There are glaring loopholes in the education system. If not paid attention to they can drain your happiness, freedom and your bank account. On the other hand, you can use the same loopholes to free up time, invest in your health, develop amazing connections and bypass social rules which have outdated their use.

People who read my last blog post, the future of education, may think I am a cynic. It is not entirely false but I don’t want to be sitting here typing hate towards the system and not propose possible solutions. Yes, I believe the education system is broken but it’s not entirely unmanageable. If you do your research, put a thought in and put a game plan in action, I guarantee you will be able to get a lot out of the current education system.

I am a fan of Prince EA. If you don’t know who that is, I highly suggest you YouTube him. His opinions are interesting, captivating and make a lot of sense. In one of his videos, he asks the ever so important question, “What is school for?”. Honestly, I don’t believe there is an education minister or a policymaker in the world who can answer that question, because I believe they have no fucking clue. No matter which part of the chain you are at, student, professor, parent or a policymaker, “What is a school or education for?” is the first question we should be asking ourselves. The idea that “I HAVE TO go to a university to be successful” is no longer true. Yet the optimist in me is writing this for all the people who are planning to visit or are already in university. Here are a few hacks which would help you through your student life.

Hacking social life: The social life is by far the most rewarding and important thing you can get out of university. You make friends, memories, contacts and if you are lucky might even find love. The trick to socializing effectively is the setup. Be the provider of fun. The person who invites, connects and introduces people. I used to throw parties during the first week of each semester. It works like a charm. People come up to you introduce themselves, invite you to their parties. If you are not the party kind of person, then join social groups, sports classes, varsity teams and fraternities. Any place which gives you the chance of creating, organizing and providing value and entertainment is a good place to expand your social circle. This way you not only attract the right kind of people to you but you also have a choice. Choose the people who you call friends wisely as they are the ones who will shape you. As the old saying goes “You are the average of the 5 people you hang out the most with.”

How NOT to pay for college?: If you are a student in any of the countries charging ridiculous amounts of money, leave, run, the universities are robbing you. Research about the universities in countries like Germany, Finland, Denmark, any of the Scandinavian countries. They charge no or very little for getting degrees. You can take any number of courses and study pretty much as long as you want. They forgive mistakes and allow you to change majors or take classes just because you like them. The essence of education is the choice of voluntary learning. That, if you plan right, is still intact in these countries.

Don’t go to University at all: Parents are going to go nuts when they read this one but I beg you give it a thought. This one is not really a hack but the best thing you can do is not go to university at all. Make sure if you really want to go to university. What exactly are you going to learn? Can you learn that just over the internet? Is the university really teaching you what they are claiming? You can gain all the social benefits of college by simply attending the parties and events, you really don’t need to pay a fuck ton of money.

Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook, dropped out of Harvard. Sachin Tendulkar, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, never passed tenth grade. Even Johnny Depp was a high school dropout. In pretty much every profession you will find greats who didn’t even get the traditional education and yet they achieved great heights. I am not asking you to drop out of school or college but I beg you to introspect. To align your gifts and interests with the type of education you are choosing. There is a possibility that it may not involve the traditional route at all.

The university life when done right can be the most rewarding time of your life but we need to understand that it’s not just about getting good grades nor is it about getting drunk and partying. The time in university is an investment in your happiness, present and future (Michalos 2017). Take it seriously as an investment, make absolutely sure that it is worth it and if you decide to do it set yourself up for learning and success from the get-go.

—  By Ashwin Phatak

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Michalos, Alex C. 2017. “Education, Happiness and Wellbeing.” In Connecting the Quality of Life Theory to Health, Well-Being and Education, 277–99.