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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Quote of the Day: “This holiday season, I’m buying myself a GoPro.” –Male, 28, MI

Teens may not be able to remember a time before the internet—but that doesn’t necessarily make them more internet-savvy than older users. Research in the UK found that only 31% of 12-15-year-olds and 16% of 8-11-year-olds could tell the difference between Google ads and Google search results, even when ads were labeled. The findings indicate that young consumers still need to “develop the knowhow they need to navigate the online world.” (The Verge)

Last week, Pew survey results showing that 40% of Millennials are “against free speech” that is offensive to minority groups were widely reported—but a closer look might prove those conclusions were a “false alarm.” Though there is no data to directly compare the question to, there are “numerous examples” that show that multiple generations have held similar views for decades. (NYMag)

Ypulse’s exclusive holiday shopping survey found 61% agree with the statement “I can't stand crowds and don’t shop in-store on Black Friday.” Their decision to shop from home is shifting the consumer holiday: the National Retail Federation found that more people shopped online than in stores during Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend. Major chains are adjusting by moving many of their big deals online as well. (WSJ)

Thought we know 35% of Millennial voters would choose Bernie Sanders if the election was tomorrow, there is still a long time before election day, and a new app is ready to educate about the candidates, the Millennial way. Voter uses the Tinder “swipe left/swipe right” format to help users to find the candidates and parties that share their views. A series of questions sort users into political pools, and give them a breakdown of the issues they agree and disagree on, as well as contacts and donation links. (PSFK)

Brands have been leaning into nostalgia and bringing back Millennials’ childhood favorites all year—and it isn’t close to over. Rumors are flying that the wonderfully disgusting Ghostbusters themed Hi-C Ecto Cooler is coming back for the release of the film’s reboot in 2016. Neon orange Ecto Cooler was originally put on the shelves in 1987, featured the beloved Slimer, and was so popular it outlasted the Ghostbusters cartoon. (AVClub)

Quote of the Day: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without some family drama.” –Male, 23, MA

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