Thought Catalog

Dear Incoming Freshman, The Pursuit Of Perfection In College Will Kill You

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 01:23 PM PDT

Kevin Dooley
Kevin Dooley

Depression runs in my family, and it was somewhat inevitable that I would eventually have to deal with it. But it wasn’t until I actually had started college, across the country from my friends and family, that I realized something was entirely wrong with my mental health.

I was perpetually in a state of stress and anxiety over everything, and it drained me so viciously, that there were times where I couldn’t even get up to go to class. I had to physically force myself to socialize with people I loved. I would switch from binge-eating to not eating anything at all; battling bouts of severe insomnia for days on end, until I could barely stay awake for over 90 minutes.

Between the mountain of studying I was putting off, the pressure I would put on myself to go out and socialize to seem “normal” and my body’s disgust over my strict diet of strawberry Pop-Tarts—I felt really, really alone.

There is this weird stigma about mental illness on college campuses that absolutely needs to be obliterated, so that students feel more open and welcoming to seek professional help.

Suicide among young adults (15-24) has tripled since the 1950s, and is recognized as the second most common cause of death among college and university students in the U.S.

Approximately 7.5 per 100,000 students commit suicide per year. One in 12 students have actually formulated a suicidal plan at one point in their collegiate careers, and the overall emotional health of college freshman has declined to the lowest point recorded in 25 years.

Often, the students who commit or contemplate suicide are not the ones you’d expect. The idea that those who are isolated and uninvolved in campus life are more prone to depression than others is completely false.

Society’s minimization of how trying mental illness can be damages many already fragile students. We have platforms such as Tumblr, which infuriatingly paints mental illness to be synonymous with “mysterious,” “haunting,” and “fascinating.”

Brandy Melville even produced a crop top with “Stressed, Depressed, But Well Dressed” printed on it.

(*Note @Brandy Melville, it should read: “Stressed, Depressed, And Not Even Remotely Well Dressed R U Kidding Me, I Haven’t Even Showered In Over 72 Hours.” Might be less charming at parties, but it’s accurate!!!!!!)

The outlandish expectations set up for college students—whether rooted in competitiveness, acceptance, or the economy—are incredibly detrimental and real.

And no blog post that accurately describes what it feels like to go through depression is going to neatly fit in Helvetica font, printed over a black and white photo of a girl smoking a cigarette.

With students competing over who slept the least the night before, who feels the most stressed out, or who most feels like they’ve overdosed on someone else’s Adderall prescription, mental health is romanticized to a dangerous extent.

There is a demand for students to be perfect in every academic, extra curricular, and social endeavor they encounter during these four years. And this perception of perfection manifests into an inhumane amount of pressure that contorts even the smallest slip-ups and mistakes into life-shattering monstrosities.

Stanford University recently dubbed this problem the "Duck Syndrome": a duck seems to effortlessly glide across the water, but beneath the surface, it frantically scrambles to keep moving.

What's twisted is, almost everybody finds themselves in the Duck Syndrome scenario, but nobody is willing to talk about it.

It took me almost two years of college before I was so overwhelmed with terror and panic, that I had to tell my parents. My first thought was that it would disappoint them. That because I was depressed, I was a failure.

And social media makes it worse. We constantly compare ourselves to what seems to take place on a screen; forgetting that all we're actually seeing is the duck on the surface of the water.

America has created this demand for hyper-achievement in college students, unleashing a clusterfuck of insane adolescents who are laser-point focused on success, without understanding that it's ok to fail.

We aren't strengthened by this method of competitiveness, we're being strangled by it.

As young adults, we shouldn't be lying in our beds, staring at the ceiling fan in our dorm room at 2pm, with the lights off and the blinds down, wondering whether or not our existence matters in the world. TC mark

“Things Feminist Men Have Said To Me” And The Problem With Allies

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 06:14 PM PDT

I hate allies. I hate the notion that women need saving, and that we need men to do it. I hate that we invent the need for allies because we think women are incapable of saving themselves. If feminism is a movement about being empowered, what could be less empowering than saying we need men in order to make change?

The problem is that if these men really believe in feminism, they shouldn’t be speaking on behalf of women, they should be encouraging women to speak for themselves. Here’s a beautiful piece of poetry about how it feels when allies speak for you.

