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 like shopping at Staples because they have good prices on supplies I need for school [and] electronics or other devices I may need.” –Female, 17, ID

For urban Millennials, getting married doesn’t necessarily mean saying goodbye to roommates. Members of the generation continue to mature into adulthood in an untraditional way, and with rent increasing dramatically, some are choosing living as husband and wife and roomie over a moving to smaller place, or having a longer commute. This acceptance of communal living could be a reflection of the rise of the sharing economy, as it becomes the norm to share everything from rides to the kitchen. (New York Times)

Although most of today’s 18-24-year-olds were still in high school or college during the Great Recession, it’s still affecting their career choices today. A survey from Way to Work found that 70% would prefer a stable job over a job they were passionate about but offered little security, and one third said finding that secure job was their top concern. 34% of Millennials named financial stability as their greatest aspiration. (Forbes)

According to some teens, “MTV is dying.” Hoping to reverse that sentiment, MTV will be introducing eight new series, and has 85 more in development, that are meant to reflect Millennials’ “unbridled optimism.” Upcoming series include a reality show about YouTube star Todrick Hall and a scripted comedy around Vine star Logan Paul—MTV likely has their fingers crossed these social media stars will bring their fans to the network. (Adweek)

YouTube channel AwesomenessTV has successfully hooked hundreds of thousands of young viewers, and now they’re setting their sights on a new audience: Millennial moms. Their new network Awestruck will premiere later this year, offering a wide range of female-centric series, from comedy to drama to talk shows featuring both online stars and Hollywood celebrities. The network hopes that young moms will turn to them as they consume more online video content. (StreamDaily)

What does it take to become “Insta-famous?” Sometimes it just takes being photographed in the right place at the right time. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte D’Alessio amassed tens of thousands of followers in just a few days when a photo of her and her best friend, model Josie Canseco, went viral at Coachella. From there Canseco and D’Alessio appeared on celebrities’ feeds, the Coachella account, and new fans’ Tumblr posts. The girls’ viral status speaks to how quickly notoriety can amass for young consumers in the age or micro-fame. (BuzzFeed)

Want to know Millennials' favorite fast food chain? How often they're dining out? What they order? Our most recent topline and date on 13-32-year-olds gave Gold subscribers the inside scoop on all their food and dining preferences. We deliver in-depth tables and a visual report to them every two weeks, covering another aspect of young consumers' behaviors, beliefs, and more. (Ypulse)

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