Structure is an interesting concept because its benefits exist on an inverted U-curve.
Too much structure and you get rigidity and loss of autonomy which is a negative for people in the system.
Too little structure and you make people feel incompetent because they’re not sure where to start or what to focus on.
The hard part is finding the optimal amount of structure. Not too much that people lose their humanity, but not too little that they’re left directionless.
Two people can watch the same exact clip and see two different things.
Whether it’s a replay in sports, or a protest in Washington, people see their narrative.
Picture a young person in your life.
What do they genuinely care about?
What do they care about enough to put their ego aside. To forget about social pressure for a few moments and speak from their heart. To go the extra mile.
For some it’s mental health, racism, type 1 diabetes, or something else.
When you know that thing, the world opens up. Nurture it. Love it. Support it.
Who is it for?
Who is making it?
If it’s for someone like you, that’s easy. Go ahead and do it. If it’s not for someone like you, then you need to go on to question three:
How empathetic is the person making it?
The best design project is often for young people to make something for people they understand. They build some confidence. See something become reality, and, most importantly, realize the need for empathy. Because even when you’re making something for someone like you, it’s never a perfect match. The need for empathy is obviated when you create.
Once you have the skill of empathy, now you make anything. Your story and experience no longer limit your imagination.
You need great models of learning.
And then you need ways to propagate those models throughout the country.
Many have built models, though there is still room more. Few have found ways to propagate them across the country.
That’s big challenge. Getting the change to spread.
No one has ever said, “my work is too well-respected, I can’t get a job.”
Many people have said and will continue to say “I have a great GPA and a college degree, I can’t get a job.
Maybe we should start spending more time on the former.
Can I have a moment of your time?
It sounds like you might be robbed. Someone’s going to take something from you. They can never give it back.
It’s an expression that carries a surprising amount of weight.
In reality, many conversations are draining. They do feel like they’ve taken something from us in the form of attention or energy.
But some conversations are different. Some conversations are amplifying. They give you energy and joy. You walk away with a skip in your step and hope for the future.
Instead of taking people’s time, let’s amplify it. We’ll all be better off.
One of my favorite Seth-Godin-isms is “You pay a lot, but you get more than you pay for.”
Anecdotally, it sounds like this is how people in nordic countries feel about taxes. Yes, it’s a high rate, but for what’s included, it’s worth it.
Expensive can be good if the extra cost leads to higher quality. The problem is when the price rises and the quality stays the same. Then people will become categorically less interested in such a good because they’ve been burned in the past.
How might we make better product that people are more willing to pay for?
A fresh coat of snow
Reframes the land
A quiet paradise
Waiting for raucous adventure
It isn’t as binary of a decision as we make it out to be.
There are gap years, associates programs, satellite campuses, online degrees, skill-based boot camps, and more. There are many options when it comes to continuing education beyond your senior year in high school.
Not all of them require $50k per year, but many of them come with similar upsides, just without the full stack of benefits. You may not have the greek life, the dining hall, the walk to the gym, the sports teams and everything else that is written into lore at four year institutions.
The question is, does that make the learning better? Or is it placebo?
And for the parts that truly are better, how can you use the 30k per year that you save to make up the gap?
With that money you could… rent a co-working space, take mentors to coffee, get tutored by a grad student, travel the country, launch a research project and much more. None of which involve going to college and all of which could involve high quality learning.