DIYing higher education and campus culture
By Jakob Barry, Contributing Writer
One of the first things that come to mind when deciding which post-secondary school to go to is the cost of tuition for colleges and universities and how it’s only going up. Add room and board into the mix and it’s likely to average at least fifteen to twenty thousand dollars a year not including the host of other expenses that will accumulate from things like travel, books, and daily necessities.
For this reason asking yourself the question is it right for you is totally valid since the likelihood of going into the real world with a lot of debt may not be appealing, especially in a global economy which hasn’t fully recovered from recent recessions.
That said, if you’re contemplating alternatives have you considered DIYing higher education? Among other things it would require:
- Creating your own curriculum
- Receiving guidance in a field of choice from respected personalities connected to that field
- Taking on an apprenticeship to gain hands-on knowledge
Going it alone would be a lot of work but it could also be extremely fulfilling.
Going it alone would be a lot of work but it could also be extremely fulfilling. After all, not every successful person went to college and there are plenty of high paying jobs out there that don’t require a degree.
At the same time a few things would be missing from the usual college or university setting, most notably a campus and everything associated with one. In some instances this may not be so bad, however, there are other positive aspects of the campus experience that should not be discounted since they encompass opportunities to be active in the community, learn from others, and simply have some fun.
That being the case, with a little creativity and imagination, and utilizing both public and private resources, every effort should be made to create a framework for a personalized campus that would suit your needs and be put into practice.
Some suggestions for realizing this goal include the following:
Let’s start with the living quarters. Everyone needs their own personal space but at most schools where students live on campus dorms don’t necessarily have the reputation for being the best places to retreat to, recharge in, and contemplate the decisions being made in life. Usually there are always so many things going on in dorms even quiet hours can be distracting.
When trying to accomplish a self declared learning regimen you still need a space to call your own. It may be the room you grew up in, one lent to you by a neighbor, or one in an apartment you are renting. Either way it can act as both the dorm room and space fundamental to your natural progression and due to the fact it’s not a true dorm it can be much more.
Get a small fridge, a spacious desk, put up some posters and do whatever you feel like doing to make it the best hangout/incubator for you.
At the same time since DIYing your college education requires a lot of discipline the room needs to stay orderly for the mind to remain sane. After all, when personal space breaks down everything else can take a turn for the worse so make it a priority for the living space to always remain a tranquil nurturing setting.
Students living on campus often have their board automatically taken care of and usually three meals a day waiting for them at the school cafeteria.
For those living the DIY student lifestyle eating meals can be more of a challenge mainly because they don’t come ready made.
One solution is to cook greater portions of main courses freezing them so there are prepared meals throughout the week.
Another is to find others in similar situations and form a communal meal plan where members get together to set a menu, a budget, a schedule, and prepare food.
Either way one of the biggest advantages of making your own meals is they can be healthier and more nutritious than what’s typically served on a regular campus because the decision is all yours as to what goes into them. The key is to make the most of your freedom.
Finally there is the great outdoors. Depending on where a college or university is located, whether it’s in a rural area or in the middle of a city, campuses can run the gamut of a few buildings to large swaths of land. That outdoor space can be very important for students because it’s where they go to study, meet other students, get some sun, or simply escape the confines of the classroom.
When DIYing higher-ed a number of things can be done to compensate for not having a campus to call your own.
The first is to use the outdoor campus of a local college or university, which often has parks, ponds, grassy knolls, and other ecological formations. Most of these areas are not usually closed off to the public and are free for anyone to roam.
Meanwhile, in cases where a local campus is not available there are usually plenty of parks within town and city limits which can be used in the same way as long as they are respected. The most important thing is to mark an area that is for you, literally make a map with borders, and enjoy it’s beauty to the fullest.
Jakob Barry is a green living journalist for Networx.com. Networx.com helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to electricians and heating contractors, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.