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Editorial: The entrepreneur’s case for college

Everywhere you look, it seems like college dropouts are building massive Fortune 500 companies and chic startups; however, this is misleading. The reality is that most successful entrepreneurs have a college degree – and you should consider pursuing one, too.

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The exceptions, not the rule

Everywhere you look, it seems like college dropouts are building massive Fortune 500 companies and chic startups; however, this is misleading. The reason is that you never hear successful founders or CEOs referred to as “college graduates.” The media only picks up on “college dropouts.” The reality is that most successful entrepreneurs have a college degree – and you should pursue one, too.

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The benefits of obtaining a college degree

For many high school seniors across the country, the idea of going to college is pretty much a given. However, in the face of rising costs, looming student loan debts, and the inspiration of successful dropouts, many who would otherwise attend college are rethinking their options. It’s always good to evaluate a major life choice, but don’t forget the following benefits of obtaining a college degree.

  1. Initial Job Opportunities

In most cases, an entrepreneur gets his start by working for a business and then branching off on his own. While you may not need a college degree for the latter, you’ll probably need one to land an initial job opportunity.

“You’ll find that many organizations, especially huge companies that are loaded down with institutional bureaucracy, are bound by hard-and-fast educational requirements for their posted jobs,” writes IT professional Tim Warner. “These requirements often can’t be bypassed even if you do know the right person or people inside the organization.”

If for nothing else, it’s wise to obtain a college degree so that you can get your foot in the door and launch your career. Think of it as a spark. A spark may not provide the warmth of a fire, but it’s what gives the fire a start.

  1. Networking

Going to college isn’t just about sitting in a classroom, passing exams, and getting a diploma. Even more valuable than the classroom experience is the chance you get to rub shoulders with experienced professors and likeminded peers. This networking aspect of college will help you for years to come.

  1. School Resources

Depending on the school and program you enroll in, you may be able to leverage your school’s resources to jumpstart your career in entrepreneurship. Some schools provide students with career centers, internship opportunities, access to incubators and accelerators, and training programs. These can help you get a taste of the “real world” while you’re still in school.

  1. Backup Plan

Unfortunately, entrepreneurship doesn’t always work out. Startups fail, ideas flounder, and bigger corporate jobs sometimes call your name. Even if you’re 100 percent set on starting your own business, a college degree is something valuable you can stick in your back pocket. Should your plans fail or change, you can rest assured knowing there’s an alternative path available.

Top colleges for entrepreneurship in 2016

If you want the best of both worlds, why not get a degree in entrepreneurship? This allows you to maximize your time in school while simultaneously moving in the right direction.

For undergraduates, the top schools for entrepreneurship in 2016 include Babson College, Brigham Young University, the University of Houston, Baylor University, and Northwestern University.

For graduates, the top programs are found at Harvard University, Babson College, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and Northwestern University.

Don’t fall for the dropout myth

Can college dropouts and those who avoid higher education altogether enjoy entrepreneurial success? Absolutely. However, these people are the exception to the rule. In the majority of instances, successful entrepreneurs go to school, learn from the experience, leverage the credibility of a degree, and then launch successful careers. Don’t fall for the myth that college is a waste of your time. As we’ve discussed, it can be beneficial for a multitude of reasons.

#EntrepreneursAndCollege

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. When he’s not consulting, glued to a headset, he’s working on one of his many business projects. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Opinion Editorials

Our five faves for Friday – almost Thanksgiving edition

(EDITORIAL) This week, I have so many faves that I can barely keep it at just five – Unicorns, gophers, tears, science nerdery, and rebellions, oh my!

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I heard a rumor that it’s Friday again, so today we share with you five of the neato-est things that we came across this week – some silly, some serious, all awesome.

1. Brands refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day

It started with retailers opening early on Black Friday, then opening at midnight on Thanksgiving Day, and now retailers are expected to force their staff to work instead of enjoy a bajillion-ish year old American tradition.

But some companies are pushing back, publicly refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day, so even though our home doesn’t care about Black Friday, we’ll be giving some business to those taking a stand.

2. I need you to know about my favorite tv show ever

So there’s nothing new about this, but since you’ve never heard from ME on a Friday Faves roundup, I really need you to know something about me – I have a lot of natural curiosities and history (when not told in a dusty way) fascinates the hell out of me.

Unearthed on the Science Channel is friggen amazing and literally EVERY episode has taught me something that I didn’t know before (like the one about Stonehenge included new discoveries that change how we think about how humans used to operate – seriously mindblowing stuff). All of the episodes are available online, yo, so get to nerding!

3. No one has bought me a Pony Cycle yet

One of the only email newsletters I actually open is The Grommet – they feature independent makers’ inventions and wares, and I’m all about supporting the little guy.

But I posted this insanely amazing Pony Cycle on my Facebook timeline this week with a request that someone buy me one. Guess what? No takers. My friends are monsters. I mean it comes in horse, unicorn (dibs), and zebra, why not buy me one or three?

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4. Video that made me cry

After the recent earthquake hit Iran, there has been a deep need for food for the victims. Watch this video (my fave part is the pat pat on the back) and try to tell me that hate isn’t something we’re taught… also, I’m not crying, you are…

5. My favorite gif of this week

If you know me, you know I love gifs more than the average person. So when I came across this one, I knew I had to award it my fave of the week…

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Opinion Editorials

Is your job inadvertently harming your health?

(EDITORIAL) We often get so consumed with our work that we unknowingly hurt ourselves in the process. Learn how to keep this from happening.

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health at work

With the changes in seasons, we tend to put more of an emphasis on our health. This makes sense as flus and colds have a tendency to run rampant around the holidays.

However, we should be more mindful of keeping track of our health throughout the year. And, given that our jobs are such a large part of our lives, it is important to keep in mind that our jobs can have an affect on our health. Which can often be a bad thing.

For most of us, we are in the same space for eight hours of our day. Sometimes we think that just because it’s ourselves occupying that space, things can’t really get germy. Well, think again.

We have so many things that we touch on a daily basis – our keyboard, mouse, phone, ID badge, etc. These have a tendency to become a house for germs, which can hurt us as time goes on.

Combat this by setting aside some time each week to disinfect all of your most-used items. Also, consider keeping some hand sanitizer at your desk.

Getting up to clean around your office can help take care of another issue – being too sedentary throughout the day. Sometimes we get so consumed with plugging away at our computers that we forget to get up and stretch.

This can be harmful to your weight and your circulation. Keep the blood flowing by getting up and moving a bit every hour or so.

The mindfulness of your health should not stop at the physical, but should also involve keeping an eye on mental health. Your job plays a big part in this as well.

First of all, you start and end your day with a commute. For some, this can be incredibly strenuous – expensive, traffic-filled, etc.

This has been known to lead to depression. Try filling this time with positivity and fulfillment by listening to a quality podcast or an audio book. This will help to give meaning to otherwise wasted time.

The most important thing to monitor with your mental health is making sure to not overwork yourself. It can be difficult to find that perfect work/life balance, but it’s necessary for a happy and healthy life.

Try staying away from work emails and texts after a certain time of the day on weekdays or on the weekends. Think about it this way – you’re not supposed to tend to your personal business during work hours, so why let work interfere with your personal time?

All of this can be helped by checking in with yourself every once in a while, or even by using the buddy system and discussing the topic with a work friend.

Lastly, be sure to check with your company to learn about health and wellness programs that may be offered.

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Opinion Editorials

Do literally anything with your money besides buy an iPhone X

(EDITORIAL) The iPhone X is pretty snazzy, but let me express why your money belongs literally anywhere besides in Apple’s pocket for this phone.

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iphone x

The iPhone X is off to a rocky start, beginning with the fact that no one seems to know whether it’s supposed to be pronounced “iPhone Ten” or “iPhone Ex” and working up from there.

If you’re here, you probably don’t need me to tell you that a 5.8-inch OLED screen, facial recognition, 4K recording at 60 FPS, and an all-glass design are superfluous as hell — but just in the off-chance that I’m wrong, THE IPHONE X IS SUPERFLUOUS AS HELL.

Take literally 30 seconds to think about all of the mega-cool features that convinced you to buy your last smartphone, then think of the last time you used even half of those features without feeling compelled to do so. If you’re one of those people who uses all of the filters on the camera every day, fine, but I’m willing to bet that you just use your phone for Facebook, texting, and calling your grandma.

You don’t need a 5.8-inch, all-glass, basically-a-tablet-of-a-phone to do those things, but if money doesn’t mean anything to you, be my guest.

It’s also worth noting that there is a certain point at which “really fast” and “really, really fast” feel identical to one another. My personal experience with this phenomenon was with the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8; it doesn’t matter how fast your newest processor is if the last one was fast enough.

Apple has a long history of publicly executing things that people are still using. While it’s hard to be too mad about the headphone jack, they hit a soft spot when they nixed ethernet ports—and, more recently, USB 3.0 ports—and the most recent dissident to fall victim to Apple’s indiscriminate chopping block is the Home button.

Yeah, that thing that make the iPhone usable in the first place? Not there anymore. Worse still, the simple display is now flooded with different shortcut hotspots. For example, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center — no, wait, that’s how you get home. You swipe from the top-right corner of the screen to open the Control Center, while the top-left corner opens the notifications screen that — hey, are you writing this down?

To make matters worse, Apple added a bunch of different contextual shortcuts to the physical buttons on the sides of the iPhone X, further reducing accessibility. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Is the iPhone X necessary? Absolutely not. Is it neato? Sure.

But is it worth your time if you’ve got dollar bills to blow? Again, absolutely not — do literally anything else with that money, up to and including burning it. As long as Apple continues to ignore the issues that plague their devices in favor of broken facial recognition and 3D emoji animation, consider spending your money elsewhere.

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