Allies do not actually help the cause because they cookie-seek for their behavior, speak for the group they claim to be allied with, correct people about their own experiences, and they seek notoriety for their “benevolent” Twitter activism. There should be no allies. There should be no special place for someone in a movement just for doing the right thing as a bystander. There should be the people inside the group fighting for equality, decent humans and then the trash humans who disagree with feminism.

Tonight Twitter is alive with criticism as women share personal stories of men who call themselves allies under the hashtag #thingsfeministmenhavesaidtome because the concept of being an ally is flawed from the very beginning and lends itself to bringing in egotistical, narcissistic people to a movement who want to make it all about themselves, surprise! Here are some of the most insightful tweets:

Men who think feminism is babysitting their own kids

Men who think feminism is actually about men

Men who think they know more about feminism than women do

Men who straight up defend patriarchy

Men who need everything to be about them and their problems

Men who think women are the emotional sex (but never seem to think “anger” is an emotion)

Men who think women’s end goal is pleasing men

Men who put down women in the name of feminism

Men who literally can’t stand not being in charge of one thing

Men who don’t understand women are people until they have a daughter

I submit that we don’t actually need men to be our allies. We don’t need to be saved, we can speak for ourselves.

There’s a quote I love, “truly powerful women don't explain why they want respect. They simply don't engage those who don't give it to them.” Every woman is this powerful because every woman chooses who she engages with, which relationship she puts energy into, who she spends her time with, even who she works for in many cases. Women have the power to do feminism without needing men to help them. The men who support us can embrace us as a partner instead of through the imbalance of the white knight/damsel in distress relationship. TC mark

I Was Sentenced To 20 Years At A Federal Prison In Springfield, Missouri Until The Warden Freed Me. Here’s My Story.

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 06:32 AM PDT

Flickr / Les Haines
Flickr / Les Haines

On February 12, 2002, I was convicted of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and about 20 other related crimes. I was sentenced to 20 years in a maximum security prison. On June 2, 2002, I was released from prison and sent on my way. I was not placed on probation or parole. Those not intimately familiar with my case might scoff at the above statements, but they are completely factual. It is the events that occurred during that four month period that are the reasons my sentence was commuted and sent home.


I arrived at the United States Medical Center For Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri on February 13, 2002 at roughly nine in the morning. The two U.S. Marshals who delivered me handed the intake officer a stack of paperwork. One of the Marshals signed a form before leaving me in the care of the Bureau of Prisons. I was 18-years-old at the time and wet behind the ears. I had a lengthy juvenile record, but this was the big leagues. A guard read through my intake form.

"Hacker huh? You a homo or something?" he asked.

"No. Of course not,” I said.

He laughed.

"If you’re a homo you should tell me now. Homos go to a special cell block."

The guard proceeded to perform a cavity search and corralled me into a shower where he sprayed me with a hose. After that, I was issued a prisoner uniform, shoes, belt, hygiene supplies, a towel, blanket, and a badge with my prisoner number on it.

I was lucky. I had been assigned to C Block. C block had private rooms and a common area. My room was a 10-foot by 6-foot cell complete with a single bunk, a metallic toilet equipped with a sink basin installed next to it, and a locker that served as a nightstand and a table. There was a camera in the upper left hand corner over the three-inch thick steel door with a single tempered glass window at just about eye level.

Okay, so now that I’ve given you an idea of what kind of place I was at, Let me get down to brass tacks. This was a giant stone building where every imaginable evil was committed on a daily basis for the better part of 70 years by the time I got there. I’m not asking you to believe in ghosts, but I know for certain that that prison is haunted. Inmates reported — almost every day — hearing rustling noises outside their doors or knocking behind their cells walls. Also turned out nearly everyone on C block had a story about Old Jim.

Old Jim was a guard during the riot of 1941. Legend has it, he turned the corner onto C Block and a group of inmates tackled him to the ground and raped him to death. Other versions of the story claim they raped him and then stabbed him. The point is, he died horribly. On some nights when we were supposed to be asleep, we’d stand at our meal flaps and have conversations through the crack. Every now and then we’d hear keys jingling and footsteps in the hall. If anyone was brave enough to look up, they’d see nothing…if they were lucky.

Anyone that said they looked Old Jim in the eyes was called a liar. As the story goes, if you look Old Jim in the eyes, he’ll come to your cell and kill you. More than one inmate had been found mutilated in their cell over the years. Even with the cameras in place, there was no evidence that anyone had been in the cell aside from the victim.

