Finding your Path: Disruptive Education

             Have you ever wondered what you’re doing with your life? Maybe it was a transitional period between high school and college, or maybe between college and joining the career field. Like many of you it was a challenge for me towards the end of high school defining what school I wanted to go to and what degree I wanted to pursue. I know some people seem to have it all figured out and it seems their path is like the golden brick road, surely headed for success.

            Initially I was going to go to Indiana Wesleyan University to Major in Business with a minor in Sports management, but I could not find peace with the decision. Though I loved the school, I could not justify the financial burden I would be placing on myself. I ended up going a different route. I chose to take online courses through Liberty University Online. At the time, it was driven out of financial budgeting as well as a lack of direction and definition for my future. That being said, there were a few things I was sure of at that time in my life. I wanted to get my bachelors degree in business and I also wanted to come out of school with no debt.

             The first two years of my college journey were difficult. I was saving money, but I felt I was missing out because I didn’t have the true “on-campus” experience. I spent a lot of my time visiting friends at nearby colleges, but still felt that disconnect. During my sophomore year, Kyler and I began to get more and more into filmmaking and this is when my story took a turn. There was a paradigm shift that occurred that instead of focusing on what I was not doing, I began to focus on what I could be doing. I began to realize the opportunities I had due to my flexible online education. If you have followed the journey of Kyler and I, you will have noticed that we have been blessed with various opportunities to travel and get out and live life. Living life looks different to everyone, but this is my passion zone. I love seeing new places and experiencing what the world has to offer.

            My parents are much of the reason I am where I am today. I can honestly say that I have been so blessed to have the parents I do. They have supported me as I have made defining decisions and they have also challenged my way of thinking. My dad has taught me so much of what I know about business. He has taught me the value of real world experience and has coached me through multiple business deals. My mom, on the other hand, has shown me what it means to be true to yourself and how to love others. She has coached me to prioritize the value of relationships and I cannot tell you how important that has become to me. This applies both in personal life as well as business. I think that whatever avenue in life you’re in, it’s important to build your support structure. The people that want to see you succeed are the ones you need behind you.

             Today I graduated college from Liberty University Online, the world’s largest Private Christian University, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Today is also the first time I have ever set foot on the Campus of Liberty University…talk about non-traditional. I graduated after 4 years with honors and am totally debt free. I don’t say this to boast or to claim I have it all figured out, because I promise you I do not. I am humbled to see the values my parents instilled in me come to fruition.

             The way I went about my education was not easy. It was comprised of endless hours of thumbing my way through textbooks as well as watching hundreds, if not thousands, of YouTube tutorials. In fact I would probably refer to YouTube as my favorite professor J. I certainly missed out on lot’s of hands on instruction from a classroom experience, but I also learned what it meant to be self motivated and to follow through without anyone breathing down my neck. With that being said, I do not endorse one form of higher education over another. The way I see it, there are pros and cons to any path you take and it all comes down to finding what is best for you. One of my role models, Peter Thiel, puts it best, “The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.” I will go onto say that I strongly believe too many individuals fail to put in the effort needed in order to find what best suits them. Over and over again I see friends who went the traditional route of attending prestigious brick and mortar institutions, only to come out on the other side with a hefty amount of debt and a degree they are unsure of how they will use. Even more, some end up wanting to go into a different career path all together. Some friends on the other hand have pursued the degree they love and it has turned out great for them. For instance my girlfriend Lisa is a talented graphic designer graduating from Trinity University next weekend. Attaining her degree from Trinity has allowed her to pursue the work she loves. She is the one behind all of The Outbound Life’s branding. Now obviously college is more than the degree, it’s the kick in the butt to learn how to grow up, but if you can get both at the same time then you’re golden.

             I am not writing this article to say that I have done things right, because I’ve surely had my fair share of set backs, but I want to encourage others to no longer think in terms of the “status quo.” I want to encourage others to take a step back from life, get their head out of the system and search for purpose in a way that is often discouraged. Take a risk, chase your passion and dreams, and if you end up hitting a dead end you can always go back to the familiar path.

Moral of the story: You were made with purpose, so take the time to discover that purpose. Don’t compromise along the journey.




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