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The Ultimate Back To College Shopping List



back to college shopping list

Finding what items you need for college can be a pain.

Sometimes you have an item in mind, but you can’t remember what you wanted.

Other times you are in a situation where you don’t know what you need until you need it, and then it’s too late of course.

For example, say your roommate is snoring loud and it’s distracting your late-night studying the day before an important exam. If you don’t have noise cancelling headphones, you could be in trouble.

Or your room is a mess, which hurts your focus and happiness, because you don’t have space and storage. Purchasing bed risers and an under the bed container would fix this issue entirely.

Whatever the case, it’s neither fun to be in an aimless stroll down the aisles of Walmart, Target, or Staples not knowing what to get. Nor is it fun to need something when it’s too late.

Because of this, I researched and put together an extensive back to college shopping list for you.

This list includes the items I appreciated the most in my college days, envied when I saw other students with them, or would put on my back to college shopping list if I went to school again. 

Basically, you can’t go wrong with getting any of the 23 things below to improve your college experience. And a good chunk of these items are just as useful in the real world.

So this could be a general shopping list almost as much as it’s a back to college shopping list. Plus, these items are worth a small investment because most of them will keep their value for years later after you graduate.

To make things easy for you, I linked each item to where you can find it on Amazon. (Isn’t Amazon great? How did people live without it?)

Back To College Shopping List

1. HDMI cable

When you want to have a chill night watching Netflix with your friends, a HDMI cord that connects your laptop to the tv is a lifesaver. HDMI cords are also useful when watching pirated movies and tv shows from the internet (I know it happens and I’m not judging you).

2. Noise cancelling headphones

You don’t need to go all out and get Beats By Dre Headphones. But, I’ve found that a quality set of noise cancelling headphones can make the difference in focused studying rather than distracted studying. Depending on the size of the headphones, they can also boost your exercise at the gym. I would go as far as to say that it’s the best item on this back to college shopping list.

3. Night light

Are you the kind of person who does homework and studies on their bed late at night? If so, I know a night light would help you study while allowing your roommate to sleep with the lights off. A happy roommate is a happier life in college. I like the one I linked to because it has a clip that clamps on laptops, bed frames, and more.  

4. Toiletry bag

Guys especially go to the bathroom in the wrong fashion. They make their life harder by carrying bathroom supplies in their bare hands or in a plastic bag. Then place their razors and toothbrush on the nasty sink where everyone puts their dirty hands. Or they waste time going back and forth from the bathroom to their room because they don’t have a toiletry bag to carry everything in one trip. That’s why making a small investment in a toiletry/travel bag will save yourself the hassle.

5. Shower shoes

Some of the items on this list are more nice things to have than essentials. But if you’re living in a dorm with community showers, then shower shoes are a must. You don’t want to risk catching athlete’s foot, ringworm, tinea, or other shower fungi from public showers because you didn’t protect your feet. To save money, you can simply use an old pair of flip flops, which is what I did during my dorm life.

6. Bed risers

Bed risers are the role players that don’t get much credit but make a significant contribution to your room. Since square feet is hard to come by in dorm rooms and college house rooms, bed risers allow you to max out the floor space under your bed by storing items. This actually can make a huge difference in making your room feel bigger. And bed risers work well with the next item on this back to college shopping list.

7. Underbed storage

I complimented my bed risers with an under bed storage container. This box held my winter clothes during fall and spring, and vice versa when the seasons changed. This way I simply switched clothes with the change in weather and didn’t have to rent a storage room or go home to do it. You can also fit a ton of other things in these under bed boxes.

8. Memory Foam mattress

If your college is anything like mine, the dorm comes with a mattress but it’s a piece of crap and not comfortable. The Memory Foam mattress is a huge upgrade and relieves pressure points all over your body. This item is probably more of a luxury than a necessity, but getting quality sleep is extremely important to being successful in college. So it may very well be more than worth it. (Make sure you get the right size that fits your bed frame.)

9. Memory Foam pillow

A quality mattress can only go so far, so finish the job with this glorious Memory Foam pillow. This pillow helps you sleep by relaxing your head, neck, and shoulders in a comfortable position. Your sleep and I both highly recommend this pillow!

10. Pop up hamper

Those walks from your room to the laundry room can be annoying if you don’t have the right hamper. My favorite hampers are the pop up ones because they’re reliable, don’t take up much space, and are lightweight. But maybe its best feature is its ability to fold down and collapse for easy transportation.

11. Air freshener

College rooms are some of the worst smelling spaces I’ve ever encountered. From those who forego laundry for a month, leave food in the trash for weeks, or have people across the dorm making nasty smelling food, it gets gross. Take care of any and all of these orders by getting an air freshener. It doesn’t cost more than $10, and could save you in emergency times when you forgot to do laundry and have to spray your clothes to eliminate odor.

12. Advil / DayQuil and NyQuil

These are the big three for when you’re sick in college. Take Advil for headaches and body pain, or hangovers. Take DayQuil and NyQuil for when you have a cold or the flu. As I mentioned in the introduction of this post, this is one of the items you want to have before you get sick and need it.

13. Backup phone charger

With how often my phone used to run out of battery in college, I made a decision to buy a second phone charger. I keep the original charger in my room, but carried the backup charger in my backpack to charge my phone during class, at the library, or at a friend’s place. I found it made life much easier. Just double check that the charger you purchase is the right one for your phone before getting it.

14. Outlet multiplier

Only a couple of outlets in your room and too many things that require plugs? Get this inexpensive outlet multiplier so you can plug in your phone charger, laptop charger, and something else. When you get this item, you don’t need a bulky power strip cord that you might trip over. I would actually buy two of these outlet multipliers because of its value, but that’s only me.

15. Mini coffee maker

Forget the trips to Starbucks or the campus coffee shop. Use this mini coffee maker with K-cups to get your coffee the minute after you wake up without having to leave your room. For the big coffee drinkers, this item should be at the top of your college shopping list. I’m at around two cups of coffee a day, so I’m all about this item.

16. Personal fan

Situations like the air conditioning unit breaking or the buildings heat being turned up too high are miserable if you don’t have a personal fan handy. The breeze and white noise from a fan is also known to help students sleep at night. For these reasons, a fan is a versatile asset to your room.

17. Personal heater

When the winter turns your room freezing cold and you can’t turn up the heat, let this personal heater get your room warm and cozy. My housemate who lived in the basement swore by his heater tower because the house’s heat rarely reached his room thanks to our ancient college house.

18. Cork bulletin board

A list of your goals for this year, pictures of your friends and family, your class schedule, and important dates all need a place to go in your room. Add a cork bulletin board to your back to college shopping list and you’ll be reminded of what’s important each day. Small reminders can go a long way in staying motivated and following through on your vision.

19. Reusable water bottle

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge fan of drinking water and I actually did a personal challenge to drink 1,400 ounces of water in a week. Anyway, the effects of water are outstanding on your health, energy, and happiness. So having a reusable water bottle is well worth it, and will remind you to drink water when you notice the bottle in your room. Plus, it’s much cheaper to buy a reusable water bottle than buying 200 of the plastic $1 water bottles over the year.

20. Shoe holder

The first culprit of a messy, disorganized room is usually shoes all over the ground. Disorganized shoes everywhere causes problems because you have to waste time cleaning the floor, looking for shoes, or finding room for other things. A shoe rack can fix these problems by providing a place to set your shoes and get organized, which allows you to spend your time doing more important things.

21. Personal blender

If you’re trying to eat for energy and be healthy, you will be obsessed with this personal blender. Throw together some delicious smoothies and shakes in your room. Or if you’re in a rush you can mix some ingredients, blend it, and take the container with you on the go. If only I had this guy in college.

22. Printer

There were many times when the printer in my room saved my butt because I didn’t have time to walk all the way to the campus library to print out my paper. And other times the university printers are down, so I went back to my room and printed my documents for class while people without a printer were freaking out. If you don’t have one already, buy a printer for your college room so you have the flexibility to use it when needed.

23. Amazon Fire

Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu are only three of the hundreds of thousands movies and tv shows available through Amazon Fire. I’ve also heard great things about Chromecast, Apple TV, and Roku. The differences seem to be minor, and solely up to you on what one you choose.

There you have the best back to college shopping list out there! These items improve your entertainment, health, ability to focus, room space and organization, and sleep.

If you’re looking for more college resources on Take Your Success, check out one of the following blog posts:

50 Pieces Of College Advice I’d Tell Myself

Your Survival Guide To Final Exam Week

What To Do When You Fail A Test

Did this back to college shopping list help? What’s your favorite item on this list? Do you have any items that you can’t live without in college? Are you interested in seeing resource posts like this?



How To Choose A Major



how to choose a major


This is a guest post by Euan Swan.

The summer is winding down and transitioning to a new year at college. With a new beginning, comes many new experiences and challenges ahead.

If you are entering college as a freshman this fall, good luck, have fun, and remember – take it easy. Speaking as a junior in college, the last thing you want to do is stress yourself out as soon as you arrive. A good way to transition is to introduce yourself to your neighbors; you’ll be seeing them a lot this coming year.

When engaging in small talk, you will more than likely get asked, “What’s your major?” It seems this is one of everyone’s first questions. While it can be a good conversation starter, it usually gets old fast.

However, discussing your major over and over again helps you reflect if it’s actually right for you. Let me share a story to expand upon what I mean.

My Personal Journey Through Majors

Going into college, I thought I had to have everything together. I thought I had to have my major decided, know which minors I wanted to complete, as well as get involved as much as I could. I quickly realized this mentality stressed me out.

If you to go to university in the U.K. (where I was born), you have to decide your major (even though it isn’t called that over there) you want to pursue, right away. Changing your field of study half way through your program, or even after one semester, is often seen as a sign of inconsistency and looked down upon. Therefore, people who study in the U.K. rarely change their major, if ever.

Now that I attend college at Indiana University in the U.S., I have begun to realize that changing your major multiple times is commonplace.

I was one of these people, and worried if I really wanted to study my first major, marketing.

I took a couple of prerequisite courses for the marketing program before deciding to change my major to finance. I changed it to finance because I started to think what my income would look like after I graduate, and I realized that a career in finance would pay more.

After taking two finance courses, I quickly realized the subject definitely wasn’t my strong suit. Sure if I practiced it, I could get better, and possibly graduate with a finance degree and land a high-paying job. But, I would hate myself. I would be doing something that I didn’t enjoy.

That’s why I decided to change my major back to marketing. I knew that I enjoyed marketing, but wasn’t sure how far a marketing degree could take me. I stayed in the marketing program for some time, but once again I needed a change.

So, I chose to pursue and am currently a management major. I do enjoy marketing, but I felt management suited me better. I have always been the guy to desire a handle on everything, and a management major gives me that satisfaction. I also decided to pursue an entrepreneurship and small business minor, due to my entrepreneurial mindset.

After staying with my major and minor for the past semester, I can now say with certainty that I am set in my decision. Especially after interning for a Fortune 500 company this past summer, I learned that your degree is sometimes just an admission ticket through the door.

Think Of It This Way

Say for example that you graduate from college with a degree in economics. You graduate with a 3.8 GPA. After a year, you can’t find a job where you can implement what you learned in studying economics. You realize that you are really good with people though, so you decide to apply for a human resources position at Company X.

You receive an interview request from Company X and you decide to go for it. Company X enjoys your warm personality and feels you would be a beneficial asset to the company. They decide to take you on.

After your first two weeks of learning the ropes, you are handed your first big project. This project has nothing to do with economics, but instead, will require a lot of interpersonal communication. You can’t use what you’ve learned from your college studies in this project, but what you can use is your work ethic.

In hiring you, Company X saw that you had a high work ethic, due to your high GPA. They also felt that you had a friendly personality. Even though you had an economics degree, Company X knew that you could excel in a human resources position.

That leads me back to my point. Sometimes your degree doesn’t necessarily matter to an employer, as it is just an admission ticket through the door. What matters is whether or not you have a drive to succeed, and at the end of the day, deliver results. Although this kind of hiring mentality may apply to most companies, there are still those firms who adopt a more “knowledge-centric” approach.

For example, if you’re a finance major trying to get a job at PWC or Deloitte, then you will have to have a high work ethic, followed by an impressive resume with a strong educational background. At most other companies though, your degree doesn’t hold as much weight.

Companies want results, and if you can deliver those results, regardless of your college major, then you will find a job, end of story.

You shouldn’t worry about whether or not you chose the right major your first time around. I certainly didn’t!

Choose a major to see if you like it, and if you don’t, you still have time to change it to something else.

That’s something that I like about the American education system. There is so much flexibility in changing your field of study. If you end up not enjoying your major, you have the opportunity to change it. If you do not like it again, you can change it once again.

Keep in mind that your major is not everything these days though. In today’s economy, there are hundreds of thousands of graduates coming out of universities every year. That means the job market for college graduates is saturated. So, a college degree doesn’t guarantee career success.

Back when the figure of graduates was a lot smaller, a degree meant a lot more. That’s why I mentioned earlier that your particular degree doesn’t matter as much as the results that you can deliver.

Choose a major you think you will enjoy in college, but also one that will drive you to work hard.

Make sure that you can leverage the knowledge that you will gain from that major in the real world though.

So, relax, enjoy, and experience all that the college life has to offer you. Let your interests carry your decision on what your final major choice will be, and understand that your final decision doesn’t lock you into a specific job after you graduate.

And you can always go back to school at a place like Excelsia College Online for a postgraduate degree. Don’t sweat this decision too much!

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15 Alternatives To College That Make Complete Sense



Society tells you it only makes sense to go to college. I disagree and argue there are 15 legitimate alternatives to college you should seriously consider.

See the contradiction? A guy who went to college and is the author of How To College tells high school seniors to reconsider automatically going to college.

My main concern is with people who go to college “just because” and don’t have a specific reason behind their decision.

Maybe all of their friends are going, their parents expect that, or society’s beaten them down with the pro-college message that doing anything else seems crazy.

What pisses me off is many times people don’t need college to accomplish their life goals—studies show that around 25% of college grads work at jobs that don’t require a degree—but they sign a four to six year contract because they think they have to and wind up with a mountain of debt.

That’s so messed up!

I’m convinced millions of people would be better off if they followed their passion from the start and never went to college.

So I believe you have to be clear and intentional about why you’re going to college. And if you can’t come up with that, don’t go and instead do something else productive.

Plus the true cost of college is much higher than you think. Let me explain.

The True Cost Of College

Opportunity cost refers to the fact that when you make a decision to take one action you miss a benefit of another action.

In this case, going to college means you miss out on the opportunity to work full-time.

So if you’re total cost of college after tuition, living costs, and books is approximately $40,000 a year, that’s not the true cost of college. If you could have made $25,000 a year working full-time (a low income for many of the non-degree jobs listed below), then your true cost is $65,000.

Got it?

And since the average student spends six years in college—according to Complete College America and the Department of Education—not four, this makes the true cost of college $390,000.

Doesn’t look very good on paper right? That’s because college is plain and simple not a good deal. It’s overpriced and they’ve raised tuition too high.

It makes me sick that some 18 year olds are signing up for college solely on the fact that the media and society say it’s smart, then are stuck paying off debt until they’re 30.

I want to help people see the light that not everyone needs college and they can avoid this depressing plunge into debt.

Take a look at these very enticing alternatives to college.

15 Legitimate Alternatives To College

1. Work a job


Contrary to popular opinion, you can work right away with a high school degree.

All of the following occupations don’t require a college degree and some of them pay extremely well:

  • Commercial pilot
  • Insurance sales rep
  • Medical assistant or secretary
  • Criminal detective
  • Physical trainer
  • Loan officer
  • Massage therapist
  • Graphic designer
  • Web developer
  • Computer coder
  • Optician
  • Casino gaming manager
  • Power plant operator
  • Transportation inspector
  • Personal care aide
  • Subway and streetcar operator
  • Farmer or rancher

Obviously you need the skills for jobs like graphic designer and web developer, for example. But this list goes to show that a college degree doesn’t get in your way for most jobs.

And while your peers are paying to learn in college, you’re getting paid to learn on the job. Looks clear to me that you’re winning that deal.

2. Pursue a creative talent

Fancy yourself acting in the big screen, singing on stage, or killing jokes on a set? The time is now to go for it and skip college.

Because the fact of the matter is that it’s easier to support yourself on this pursuit than while providing for a family later on in life.

So give it all you got to become a professional actor, singer, dancer, comedian, or artist in this window of opportunity.

Spend a year auditioning for as many roles as you can and start small to build your skills.

Hustle your butt off for 18 hours a day. Split a studio with five friends. Fight tooth and nail to make your dream become real.

If it’s needed, move to a place like Los Angeles, Austin, or New York.

College won’t help you nearly as much as you can help yourself in these creative fields.

3. Go to trade school

A trade school education can lead to work in painting, woodwork, locksmithing, landscaping, masonry, locksmith, forestry, construction, welding, and other handyman work.

It’s not sexy, but learning a “blue collar” job through a trade school makes a lot of sense when you look at the numbers.

For example, graduates of trade school make $42,000 on average compared to the $48,000 average salary of college graduates.

But when you consider trade school costs significantly less and it generally takes just two years (meaning two more years to make money), the value is through the roof!

If you’re not already convinced this is a bright option, a Rutgers University study found these trade schools at close to 100% job placements. That’s nothing but impressive.

For many of you reading, you can get a fast start to a successful career through trade school.

4. Start a business

So you want to run your own business someday after majoring in business and then working in a Fortune 500 company? Stop there and hold that thought.

Would you be more experienced and business savvy through hearing lectures or by running your own business? The answer is obvious—lessons are best learned through doing.

I’m also convinced that being an entrepreneur offers these very real benefits. Running your own shop will force you to learn to:

  • Develop your critical thinking skills
  • Master time management
  • Overcome objections and make the sale
  • Treat customers with the utmost respect and politeness
  • Communicate with adults and more diverse people than your friends
  • Strengthen your creative muscle through new business and marketing ideas
  • Network with other entrepreneurs
  • Fail fast and bounce back

Plus thanks to the Internet, it’s never been easier to start a business. Spend $50 to $100 and you’ll have your website up and running.

Then the simple formula to online business success is to find a problem you’re passionate about, solve that problem, and then sell the solution. If the problem affects enough people and is a big enough pain, and your solution is good enough, then you’re in business.

So start small and you will have a chance at starting a thriving business. Don’t try to create the next Facebook, you won’t be able to do it.

And don’t be surprised if your business is profitable or it leads you to a new profitable idea. After all, the guy who sold pet rocks became an online millionaire.

5. Take free online classes


Want an Ivy League education without forking up $200,000 to pay for it? Free online courses are the solution for you.

Online learning sites like Coursera, Harvard Extension, edX, and others have made it cost-free and simple to get your learning on. All you have to do is sign up and you’re getting a world-class education in whatever subject you desire.

This way you’re getting a feel for what subjects you’re passionate about before wasting time paying for college and switching your major four times in your freshman year.

Many 18 year olds could use this extra time before jumping into college. It’s a shame more don’t.

Or you can forgo college altogether by using the knowledge and skills you learned from these classes.

You can use what you learned to pursue another alternative on this list.

If you’re interested, check out this guide to learn how to study at Yale, Harvard, and other top institutions, for free!

6.Travel the world

You could sit in a stuffy building to learn about South American history, or you could forego college and visit Machu Picchu, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires.

Seriously just consider what would happen if you traveled the world for one year.

You’ll learn people skills by meeting other travelers and interacting with locals.

You’ll be tested in your travels to navigate the language barrier and unknown living situation.

Most importantly, being outside your comfort zone traveling will help you build self awareness to discover what areas of life are you passionate about and want to explore further.

And you also avoid any future regret for not going. As time flies and you would normally transition through college, a job, and then kids, you may never get the chance to travel the world for an entire year again.

I recommend you do it now while you’re young (wild) and free.

Now if you’re worried about costs, that’s smart to be money conscious but it’s also not a valid excuse.

Because traveling a year is much cheaper than one year of college. And you can work side jobs while you’re traveling—like teach English, bartend, freelance, sell stuff online, and much more.

7. Join the military

Another possible route is to skip college and join the military.

Serving your country is not only a tremendous honor, there’s also a bunch of tangible benefits including:

  • A $35,000 salary with increasing pay the longer you’re in service
  • Receive diverse training that’s transferable to your future career
  • Have your college paid for (not guaranteed)
  • Free health care and almost free living costs
  • Free travel across the United States and overseas

I know a few people who joined the military out of high school and they all love the discipline and organization it gives them.

Of course there are some downsides to joining the military.

You’re not in control of where you’re deployed. You could be placed in a war zone at any time, depending on global events outside of your control. And although it’s rare, there is the risk of death which you avoid in college and these other alternatives.

8. Become a realtor

Whether you find yourself browsing home prices on Zillow for fun or dreaming about making six figures, another solid replacement to college is becoming a realtor.

As long as people continue needing a place to live, realtors who are good at their job will have money to bring home.

According to PayScale, the average real estate agent makes approximately $51,000—again, no degree needed.

But what I personally love about the realtor profession is your income has no ceiling. The more you hustle to buy or sell houses, the more you make.

That’s true meritocracy!

And the process to be official is simple: Take real estate courses (“tuition” costs less than $1,000—much more favorable than college), pass the state licensing test, and then start helping people buy and sell homes.

9. Volunteer

Many volunteer and charity organizations would happily have you join their team to serve with them, no college degree needed.

What’s ironic is some people graduate college to become a social worker or serve in the Peace Corps when they could have started volunteering right away.

If volunteering is your passion, you’re welcome for that four year head start.

Organizations like AmeriCorps, the Catholic Volunteer Network, and the Peace Corps is where I would look first. And a simple Google search of what and where you want to volunteer will give you enough information to start applying.

When you’re drawn toward serving others, you’ll get more out of volunteering than studying subjects you don’t care about in a college classroom. Plus, learning empathy and the value of giving back will serve you the rest of your life.

And Jesus and Mother Theresa didn’t go to college did they? The way they loved people will never be forgotten.

Again, you can always volunteer for a year or more and then go to college if you really think that’ll help your future. Why rush into it when it’s not needed to do what you love?

10. Build an audience with content


This is what I’m working on every single day: Publishing content with the goal of building an audience and providing value to them.

I so wish I started this at age 18 instead of age 21, but it is what it is.

So how is this accomplished? There are only three options to publish content and build an audience:

  1. Start a blog if you enjoy and are best at writing
  2. Start a podcast if you prefer talking
  3. Start a YouTube channel if you like being in front of the camera

Those are the three tried and true methods that won’t go away. My recommendation is to start with one of those and then add another or all three mediums once you’re more established.

Thousands of people are making a fortune doing this already. So the path to success is there if you know how to build a community around you.

Honestly, it’d be wise to publish content whether you don’t or do go to college. Having a personal brand and following you can take with you always gives you leverage in the future.

That leverage can be deployed to build your own business or to win interviews and job offers.

11. Go to community college

If you’re still stubborn and think you need some kind of college degree before you’re qualified to work, have you considered an associate’s degree instead of a bachelor’s?

An associate’s degree requires half the time, much less than half the money, and opens doors to some high-quality jobs including:

  • Radiation therapist
  • Dental hygienist
  • Registered nurse
  • Air traffic controller
  • Computer programmer
  • Paralegal
  • Police officer
  • Aerospace engineer

Many of these median salaries are in the high five figures and sometimes six figures—like air traffic controller.

Plus community colleges have some unique benefits like smaller class sizes, more of the professor’s attention, more flexible schedules, and the ability to work while you’re in school.

For example, you’d struggle to get to know your professor if you’re at four-year state school with 250 people in every class.

12. Get a fellowship or apprenticeship

A fellowship or apprenticeship is so appealing to me (if I were 18 again) because they’re hands on jobs where you’re constantly learning through doing, not by hearing lectures and memorizing.

That’s why some fellowships and apprenticeships are taking form and becoming trendy again.

For example, UnCollege offers a 32 week program that includes a voyage, launch, and internship phase. It’s purpose is to help students learn outside of the classroom through experimentation and mentoring.

And one billionaire, Peter Thiel, questions college to the point where he gives around 20 young adults under age 20 a $100,000 fellowship award not to go to college. Isn’t that interesting?

On the website is the statement, “The Thiel Fellowship gives $100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom.”

If you’re interested in learning more or applying for The Thiel Fellowship, click here.

Some other well-known fellowships include Echoing Green, TechStars, Enstitute and The Year In Industry.

There are also other interesting fellowships and apprenticeships that are a Google click away. If you’re diligent in searching you can find solid options.

13. Create a non-profit

Want a rewarding and life-changing experience like nothing else can offer? Look no farther than starting a non-profit.

Just like starting a business, I recommend your non-profit’s mission starts small by addressing a local need in your community.

Because you’d struggle to make a difference if you tried to take on world hunger or something as complex as cancer.

For example of decent ideas, maybe your mission is to financial support animal shelters in your town. Maybe it’s to clothe homeless people in your city. Maybe it’s to provide a free summer camp for underprivileged children.

Recruit some people who might be on board and then test the idea in the community. Talk to people or start serving and evaluate the response. Then continue to improve your service and build your team.

If this is your life’s passion, stick with it or take what you learned to found a new non-profit.

And if you do go to college, your resume will be truly rocking doing this—especially if it makes a tangible difference in the community.

For inspiration, here’s an example of an 18-year-old who started a crazy successful non-profit.

14. Write a book

I truly believe every single person on this Earth has a unique story and some important message to share with the world. Sue me for seeing the positives in humanity.

And that means you’re fully capable of writing a book before you turn 20.

What are you passionate about? What do you excel in?

And most importantly, what’s something you know a lot about and it’s popular enough for other people to care? That’s the special ingredient to writing a quality book.

I get it if you want to wait to write your book until you have something more powerful to say or a little more experience under your belt.

But just know there are some young teenagers writing books for people their age and making a killing, specifically 14-year-old Caleb Maddix comes to mind.

15. Coach a team


Are you a former football, tennis, soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming, or golf player? Have you ever been decent at a sport?

That’s about all the qualifications you need to coach a middle school, junior high, or high school team.

For example, some of my friends have gone on to coach club volleyball teams, high school football teams, 8th grade basketball teams, and everything in between.

High schools will automatically pay you in most cases.

And since many parents want no part of coaching, you can offer the local school or parish to coach the middle school team as long as you’re paid a reasonable fee for your time. You just might have to get more creative to get paid when you coach younger ages.

If you’re a sports enthusiast, you’re going to have a lot of fun coaching. It’s a way to stay close to the game you love after your time to play has ended.

Plus you get the rewarding feeling of passing down the knowledge you’ve learned and making your former coaches proud.

College Isn’t For Everyone

You have to admit after reading this that college isn’t for everyone.

I mean why would a guy or girl who wants to be a realtor, for example, spend at least four years and at least $50,000 a year at college to delay doing what they love?

It doesn’t make sense and college would only disappoint them with a mountain of debt.

Now the table tilts differently in two situations: your parents are paying for your entire education or you’re 100% certain you need to college to get your dream job (investment banker, lawyer, doctor, professor, etc.).

It’s the debt that really pisses me off so if your parents are well off and can easily take the bill then that’s a different story.

But still, thinking this decision through will get you in the habit of questioning the norm and making the best decision for you, not doing things because other people are doing it.

That will help you win down the road in life.

Always aim to live with intention—especially if you’re deciding about a four to six year college contract.

So is college right for you? Only you can answer that.

And before you decide… promise me you will consider all of the options before you blindly go to college.

P.S. If you want help exploring your future options and becoming the best version of yourself, go here.

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Skipping Class Hurts Far More Than It Helps




The excuses for skipping class vary from ludicrous to reasonable.

If you’re feeling super lazy and the last thing you want to do is go to class—hey, it happens—your excuses will lack common sense. You’ll skip because it might rain, you miss your dog, you’re not feeling pretty, or some other laughable idea.

There are also what I call the legitimate, or reasonable excuses.

You want to sleep in longer (or take a nap) instead of going to class because you have to study late at night.

You can read the PowerPoint slides online and get the same information you need without going to class.

The professor doesn’t check for attendance so there’s no consequences if you don’t show up.

You haven’t worked out in weeks so you have to go to the gym instead of class. It’s a fair trade.

You can make a case for these kinds of excuses and others in the ballpark of reason. It’s easy to miss class when you justify it. (It’s easy to do anything when it’s justified.)

But, I think anyone who skips class is misguided.

Because whether you have a legitimate reason or you’re lazy, I’m going to hit you with the truth: skipping class hurts you more than it helps you. Here’s exactly why.

Skipping Class Makes Things Worse

These are the fun problems that come from skipping college classes, in no particular order.

First, rarely is all the information you need for an assignment provided without additional information from a professor. Whether it’s a project, paper, or exam, during class is when a professor often takes time to give context, helpful instruction, and dictate what they’re looking for. If you’re not there, that’s no extra help for you.

Plus, you don’t get any freebie test answers if you’re not at class. You know what I mean, right?

When the professor expands on a topic, then says, “Take notes because this will be on the exam.” Only the people who attend class come away with that helpful insight. (Or when they deliberately tell you a specific question and answer on the exam, only the students there are lucky.)

You also miss when your teacher says, “Don’t worry about this unit, it won’t be on the exam.” If you miss that day, you’ll but putting hours of valuable study time into terms that you don’t need to know.

Many students who often miss class, sometimes only one class, are sure to waste more time trying to catch up than if they went to class. Because not only do they have to learn what they went over in class, they first have to spend time knowing what to go over.

And it’s extremely difficult to get a quality letter of recommendation if you routinely skip class with all of your professors. At best, your letters will be average and bland. At worst, you won’t have any professors agree to write one.

For all of these reasons, and some others I’m sure I left out, if you like yourself, you will go to every class you can.

So while there’s plenty of reasons to skip class and the motivation behind each one is that it will make your life easier, if only for a little, now you know that premise is untrue.

Skipping class makes your life much more difficult and stressful. In other words, going to class makes your life much easier.

You’ll Win When You Go To Class

Did you catch all of that? Although going to class can be a drag at times, just remember the consequences of not going to class are always a losing bargain.

I must say that this entire blog post is assuming you want to succeed in college and not live in constant stress. If you don’t want to do well for yourself and want to skip class, enjoy the stress and good luck to you. (You need it!)

And here’s one last negative. Skipping class when you don’t feel like going sets a bad precedent for your future. Because after you graduate, not going to work on the days you don’t feel like it also sounds good, until you lose your job, lose your income, and become a bum.

College is the perfect time to establish successful habits. Start today by creating the habit of going to every class, regardless of your feelings.

Your college experience will be better off for it.

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Brian Robben's three books.