We traded Old Jim sightings like campfire stories, but he was far from the only ghost roaming the halls. My cell in particular was especially terrifying. Unlike most cells, I had a grate in my ceiling. It had been bolted up with mesh wire, but that didn’t stop a previous occupant from making rope out of his sheet to hang himself. Some nights, I’d wake up and see a body dangling above me. I’d close my eyes as quickly as I could. I asked Sarge, one of the inmates I developed a bit of a friendship with, about the cell. He said that it was a white supremacist pro-Nazi guy that committed suicide in my cell back in the 50s.


A nasty storm rolled in one afternoon and knocked the power out. By that evening, the backup generators went out. C Block was on lockdown. The guard-in-charge sat in his office smoking as the rest of us were forced to do without. We could smoke on an enclosed stoop four times a day, but the electric lighter on the wall was about useless that day.

The snoring from the end of the hall meant the guard was asleep. Larry was a good guy and none of us had a problem with him. He had a bad habit of falling asleep and most nights that wouldn’t have been a problem, but after the storm, the magnetic doors weren’t working. The main door to the cell block still used a key, but all the interior doors were upgraded to use magnetic doors. Larry was asleep in the unlocked office, which also contained contraband on a cell block that housed two serial killers, a marine that went on a rampage, about a dozen killers, four terrorists, and a hacker. It did not end well for Larry.

Tyrell was a gangbanger from Chicago convicted of killing a DEA agent. Larry had busted Tyrell several times for trying to gain entry to the hygiene cabinet in the guard office. Tyrell snuck into the office and killed Larry. Larry didn’t even have a chance to scream — I doubt he even woke up. Tyrell grabbed Larry’s night stick and his keys. As he went for the main door, we all heard a jingling noise that sent all of us scrambling back to our cells.


I didn’t watch, but what I heard was bad enough. Tyrell screamed and then I heard him being dragged across the floor and down the hall. His hands made wet slaps against the smooth concrete as he tried to pull himself from Old Jim’s grip. We heard the shower come on and one final scream before the keys began jingling down the hall again. I looked up from my position crouching inside the door and saw the Nazi hanging below the grate.

"Gott ist todd," I heard him say.

Bernie, a former dentist and convicted serial killer lived in the cell across the hall from me. I heard Bernie shout, but I was paralyzed with fear. It was only when I saw the Nazi clawing at his noose, I moved out of the door with my eyes to the floor and headed for the common room. By this point, everyone was screaming, everyone that is, except Sarge.

Sarge reached out of his door and grabbed my shoulder. I almost suffered a heart attack on the spot. Sarge pulled me in and told me to be quiet. Sarge wasn’t innocent. He openly admitted to his crimes — something that was rare in a prison. While he was deployed in Iraq during Desert Storm, two men broke into his house and kidnapped his daughter. He received the news after returning from a mission. At that very moment he went AWOL, found his way back to the states and tracked those men down. By the time he was finished, you could have fit their remains in a shoe box. He turned himself in the next day.

"I think you’ll be fine kid, but I’m fucked," Sarge whispered.

"What? What do you mean?" I asked.

"All of us are lifers who deserve to be here. You fiddled with a computer, big whoop,” he whispered. “Look kid. My grandmother was a medicine woman and told me restless spirits can only hurt the damned. I don’t think you’re damned."

"B-but I’m an Atheist," I said.

Sarge laughed to himself and shook his head.

"Does this look like a situation where it makes sense to be an Atheist?" he asked.

The jingling sound was getting closer. By this point, lights were flickering, but weren’t fully back on. I looked up just as the lights flickered and when it went dark again, I found myself staring Old Jim directly in the eyes. Sarge shouted at the apparition.

"Hey ugly! I heard you went out like a bitch!"

Old Jim turned his head towards Sarge and knocked him to the ground. He reached down and grabbed Sarge by the leg. Sarge looked back at me shouting.

"Get somewhere safe and don’t open your eyes until the guards pull you out!"

Old Jim dragged Sarge outside of the room and I heard Sarge struggle to get free. I closed my eyes as I heard bones crunching and Sarge screaming. Unable to hear any more of it, I ran for the main door. The key was still in the lock. I turned it and ran to the smoking stoop. I sat there with my eyes closed for the next several hours.

The sun came up and with it came several guards. They pulled me off of the smoking stoop. I didn’t respond. I was all but catatonic at that point. I had seen things no one should ever live to see. I was moved to solitary for the better part of a week. Even after my stint in the SHU, I didn’t respond when questioned. It was only when I was finally brought to the warden, I started showing any sign of being mentally present.


