Do You Really Need to Go to College? + The One Thing I Actually Learned There

Some people ask if I went to school for photography. The answer is no. I went to UCLA and majored in International Development.

The only piece of information I remember learning in class that I still remember today is the definition of the word “Albedo.” I’m serious. I learned it in a geography class and thought it was a fun word to say. AL-BEE-DO.

This is what I really got out of attending college:

1.  I learned to love reading.  This is huge because as a kid, I hated reading. With thousands of pages we had to read and highlight, somehow I learned to love it.

2.  I learned how to apply myself.  Tuition money is on the line. There is pressure. College provides a structure where you pass or fail. Apply yourself for 4 years and you get a prize at the end. Now I know it’s only a chance to walk across the stage in a funny hat to receive a piece of paper but still, a prize! I had pressure to apply myself.

This is what college doesn’t teach you:

College doesn’t teach you life skills. It doesn’t teach you what kind of career you would truly enjoy. It doesn’t teach you how to live a fulfilling life. How to be emotionally intelligent. How to be happy. I think you learn the important things not in school, but by traveling the world and interacting with different people. By spending time with your friends and family.

I went to college because it was important to my parents. I used to get annoyed that they wanted me to get a formal education because I didn’t understand why. Things are different now because we have the Internet. Anyone has access to any information as long as you can get online. Values are also different. Unless you are a doctor, no one cares what credentials you have. All they care is if they like and trust you.

A couple years ago I found my dad’s acceptance letter to the University of New Brunswick and got teary. I’m super proud of my parents and can’t imagine how hard it was for them to come to the states and achieve what they did. I look at old photos and see how getting a formal education lit them up the same way doing photo shoots and traveling the world lights me up. I get to do what I do because of them.

I would love to hear your thoughts! What did you get from attending (or not attending) college?

P.S. Albedo: the proportion of the incident light or radiation that is reflected by a surface. Easier definition: The reflectivity of a surface. Snow has a high albedo while grass has low.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu