Someone recently asked me what schools should do for students. I answered with these four goals:
Four goals. That’s it. Let’s not complicate education more than it needs to.
A friend and I were discussing his option of getting a Masters degree or starting a business. Conceivably he could do both, but let’s go with the assumption that they will both require 100% of his focus, so he has to pick one.
While discussing, I compared his Masters vs Entrepreneurship decision to that of house buying vs house renting. I’m a big fan of renting over buying and have even calculated the numbers on an excel doc to determine the outcome over the long run, and I’m not alone in this opinion.
For most people, however, I would probably tell them that buying is a better investment, not because it actually is, but because they are human, and 99.99% of humans won’t have the self-discipline to make renting be a better investment. The reason that is, is because buying forces you save away a huge chunk of your income every month via your house mortgage, and the pain of not paying your mortgage is so high that most people do it every month, year after year.
Renting, on the other hand, frees up a bunch of money that would otherwise be put into a mortgage. At the end of the month, you look at your healthy bank statement, and from here have two options. The smart option, and the way renting becomes a better long term investment over owning, is to take all that money and put it directly into some kind of investment. Unfortunately, most won’t have that discipline and instead will spend some of it, or all of it, and then invest the rest. Unlike with a mortgage, investing becomes the last option, instead of the first.
Now let’s come back to the Masters vs Entrepreneurship decision. Getting a Masters degree is much like owning. You are forced to put in a bunch of time to take classes, that leads to great networking, that most likely will result in you being smarter, better well connected, and ready to take on the world. Entrepreneurship is like renting, every day you have a set period of time, but no one is forcing you to do anything and thus you might sleep in an extra 30 minutes, watch a few extra hours of T.V., or go out with friends a little later than normal. That means success, through hard work and focus, is secondary to all the other options throughout the day. Getting a Masters forces you to put your personal success first, whereas Entrepreneurship leaves that decision up to you, and in that case, 99.99% will sleep in a little extra, stay out a little later, and make their personal success secondary…because there’s always tomorrow.
When deciding between buying and renting, it comes down to what you choose to do with your money. When deciding between a Masters or Entrepreneurship, it comes down to what you choose to do with your time. If you rent or start a business and are willing to put in the same amount of money/time as you would with buying or getting a Masters, then it’s the smart decision, otherwise, stick with owning and getting a Masters.
Harvard Business Review writers Linda Hill & Kent Lineback recently wrote an article titled “The Three Networks You Need.” Here’s a quick overview of each network:
The article argues that operational and developmental networks happen naturally, but strategic networks don’t but are equally as important because…
“the forces that drive change in your field will probably come from outside your current world.”
Education is known for its walled gardens, but with shifting times and increasing external pressures, the need for Educators to build up their strategic network is extremely important so they can better be prepared for the outside forces that are driving change in their field. This theme was echoed at the last Student Affairs conference I attended:
It’s an honor to have so many Educators include me in their strategic network and respect my opinion and thoughts even though I don’t work day-to-day at an institution. Instead, my time is spent working on identity development, technology, social media, and online engagement with hundreds of institutions and businesses. My view, and world, are different but often very relevant to the shift happening in Education. Some value my view, others refuse to listen.
I consider many within the #SAchat community to be a part of my strategic network because they DO work day-to-day at an institution. I lean on many educators almost daily for advice and suggestions. Some of my best ideas come from people who are totally outside the work I do.
What about you? If you were to map out your strategic network, what people from what worlds would you want to include?
Gregg Breinberg’s work at PS22 continues to show me the impact one teacher can have on a whole group of students. Kudos to him and the work he’s doing with these kids. The Oscars better get ready because I know he and his students are going to rock the house.
Click here to see all the songs I’ve dug at some point.
The much hyped and anticipated movie about the US educational system, Waiting For Superman, opened nationwide about a week ago and has already sparked a lot of great conversations. If you haven't gone yet, go!
But before you buy your tickets, make it a Win-Win-Win experience by following the steps below:
Go enjoy Waiting for Superman and know that 100% of your ticket price is going to teachers who need it the most.
Donate your $15 to a very good teacher friend of ours who has a DonorsChoose page and is trying to raise money for her classroom. She's beyond an amazing teacher and dedicated to making all her kids amazing.
Bonus Win #4
Celebrate because YOU are amazing!
Ed Cabellon of SA Collaborative, #SAchat, and On The Go fame stopped into NYC today. Originally Annie and I were going to host him at Casa de Krieglbert for the night, but instead we just enjoyed a nice dinner so he could get back to his family in Boston.
If you care about Student Affairs and Technology, Ed should be a part of your personal learning network. Beyond his passion and knowledge, my favorite trait about Ed is how genuine he is.
Hat tip to you Ed and all your upcoming success over the next three years.
College of Coastal Georgia recently transitioned to a four-year residential institution. Among the many changes, the campus will soon include residence halls and a director of residence life. Dave Leenhouts, director of CCGA’s student life, heads the committee to hire their director of residence life.
In a conversation with Dave over the weekend, he talked about how the big buzz word on the committee is affinity housing. In other words, pre-matching roommates ahead of time based on similar traits to ensure higher retention rates.
The impact of first year roommates on an individual is huge and can have lasting life time effects from grades, to weight, to drinking habits. The NY Times recently posted an article on the science of roommates.
First-year roommates matter. Though they may go their separate ways sophomore year, their reach can ripple throughout the college years and after.
The researchers aren’t entirely clear on why one student has such an impact over another in their first year, but it sounds like a hybrid of the proximity effect of the Framingham Heart Study and the emotional gap felt by first year students.
CCGA is currently using Red Rover as their campus directory to socially connect first year students to similar students and campus clubs. Dave wants to go further and use the directory to roommate students based on similar interests, activities, and background.
An affinity housing dashboard is already within the scope of Red Rover. And because so much of Red Rover is data driven it will be interesting to study the results of matching roommates who are 100% identical verses those who are intellectually, socially, spiritually, etc opposites as a way to promote diversity.