The warden brought me to his office. He offered me some soda, but I didn’t respond. He clasped his hands behind his back and walked over to his desk.

"This happened back in ’44 and again in ’59. Before my time mind you, but I read the reports,” the warden admitted. “Never had a survivor before. Honestly, we don’t know what to do with you."

I looked up at him. He smiled.

"I talked to a friend of mine with the federal prosecutor’s office and he said you’re a non-violent offender that broke a computer or something and made some threats. He and I had a talk with an appellate judge we know and he ruled that certain evidence in your trial should have been ruled inadmissible."

I relaxed and bit more and sat back in the chair as a slight grin came to my face.

The warden offered me soda. I accepted.

"I believe prison should be about rehabilitation more than incarceration,” the warden said. “A lot of the sociopaths need to be locked away, but the ones that can be reformed should be reformed. Do you understand what I’m getting at?"

I nodded.

"I can’t speak to whether or not you are a sociopath. That’s a job for a psychiatrist,” he said. “But you survived something that has on more than one occasion killed every last inmate on that block. Someone or something decided that you should live. Who am I to argue with a higher power?"

He got up and turned toward the window.

"Tomorrow morning a pair of Marshals will drive you to an airport in St. Louis where you will be flown to Nashville, Tennessee and released into your own custody. Your sentence has been commuted to time served without probation or parole."

“Thank you, sir,” I stuttered. After all, I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

The warden turned around with an expression that looked like an equal mix of fear and sadness.

"I try not to think about the kinds of spirit that might inhabit this place, but you saw them firsthand. The official policy when an event like this happens in a government facility is to purge the records and deny any occurrence of supernatural activity. Now I can’t stop you from telling your story, but do me a favor and wait until I’m dead. I’d rather be safe in the Lord’s arms when you reveal what really happened that night,” he said.

I was led back to solitary confinement and released the next morning.

I’ve kept this story to myself for the better part of 13 years now. To this day, I jump when I hear keys jingling at night. I’ve gotten by so far by trying to rationalize what I saw or why I saw it, but I don’t have any answers that even begin to make sense.

I kept my promise though. Warden Michaels died last week at the age of 57. TC mark

What Type Of Horror Fan Are You?

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 09:39 AM PDT



Newbs just saw It Follows and realized horror is actually awesome. You’re the one that asks other horror-lovers for their favorite movies and are shocked when they name anything more than five years old. You REALLY love horror… as long as it's all new and mass-produced.

Thrill Seekers

The Amityville Horror
The Amittyville Horror

Thrill Seekers are always looking for a bigger and better haunted house or interactive experience, and are known as the first ones in, last ones out. You have this supernatural ability to know which haunted house locations are the best and most realistic. You have done The Great Horror Campout. To your friends, it seems that nothing can truly scare you — that’s because Thrill Seekers are a rock. You’re the person everyone wants by their side if any scary event happened to them in real life and you would DEFINITELY survive the zombie apocalypse — if there's an outbreak.

Creepypasta Connoisseur

Creepypasta Connoisseurs know the scariest places on the internet. “You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?" means something entirely different to you. You know who The Smiling Man is and you know the “real” story behind Lavender Town and Majora’s Mask (BEN Drowned). You did the Three Kings ritual and knew about NoSleep before it was a default subreddit.

Horror Book Nerds


Horror Book Nerds know that a good horror book can be WAY scarier than any horror movie. You're never happy when a good horror book takes to the silver screen because it doesn't ever measure up to the original text. You love Stephen King. Stephen King is your idol. You know where Stephen King lives. You still read Goosebumps now and then, just to relive your adolescent fears. And you will forever thank RL Stine for introducing you to your love of horror.

The Vintage Snob


The Vintage Snob loves horror movies but realizes their golden days have come and gone. You don't understand why people like these crappy Hollywood remakes of your beloved classics. When people say they love horror but haven't seen Nosferatu, your side eye can be heard 'round the world. You have (or had) a Creature From The Black Lagoon poster in your home. You know the remake of The Omen doesn’t come close to the original, which debuted 30 years prior. Vincent Price and Lon Chaney are your people.

Horror Gamers


Horror Gamers love to experience the interactive fear of horror — from the safety of their couch. You have very strong opinions on what is the most terrifying game of all time. You know Silent Hill 2 is infinitely better than the original. You love Lone Survivor in all it’s old school glory. You have at least one very embarrassing story about being so immersed in a game you jumped/screamed out loud because of a game (but you’ll never tell anyone).

