall life plan.
In the fall of 2005 I began to notice that things were changing, in business, education and in the economy. It wasn't something that was widely discussed in the media or amongst the general public, but I felt it.
High speed wireless Internet (DSL) had just gone mainstream and eCommerce was beginning to be adopted by the masses. This opened up a world of opportunity for entrepreneurs. No longer did you have to get a loan and set up a brick and mortar shop to start and run a business.
In-between school and work I began teaching myself web design and online marketing.
Through the course of the next 9 years I would continue to perfect my skills and build upon new ones as new trends in business and marketing evolved.
This process of identifying new skills and adding them to my repertoire would serve as a master plan for success.
Despite not having a college degree, my method of higher education has allowed me to obtain endless business and job opportunities, even during The Great Recession. I've worked for Fortune 100 businesses and have achieved success as an entrepreneur, proving that a college degree is no longer as necessary as it once was to achieve success.
My story represents a dramatic culture shift in higher education, the value (or lack thereof) it has with employers in this day and age, and the lens we look through when defining education.
Before I go any further, it's important to emphasize that many professions still require a college degree. I don't know about you but I do not want my doctor to be self-taught.
As it pertains to the value of a college degree to employers, there is still tremendous value, but it only gets your foot in the door. It only gives you the opportunity to get a glance at your resume' amongst the pile of other suitable applicants.
The issue with college graduates is that they're trained to think inside of a box. This is proven by the rigid architecture in our entire education system that forces students to take certain courses that most will never apply in their life or in their careers, ie. Physics, Calculus, Algebra, Geometry etc.
Instead of focusing on a child's aptitude at an early age and pushing them toward a career path with courses that are tailor-made for their future careers, we push a 1,000 year-old anecdotal non-sense belief-system that encourages students to waste time taking courses to become more "well-rounded."
Well-rounded no longer works and it's the reason why Millennials are unemployed, underemployed and headed for disaster.
Businesses no longer have any desire or need for well-rounded employees. The world moves too fast nowadays. What businesses need are people with a very specialized skill-set and this is where college has failed us.
A college education, depending on your major never provides a student with a specialized skill-set. College also never informs students that graduation isn't the end, but only the beginning. It's where your true education starts, because in the real world we live in today, you will have to learn and re-learn new skills to maintain a job every six months to a year. As time marches forward, this timeframe will narrow even further.
Given the new reality of the real world, the question then becomes, "how do you get a job when a degree no longer has the value it once did?"
The answer is simple. You must create a job. Reach out to businesses and offer to work for free to establish your resume'. Line up as many businesses as you can with the intent of working your butt off so you can get great reference letters. Do this for 1 - 2 years and you'll be swimming in job opportunities.
If you're wondering how you're going to find time to work for free and pay your bills, this answer is also simple. Move in with your parents, downsize your lifestyle, watch less tv and work on the weekends. That's what I did. No one ever said success would come easy.
As I analyze my life thus far and my successes, I'm driven to tell my story to others because I'm no better than anybody else.
My successes haven't come as a result of luck. They came as a result of a well-architectured yet simple plan.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that my story can be duplicated. Rather you graduate from college, drop-out of college or choose not to attend at all, what's important is understanding the true definition of education, as this word has been hi-jacked by the institutions of so-called higher learning.
An education and a higher education more specifically isn't rooted in attended a college university. Education has evolved. An education is simply the way you go about perfecting your skills and knowledge for your career.
There are many paths to an education. Choose wisely.
Michael Price is the author of "What Next The Millennial's Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the Real World" now available at whatnextquest.com. Watch the trailer below: