Millennials Embrace Autodidacticism And Alternate Career Paths

It’s college admissions season, when high schoolers across the country anxiously await a letter from their first-choice universities. But with ever higher cost of college and constant headlines of the number of grads who are out of work and saddled with debt, some Millennials are questioning the age-old path of going from high school to college to work.

They see their heroes, including Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, as examples of wildly successful people who never earned a degree. And yet another successful entrepreneur, Peter Thiel, is not only encouraging bright young minds to consider a career without college, he’s offering fellowship money for students who skip advanced schooling to get to work instead. With some of the smartest people they know telling them they don’t need college, Millennials feel emboldened to explore alternate career paths.

Another reason they’re brave enough to skip college is because they have another significant source of knowledge where they can learn whatever they need to know: the Internet. It’s easier than ever for a person to become an “autodidactic” — a person who teaches themselves — much like another Millennial hero, Sean Parker. It’s like the classic scene from “Good Will Hunting” when Will shows up a Harvard student as he tells him that he’ll eventually realize he “dropped $150,000 on an education he could have gotten for $1.50 in late charges at the public library,” only for Millennials, there are no late fees and little need to make trips to libraries.

For Millennials who see the Internet as access to the collective knowledge of the human race and who believe they can learn and excel at almost anything simply by spending some dedicated hours online, what’s the point of going to college? The value could come from the interaction with…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I use cloth diapers, and a lot of my coworkers don't quite understand this. They aren't condescending, per say, but I do think that they judge my less mainstream parenting style. Also, several of my online mommy Facebook groups can be VERY judgy.” –Female, 26, IL

Last spring Gap made headlines by voluntarily raising the company’s minimum wage to $10 an hour and let loose the viral hashtag #LetsDoMore, which has seen 90 million social media impressions to date. The fashion brand has continued to develop its ethical stance via powerful posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, recently supporting the U.N.’s #HeForShe movement and using social media as an outlet to promote women’s equality in the workplace. Though their “Dress Normal” clothing campaign may be missing the mark, their social media strategy speaks to young women in a way that they can support. (Forbes)

International news outlet Al Jazeera has introduced “Pirate Fishing,” an interactive game that lets players act as journalists investigating an illegal fishing trade. As Millennials shift their focus from traditional news sources, the game intends to bring readers “deeper into the story” for a more immersive experience. Other media outlets are seeing similar value in creating interactive story telling through gaming: BuzzFeed is currently putting together a team dedicated towards game development. (Digiday

The U.S. Navy is looking to mentorship as a way to adapt its highly regimented training routine to fit Millennial work expectations. While Millennials may not want to be friends with their superiors, they want to feel respected and receive constructive feedback, so Gen X commanders have started mirroring parent relationships with students as a way to connect and instill a sense of family values. (Businessweek)

Twilight author Stephanie Meyer and Lionsgate have announced a new project in the works titled “The Storytellers—New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga”. The series calls for female directors to create short films based on Twilight characters, with the top five being chosen by a panel of talented females that includes Octavia Spencer and Julie Bowen. The final products will be screened on Facebook, hoping to attract new audiences with a social-media-first push. (Vulture)

Moms began ruling social media with the surge in mommy bloggers and online communities, but a recent poll of the demographic shows that social media overload may just be #TMI (too much information). 60% of new moms are considering unplugging completely from social media, and feel pressure to appear to have a perfect life online. When asked to name their turnoffs, Millennial moms named sharing too much and too often, along with too much marketing content on their feeds. (Mediabistro)

Our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold tier subscribers, illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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