The Ten-Step Guide to College Financial Aid By Zachary Freeman

College Is a Boarding Pass, Not a Destination

I am blessed with the opportunity to sit down with many people, young and old, wise and unwise, to discuss all sorts of things.  I’ve certainly learned a lot since I started authoring, blogging, and speaking – probably more than I’ve actually taught. But one trend that I’ve noticed as of late is particularly alarming: the overwhelming majority of people in my generation lack any sort of understanding about their own purpose, goals, and desires in life.  Why is this a problem?  Because they buy the college “boarding pass” without ever bothering to define their destination.  And it ain’t cheap.

If you think about the basic concept of traveling, you see that there are many different options.  There are planes, trains, cars, boats, bicycles, horses, buggies, dolphins that swim out to rescue you at sea, and of course, human legs; you can get pretty much anywhere you want, any time you want.  But I’m sure you’d agree that just getting in a taxi and driving around until you find your destination is a much more expensive option than knowing in the first place.

To illustrate my point, let’s hypothetically say that you buy a plane ticket.  You wanted to go to Los Angeles, but you didn’t tell the ticket agent, so you just got on the flight to Dallas because “that’s what everyone else was doing.”  Well, toss a rock and call me Nancy!  Not only did you waste your money on a plane ticket to somewhere you didn’t want to go, but you’re stuck there with a bunch of people who are in the same predicament as you: clueless and stuck.  And hey, you could have avoided this completely if you had simply defined your destination in the first place.

I’ve spoken many times with bestselling author Dan Miller, and one thing that he always says is this: if you want to be successful, you must do what you love to do.  It sounds like such a simple concept, yet how many students attend college with any sort of idea of what they want to do with their life?  The average college student changes their major five times before they graduate, if they even make it that far.

With the incredibly diverse culture and economy that we are blessed to live in, we have the opportunity to be whatever we want.  We can be astronauts, mechanics, chefs, firefighters, soldiers, doctors, lawyers, writers – anything.  We all have a different destination, yet we are all told to take the same road – college – whether it’s the best path to our destination or not.  It is a super-expensive and dangerous toll road; don’t get on it without an idea of where you’re headed.  Don’t make the mistake of making college your destination, either.  For many, college is but a glorified lawnmower that slowly gets one from Point A to Point B…some of the time.  If you don’t believe me, go down to the coffee shop and see how many college grads are working there.

Once you know what you want to do with your life, pick up Free Money Please and learn how go to college for free.  You can achieve exactly what you want to do with your life, and that may or may not include college.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the common college toll road is going to automatically lead to your success.  You’ll get where you want to go when you make the arrangements yourself.

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