Trapped: A New Era of Education

Chad Silverstein
5 min readJul 26


Is Going to College Still Worth It?

When is the last time you challenged the worth of a college degree? I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, but maybe that’s because my kids are a few years away from graduating high school. I’ve been asking people what they think about it and the responses I’ve heard so far have been less than satisfying.

As an entrepreneur who has hired many people over the course of my career, it’s a topic that has left me searching for answers whenever someone proudly adds their “Education” on their resume. Interestingly, I can’t remember a time when someone even bothered mentioning they had a degree during one of my interviews.

Why do we assume that it’s normal to invest four years of our lives and so much of our finances on a college education? Besides the obvious answer of it being tied to a specific career like Law or becoming a Brain Surgeon, can you really think of a compelling reason that makes sense today? Try asking someone and listen to their answer. Dig a little deeper and see if you hear what I’ve been hearing, which is they don’t have a good reason.

Why is it the norm to invest four years of our lives and a significant amount of money in a college education? Isn’t it strange how we just accept this without questioning it? Sure, there are some careers like law or becoming a brain surgeon where college is necessary, but if you ask others and really listen to their answer most people don’t have a solid reason for going to college — we’ve been influenced and brainwashed by societal norms since we were kids and it takes a brave soul to break free from this thinking and explore alternative paths to success.

The invisible societal pressure that gets drummed into us from an early age by our parents, teachers, friends, and people in our communities- It’s very powerful. It creates an expectation, almost as if there’s something wrong with you if you dare consider not going to college. Of course, years later nobody would ever question your decision if you turn out successful. Just ask Walt Disney, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell — none of whom earned a degree.

I’m well aware that college serves a purpose and it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t offer new experiences, friendships, and of course freedom away from home. But do you really need to go to college for that? The truth is, many just want to go party and have fun. Nothing wrong with that, but do you really have to go to college for that? Sadly, it’s more about conformity than making an informed decision. I highly recommend having a good “why” before finding yourself graduating without a clue what you want to do staring upside down in debt.

What I learned after 25 years in business.

I learned more on my first day making cold calls than I did in four years going to class. And when it comes to hiring people, I didn’t care if someone had a college degree. My interviews are about getting to know the person, gauging how strong their soft skills are, and determining if they have the potential to be a leader or perform at a high level. The number one thing I look for during an interview is if someone is sincere and genuine when they answer questions. Unfortunately for me, my college classes forgot to mention any of this stuff and I had to learn how to do it all on my own.

We’ve all grown up believing that a degree is the “be-all end-all”, but times have changed. Careers in sales, I.T., marketing, customer service, and logistics, just to name a few functions- no longer carry as much weight as they used to and in many cases never require a traditional degree.

A New Era of Education

In our rapidly changing world, being flexible and having the ability to adapt is key. And self-education through online platforms is proving to be the big winner. Communities like Coursera, Udemy, YouTube, and Khan Academy give new creators a place to shine and share their experience, skills, and knowledge with the world. They provide an unbeatable advantage that can help individuals leapfrog over someone more qualified on paper.

Why? Because self-education offers opportunities to learn like never before. You can tailor your own path to fit your specific goals and gain insights from influencers, creators, and industry professionals worldwide. All while absorbing new endless new content at your own pace — and at a fraction of traditional tuition costs.

Self-education definitely comes with its own set of challenges, but the benefits are big. Never before have we ever seen so much easy-to-access free content available — empowering individuals to take charge of their own learning.


Student loan debt currently stands at more than 1.7 trillion dollars. How long can this system sustain? Having owned a collection agency for 25 years, I can tell you first hand, it’s a complete disaster. There’s nothing worse than having a young professional graduate from college only to be chained down with debt that has them locked down for years to come- and forget about it if the person ever experiences financial hardship or sudden job loss. It’s like being set up from the start, finding yourself trapped — and not being able to do anything about it.

Few people are willing to be an outlier and go against what everyone else is doing. Regardless, everyone should be interested in self-educating themselves to protect and future-proof their skills against an uncertain workforce that never seemsto get a break from turbulent times.

[re]think what you’re “supposed” to do. Ask yourself “Why” a few more times to challenge why you think the way you do. Who is your biggest influence? Can you genuinely say it’s you?



Chad Silverstein

Founder & CEO at [re]start, a Career Development Platform, connecting people to meaningful employment opportunities. #Career #Jobs #Leadership #Entrepreneurship