Horror Movie Ph.Ds


Horror Movie Ph.Ds know literally everything about horror movies. If you know exactly which movies “go down the road to the Mackenzies” is in, this is your category. You love knowing little known facts about your favorite (and least favorite) films. People love watching movies with you because you can always tell them something interesting they didn’t know before. People fight over you when it’s time to play trivia.

Paranormal Truthers


Paranormal Truthers love horror because they’re obsessed with what might be out there. You know that there’s more to life than what we see on the surface, and you want to know what it is. You know about Black Eyed Kids and Mel’s Hole. You love listening to people’s true encounters with the paranormal. You might even go on ghost hunting investigations or be an aspiring ufologist.

Hard Core Horror Lifers


The Hard Core Horror Lifer is an expert at horror across all categories: books, games, movies. You’ve read about serial killers and paranormal phenomena, have the absolute best taste in horror movies, and are the person everyone turns to when October approaches to point them the way of the best Halloween activities. You have already started planning your Halloween costume and no, you won’t tell anyone what it is. TC mark

The Pros And Cons Of Going To College

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 08:26 AM PDT

Flickr / Pink Sherbet Photography
Flickr / Pink Sherbet Photography

Getting a degree wasted five years of my life. I got an undergraduate degree in Computer Science in three years.

Then I went to graduate school for Computer Science but was thrown out after two years after failing four courses in a row. I wrote three or four novels during that time. Which had nothing to do with my courses.

I wrote a novel about a porn novelist who falls in love with a prostitute. I wrote a novel about a man who invents his own currency. I wrote a lot about my childhood. I wrote a religious history novel. Nothing got published.

I put in my 10,000 hours of programming. I knew how to build an operating system. I could take apart and put together a computer.

If I lived in the 1800s, I probably could invent computers. I thought I was good.

When I got my first job in “the real world,” I was a programmer. My second day on the job, I crashed the entire network and lost everyone’s email.

My boss came into my cubicle (very embarrassing since everyone in the cubicles around could hear and would later gossip) and said, “We really want you to work out, but it’s not, so we are going to send you to remedial school on computers.”

I drove two hours every day to go to a remedial class in computer programming. I learned how to program and eventually started three or four software companies and invested in dozens of others.

The above is not saying “colleges are bad”. There are many aspects. The above just says: Here is what I learned, and here is what good it did me.

Did it even get me that first job? No. I failed the interview miserably. I knew the answers to none of the questions.

Another coincidence got me the job. I wrote about it before. Suffice to say, two weeks later I was offered the job and with a signing bonus. Thanks Rob!

Later that day, my then-boss started yelling at me about something insignificant. He didn’t know I had just been offered a job.

I held up my hand and said, “That’s fine. I don’t like to be yelled at, though, so I quit. Goodbye.”

He couldn’t believe it. He apologized. He wrote me an email and apologized. I wrote back, “Don’t treat people how you don’t want to be treated.” I still quit.

Six years later, when I was running a venture capital firm, he even pitched me a deal. I said, “Let me call you back on that.”

I never spoke to him again.

So this is my story of college to establish some credentials. I’ve written a lot about college. I had the No. 1 book on Amazon about “College Education” for about a year.

But let me tell you the latest pros and cons.

You don’t have to believe me. It’s very complicated. All I ask is that you see that the world is changing very fast.

And again, this is a trillion dollar industry that has other incentives than your education.

This is the honest truth:



There are no parents around. For me, I had a girlfriend for the first time. There’s nothing to prevent you from doing anything you want. So you do it. A lot.


I had never had alcohol or drugs before college.

By the end of my three years in college (I graduated a year earlier thanks to summer classes because I wanted to save money) I had gotten trashed many times and had tried marijuana and LSD.


When I was 19, my friends were 19. When I was 20, my friends were 20.

Now I’m 47. My friends range in age from 24 to 84, all different nationalities and sexual preferences, etc. This is real life. College is just extended high school.

I can’t think of any other “pros”.

What about an education?

I’ve been reading a few books a week since I was 23. It wasn’t until I left college that I learned to appreciate reading.

But other people do learn in college. I can’t argue with that. It’s person by person.

When you are force-fed books to read and facts to remember it’s very hard to enjoy them.

