An Open Letter to College Students: Participate in Your Own Becoming

by / ⠀Career Advice Entrepreneurship / September 19, 2013


Tick, tick, tick… The seconds went by as I tried to answer the final exam’s last question in my first year of university. Unlike most of my peers though, the question I had wasn’t on the test paper in front of me, but rather one I had in my head long before the test even started, “Why am I even here?”

It was a question that I had struggled with for the whole first year of college, and up until the last exam of the year, I still didn’t know. What I did know was going to college didn’t automatically mean I was learning and that if I truly wanted to grow, then it was up to me to make a change in my life.

If you’re anything like me, then I’m sure at some point in your college life, whether listening to a lecture, writing an exam or doing your homework, you would have asked the same question.

Why am I even here?

We both know the usual answer. Or should I say answers, because it’s quite obvious nobody really knows why. You need a degree for a job, you need to make connections in college, it’s your last chance to really learn, it’s the next step in life…

I don’t know about you, but since when was life set in stone? College in itself should be admired, but it should only be admired when it is the means to the end of participating in your own becoming. The problem is we start to look at a college degree as a goal because we believe it can guarantee success, but by looking at college as the end as opposed to the means, we close our minds to other possibilities and conform to what society believes we should do instead of what might be right for us.

The world out there is completely different to the one that our parents or professors graduated into.

There have never been more college graduates for the ever-decreasing number of jobs in the market. Currently there are 20% of college grads that don’t have work, and another 22% of college grads that are in jobs that don’t require a college degree. Do you want to leave college and enter a workforce that not only doesn’t value the work that you’ve done for the past 4 years, but also actively forces you to downgrade yourself to a level that you know is beneath you?

Given the world we’re in, it’s time we made a decision.

Knowing the world out there isn’t going to welcome us, do we choose to put our heads in the ground, pretend there is nothing wrong out there and hope for the best? Or do we acknowledge the truth and create a path for ourselves no matter what? For the whole past year, I was angry. I was angry that I was paying for a school I didn’t want to attend, working on things I didn’t believe would ever be useful and getting a degree I didn’t even want. I’m done with sitting in a stuffy lecture room and fooling myself that I’m learning anything, and I challenge you to be done with it too and instead truly learn to grow.

Fast forward two months from the day that I got 26% on that exam, and I’ve managed to learn more than a whole year of college just by being accountable for my own learning. My dream is to show the world that it is possible for anybody to succeed without a bachelor’s degree, and even if you have or plan to get a degree, I invite you to join me in my dream. I invite you to join because to truly learn or succeed in this world, we can’t b*llshit our way through life with diplomas or connections to protect us, but only through own our conscious decisions of challenging ourselves to grow. Over these next few weeks I’ll be starting a “Participating in Your Own Becoming” series to share how I’ve so far taken action in my own life and hopefully inspire you to take action in yours. The world has too many people content with life as it is, but unfortunately, that isn’t good enough. The world needs people like us to stand up and challenge ourselves by continuously learning and making a difference in other people’s lives in order to prove to ourselves that we can make an impact and make the world an even better place.

There are too few of us who are willing to make the hard choice of deciding to choose who we become, so together, lets start today.

Ask yourself, are you willing to take the leap of faith? Are you willing to stand up and acknowledge to yourself and people around you that you are different? Are you ready to truly understand who you are and the path that you must forge for yourself to participate in your own becoming?

I’m ready and if you are too, then leave a comment below and join this community of people who all hold a passion of making a difference by proving to themselves and the world that they can contribute. Although nobody will be able to teach you who you are, by having a group of people who are willing to do the same as you, we can all stand to improve one another and together we can make a difference.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s make the change.

J Tan is a thinker who wants to provoke people into thinking how they can challenge themselves to grow and become the best they can be.

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.