Scott Langille

Being Held Back

There’s nothing more frustrating to me than someone who is held back by a system outside of their control.

Hence my dissatisfaction with the education system. Too many students feel restricted from learning the things they're most curious about.

While college is not mandated, it is practically required for most people who want to do knowledge work. Unless you’ve gotten into an exclusive program like YCombinator or the Thiel Fellowship (that pay you hundreds of thousands of dollars to build interesting things), there is little you can do to escape college without making a significant sacrifice.

In conversation with a friend today, I learned that he wants to study machine learning but would not be taken seriously unless he finishes a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree at a good university afterwards. He says that he would love to speed up his learning by self-studying online lectures, books, podcasts, and making projects, but he is unsure if he can do it on his own and if he'd even be hireable.

You can successfully carve your own way. Several people have done it with incredible success, YCombinator or not. But for every success you hear about, there are dozens of people who dropped out, did not "make it," and are not taken seriously by much of society.

In my next essay, I will discuss how one might carve their own path outside of university while building systems to get many of its benefits.