Imagine being locked in a cage and force-fed chocolate all day. You’d soon get sick of it.


1. COST and DEBT

This is usually cited as the biggest negative. It isn’t the biggest negative, but I will put it here anyway.

The average college-educated person age 18-35 made $36,000 a year in 1990. Now that same average person makes $33,000. This is taken right out of tax data.

And yet, student loans have gone up from almost nothing to $1.4 trillion.

If you are 25, have a great idea that can change the world, and want to start a company, how will you do it if now you have to be chained to a cubicle to pay back your debt?

You can’t even declare bankruptcy to get rid of your debt. With one hand, the government feeds you to the slaughterhouse (college) and with the other, they seize all of your assets.

It’s a great business to be in if you can get it.


The other day I spoke to Scott Young. For $2000, and in 10 months time, he got an MIT Computer Science degree.

How did he do it? They put their entire course load online. Maybe this will stop at some point.

They do it because they know people still think it’s worth it to spend $200,000 to do the exact same thing Scott did but still get that piece of paper that says “BS”.

When employers were asked, “Would you hire Scott even though he doesn’t have the actual degree?” (he took all the courses and tests but of course could not get a piece of paper that said he did it) many of them said, “Yes. He has initiative.”

Many schools put their curriculum online. Then there are online-only schools like Codeacademy, Lynda, Coursera, uDemy, CreativeLive, Fedora, etc., where you can take GREAT courses.


I loved computers. But what if, instead of spending five years learning the academic version of computers (and then still having to take remedial classes), I had just simply started working with computers?

Maybe even starting a business? Who knows?

Many other well-known software companies started by 19- or 20-year-olds started that way. What if I had done it?

Instead I had to wait 5 years before even considering it because i was using the most valuable time in my life to take classes that taught me nothing.

I’m not bitter (see the Pros) but I often wonder what would have been different.

What if you are not a scientist? Doesn’t matter. My daughter wants to study acting. Why can’t she just spend that time going to auditions and getting real roles.

I spoke to Mark Messick recently. He’s 16 years old, dropped out of school at 11, and now makes $4000 a month writing books. Living the dream.

He still goes to extracurricular activities at his school to maintain his friendships, but other than that he is light years ahead of his classmates in education and opportunity.


There was a study done: Quiz students 1 minute after they get out of class and then 50 minutes after they get out of a class.

After 50 minutes, they had almost zero retention of what they learned in the class.

The only way to learn something is to have a passionate interest in it, then learn it, then repeat it, then try to teach it to someone else.

This is not something taught in school. Kids are taught facts and not questions. And yet questioning the world is how all knowledge is learned.

After college, 80% of people never pick up a book again. If you just read five pages a day (10-20 minutes, the time it takes to read People Magazine) of something you are interested in, you’ll read 1800 pages more per year than everyone else.

Advantages are not created in a classroom, they are created in 1% a day of personal improvement.


Many universities, to tout their benefits, have done the exact same study: People who got a degree, 20 years later, have made up to $500,000, give or take, more in their career then people who didn’t have a degree.

This is a spurious study. It has no control group. It’s based on a demographic from the 1970s and 1980s when people from middle class families went to colleges and people from lower-class families often didn’t.

This could be the entire reasons for the income difference but the studies don’t mention that.

Here’s a study: Take everyone who got accepted to Harvard. Tell half of them you can’t go to college ever. Instead, get your four year head start on making money.

Then see who has more money 20 years later.


I ask my kids: Why do you think it’s good to go to college. Despite my insistence (maybe because of it) they still think it’s a good idea to go to college.

My kids are actually rebelling against me by getting a traditional education.

They both say the same thing, “It’s a safety net so you can get a job.”

“Who tells you this?” They have no answer. It’s just in the air.

Forget the income numbers I cite above. There are changes happening.

Just this past week, Ernst & Young, the accounting firm, said they will no longer care if an applicant has a college degree.

Google has said they will stop looking at it.

More and more people will stop looking at whether or not you have a college degree.

And the safety net has disappeared. I see it in my own companies. Middle management across the United States is getting demoted.


1. Study many things. Study things you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy anything, work on a charity or travel the world (yes, this costs money but it’s cheaper than college).

2. Work at a job. If you want to be a doctor, work at a hospital and see if you really enjoy it.

3. Read every day. Five pages a day.

4. Learn these skills that are critical in every aspect of life but are never taught in college:

  • Sales
  • Negotiating.
  • Well-being / Positive psychology
  • Failure
  • Communication

I was at a dinner once. Someone who was working for Mayor Bloomberg asked me, “Would you let someone who didn’t go to college give you brain surgery?”

