I tried college. All I got from sitting in classrooms for two years was a substantial amount of student debt.

After dropping my classes, I did everything I could to take risks and try exciting things in the real world. I experienced real freedom by being intentional and proactive about my life and career—something I never would have found in Hitchcock Hall’s lecture room.

Since dropping out, it has been my mission to build an alternative to college. To give kids like me a better option. One that inspires creativity and work ethic, not obedience and binge drinking. One that places value on actual results, not B.S. credentials (see what I did there?).

The problem is: I had no idea how to build a program like the one I imagine. I didn’t know where to start. I tried to attack this from a few different angles, but to no avail. In fact, the biggest thing I learned through this process was that I lack the necessary experience. It’s hard to start a new company in a new industry with no direction, a budding network, and limited industry experience. As much as I wish I naturally knew what to do to create my own solution, I’m more of a hands-on learner and I thrive in existing systems.

This was a humbling conclusion to come to. I followed the advice from books like The Magic of Thinking Big and Think and Grow Rich, and I thought big. I told myself I could figure it out if I tried hard enough, if I had the right mindset.

Don’t get me wrong, mindset is important – but mindset alone won’t give you a solid, effective plan of action. For that, you need experience and direction.

Then I heard about Praxis. An existing startup that provides apprenticeships to kids who want a better option. They inspire creativity and work ethic. They place value on actual results. Sound familiar?

So I decided to try to work for them. They’re tackling the exact problem I want to work on, and they’re good at it.

As Derek Magill’s blog posts discuss, the best way to get a job from scratch is to provide value for the company before you’re expected to.

This becomes tricky if you don’t have the experience to know what would be valuable for them.

I started following their blogs, podcasts, and I reached out to past and current participants in their program, learning as much as I could about the business, the industry, and the program itself.

I even went out on a limb and spoke in some college classes, in an attempt to recruit applicants for them. My efforts were ineffective and inefficient because I was targeting the wrong market.

Luckily, Praxis is a program for people who want to jump-start their careers. They place participants in apprenticeships with startups, giving them the experience to do what they want to do with their career.

So here I am, going through the application process with a goal of doing Praxis…on Praxis.

We’ll see where this goes. I’ll keep you updated.


Photo cred: Boz Nobel