You have likely heard your high school teachers or the majority of people you may know encouraging you to go to college. It is in the high school counselor’s interest that you go to college since college placement is their job. Colleges visit high schools to convince students that going to college is the only option. After all, it is in the universities’ interest to have student tuition. The reality is that you have options.


Today, going to college is the last thing anyone should do. It is not worth going into debt to get a fancy piece of paper from an outdated institution that thinks too highly of itself. You learn from a professor who requires you to read outdated books. You learn old programs. You are required to take stupid tests to say you went to college. It could be a waste of your time, attention, and money.


I wasted eight years of my life going to college and graduate school. College and graduate school got me nowhere.


What can you do instead of going to college? You can do five things rather than following the herd and participating in the higher education system.



[bctt tweet=”The five things you can do instead of going to college are: figure out your skills, learn a trade, shadow someone, find an internship, and turn a side hustle into an online business. ” username=”@secure_single”]


What You Can Do Instead Of Going To College


Figure Out Your Skills


Your skills are the most important thing you want to figure out as soon as possible. What hard skills can you master? What do you enjoy doing? You need to know your skills. This will save you time rather than always trying new things, which could save you time. Once you master one skill, you can learn a new one.


You will still be figuring out what you are best at in your twenties. You can try new things until you decide what you enjoy doing and what comes most naturally to you. You don’t want to distract yourself by becoming a master of none by learning skills only on a surface level that you most likely will never use again. Learn one thing you enjoy doing. Master it. Move on.


Hard skills are the most critical to learn. Employers care the most about hard skills.


[bctt tweet=”You want to start making money as soon as possible. You will then be able to save, invest, and plan for your future.” username=”@secure_single”]


Learn A Trade


The trades have been destroyed because everyone has been told college is the only route to a promising career. The trades are still around, but fewer people are going into them because many people bought the lie that going to college is the way to a promising career. If you are good with your hands and enjoy working on things, consider going into a trade. You could attend a trade school, which is only two years compared to two years. Compared to book knowledge, you will also learn a hard skill that employers will pay you forward.


Some current trades that are in demand are:

  • Plumber
  • Construction
  • Electrician
  • Elevator mechanic
  • Car mechanic
  • Boilermaker
  • HVAC technician
  • Rotary drill operator
  • Home and building inspector
  • Power plant operator
  • Nuclear technician
  • Industrial mechanic
  • Truck driver
  • CAD drafter
  • Landscape architect


Note: some of these may require you to get a college degree. You will probably still need to get a certification. Check the job descriptions. Talk to anyone who works a job or position that interests you.

Shadow Someone


Do you know someone doing something you find interesting or think you may enjoy doing? You can ask the person you may see if you can shadow them. They may tell you “no.” But they may be intrigued that someone thinks what they do is interesting, not dull. They will need to check with the boss, and the company they work for is giving you a final answer. If they tell you “yes,” consider it an opportunity to learn firsthand what skills are required for a job.


Be sure to ask them what the dress code is like where they work. Depending on the company and the line of work, it could be anywhere from casual to business professional. You may also be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) form that legally prohibits disclosing anything about the company’s internal operations before you can officially shadow the person. This is to protect the business.




An internship is another option. You may be able to find an unpaid or paid internship. It will depend on the company’s industry. An internship will be a step up from shadowing someone. Most internships are only a few months to maybe a year.


You’ll be able to look online to see what internships are available near you. There may be some companies that are looking for interns. If you know of small to medium-sized businesses lacking someone in a position that could benefit the business, you could always email the company and ask to start as an intern. You could get hired if the firm finds your skills valuable and can afford to pay you after testing your skillset.


This could be a strategy to create your position within a business. You could make your opportunity within a company if you offer the business skills it needs in the current economy. You will need to prove your worth first to the business.


Turn A Side Hustle Into An Online Business


While you could work a regular side hustle like driving for Uber or delivering food for Grubhub, you can’t turn that into an online business. You could learn some skills, pass an online certification (depending on the skill), then provide services on Fiverr or Upwork. Fiverr and Upwork are the two most well-known freelancing websites. You could make some money as a freelancer while you learn new skills.


Other side hustles you could do to start a website, substack, YouTube channel, write a book or e-book, affiliate marketing, find ways to create passive income streams, and build an online business. There is no one correct way to build an online business. You’ll need to know your strengths, skillset, then focus on developing those. In the beginning, it will only be you. Once you have revenue coming into your business, you can hire contractors and freelancers to do the work you are not good at doing or don’t enjoy.


[bctt tweet=”A business is the most powerful asset that anyone can have. It is a real asset. You won’t learn that in college.” username=”@secure_single”]




You have many more options than society presents to you. Society only offers one option to drive you toward its false solution. College is that one option. College is not worth going into debt for. You have other options where you could start to make money sooner and even make more than most college graduates, depending on the degree.

Views expressed in this article are the author’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of Secure Single. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not investment or financial advice. James Bollen is the author of Thriving Solo: How to Flourish and Live Your Perfect Life (Without A Soulmate). Now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Subscribe to Secure Single’s Substack for free!
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James Bollen is the Founder and President of Secure Single. He is an entrepreneur and a content creator with the goal of helping all different types of singles to learn to thrive as a single person.
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