Andy Warhol’s famous line “in the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes” is certainly true in this digital age. When fame is within reach for even just a minute, and along with it the chance to make good money, it’s easy to set aside notions of a formal education.
My son will often ask me, “Can I drop-out of school and just be a Youtuber?” My non-verbal reply would be a raised eyebrow. This will then be followed by a clever comeback from him, “Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out, MrBeast dropped out, Ninja didn’t even go to college… they make plenty of money.” A sigh will fall from my lips at this, and before I can even come up with a reply that would make perfect sense to a teenager, he will quickly smile and say, “Just kidding.” If only it were really just a joke. But aren’t jokes half meant?
So in case you’re a parent like me who find themselves in a similar dialogue with your child, I’m listing what I think are the 3 benefits of having a college degree, even in today’s digital age:
1. A college degree helps build a strong foundation
While chances are likely that your degree is not necessarily indicative of what your career will be in the “real“ world, having a solid foundation in education is a pretty good reason to pursue college. Platforms such as Youtube, TikTok, Fortnite, or Instagram can catapult literally ANYONE to fame, but how sustainable is it really?
You need a thorough understanding of the platform you’re in, and know how to monetize a regular stream of income from it. Furthermore, your content must be on point, fresh, and always relevant. Inc.com says that “The top 3% of Youtube channels get 90% of the traffic.” This means that someone’s channel needs to be really good in order to get subscribers and views, which leads to monetization. You’re only as good as your last most viewed video, most read blog, or most listened-to podcast. A solid foundation in a chosen degree gives a sense of stability, especially in challenging times.
2. A college degree can provide essential building blocks
Ever heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Lyka, NFTs? These are just some of the terms associated with blockchain technology – which is a way of passing information from point A to point B in a fully automated and safe manner (or so the experts say), with less or no processing fees. What does this have to do with a college degree? Nothing, but it could mean something soon when these cryptocurrencies, tokens, and digital assets become the backbone of our children’s economic and monetary future. Currently, they’re buzz words, and earning from the crypto game is really unpredictable, just like playing the stock market. Thus encouraging our kids to understand how financial markets, monetary systems, and global economies work by encouraging them to study Accounting, Economics, Financial Management, or similar degrees can give them the footing they need to navigate the future of the economy. Just like you need to learn your ABCs and 123s, a college degree provides the rote knowledge. Paired with real life experience, our children can achieve almost anything they set their minds to.
3. A college degree is a practical way to pursue one’s passion
You’ll often find motivational quotes all over, including the very popular “Find your passion.” Kids are passionate about many things these days – the environment, social issues, giving back to the community – and we’re proud that they are! I have never encountered a more committed generation than those our kids belong to. Because of the power of the internet and social media, they are more attuned to deeper issues that affect our society, and are determined to be the change they want to see in the world. But one cannot survive on passion alone. To survive and thrive in this world, you also have to be practical. Having a college degree is one such example. Even if more online jobs are to be had, hiring companies will always look towards applicants with an edge. If being an employee is not your child’s dream, one still has to learn the basics of business and management, including other entrepreneurship skills that can be gained from a classroom as much as a real world setting.
You can support your child’s passion and still be practical about it by encouraging them to take a related livelihood option. Examples are:
- Passion: Saving marine life from polluted waters
Practical: A degree in Marine Biology
- Passion: Basketball and watching NBA
Practical: Taking basketball clinics year-round or a diploma in Exercise and Sports Science
- Passion: Podcasts and motivational talks
Practical: A degree in Broadcasting or Communications
So a college degree these days still makes sense, right? It can help provide some of the discipline, maturity, and sense of accomplishment that everybody craves for. If college is in the cards for your children, be financially ready for it because it does not come cheap. A financial plan that provides a regular stream of income to pay for tuition and other education expenses can be a lifesaver for many parents. One such plan is Sun Life’s SUN Dream Achiever. You can learn more about it here.
Just like any parent, we all want our kids to be successful at what they choose to do. If we’re lucky, they’ll even let us give them advice on which career to pursue. The important thing is we listen and give them the freedom of choice. With some guidance and financial preparation, we can give them the brightest future possible – regardless of likes, subs, and views.