I said, “It’s not about me. Would you let your son who has no interest in being a doctor, go to four years of school and another years of medical school just so he can operate on my brain even though he hates every minute of it and gets a million dollars into debt?”

The average person has 14 different careers in their life. But now because of the costs and the debt, they are chained to that first career forever.

Make the choices that allow you to cast away the chains as quickly as possible.

Go to the COLLEGE OF YOU. It has one course: Every day wake up and ask, How can I improve 1% over where I was yesterday in any area of my life?

You have a mission here. Fly out of the nest and accomplish it. TC mark

10 Unconventional Ways To Make This School Year Epic (That You Haven’t Thought To Try Yet)

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 01:16 PM PDT

Does it seem like you're living the same school year over and over again? We know the feeling. That's why this year, we've partnered with HP and their versatile x360 convertible PC to show you just how much more epic this year could be. We know you're someone who isn't afraid to bend the rules – and it's about time you have the technology that can keep up.

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Run Away With Me

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 08:19 AM PDT


Run away with me.

Pack your bags and leave your reservations behind. Unpack your hopes and your fears and every dream that you let drop by the wayside over the years. Pick up your wildest childhood fantasies and let's steal away in the night. We'll leave this wasteland, ditch this city, let the lights flicker off and burn out in our wake because we're going somewhere where the sun burns long into the night.

Leave it all behind with me. We'll run from our failures and misgivings, drench ourselves in sweet possibilities, dip our toes into the oceans of regret and dry our souls out in the sunlight of forgiveness. Forget about what was ever meant to come next. Forget the 9-5s, the wasted lives, the eventual decay of wasting away under someone else's ideal of who you were meant to become. We'll leave it all. We'll pack up in the dead of night and find ourselves a world away by morning, with the wind at our backs and the sunrise on our skin.

Leave your pride and cynicism. Leave your bitterness and pain. We have no use for such things where we're going; we'll run straight out of the forest of our fears and strip ourselves of every limitation we've clung onto through the years. Take me to the dawn of all your passions, to the heart of your hopes, to the child that still lives on inside of you, with your dreams and understandings clasped between his tiny hands.

Don't worry about right and wrong. For tonight, forget about all of the ought to's and the maybes and the shoulds. There is a world that exists outside the land of right and wrong and together we can go and we can live there. We'll worship compassion like religion and we'll wash away our sins between the sheets. Let me see all of the best and all the worst of you. I'll relish in the sunshine of your virtue. I'll traverse the badlands of your heart.

We don't have to live the way that we were meant to. There's a secret I know about living and it's written in the pattern of your skin, in the space that stretches in between your ribcage, in every breath you take that brings you one step closer to the life you should be living – beckoning you closer, calling you home. There’s a place out there for people like you and like me. There's a world that I know we can take hold of, if you'll leave your fears behind and come find it with me, agree to resign with me and walk into that bleary unknown of all your deepest desires and wildest dreams.

Please don't give me excuses.

I am tired of being the one who hesitates, the one who deliberates, the one who is always being asked to stay, to stop, to settle down and think things over, when the desire to run is pulsating through my bloodstream with a strength and ferocity that I can no longer fail to give into.

I'm tired of making excuses, of crafting solutions, of taming and hiding and extinguishing this flame because the others cannot take the light. Baby, let's go somewhere where these fires can roar. We'll fan the flame of every lust, light all of our longings on fire and watch our passion blaze into the night.

I see a flicker in your eyes and destruction in your smile. And together, we can burn this whole world down. TC mark

10 Reasons Travel Is The Easiest Way To Change Your Life

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 07:51 AM PDT

Flickr / Mai
Flickr / Mai

Whenever I want to make a change in my life, I choose to travel. I've tried self-help books, internet videos, and local programs – but nothing seems to work so brilliantly as the open road. When you're traveling it just seems like everything is geared towards personal development. Here are ten reasons why travel makes change easy, and why you should choose to travel too.

1. What hurt you before can't hurt you now

Maybe you hang with the wrong crowd, work at a stress factory, or your relationships are a mess. Whichever it may be, recognize that your environment has a HUGE impact on you. And leaving it temporarily can make all the difference. You can worry about re-integrating later. But for now, get the heck out of there!

2. There is a place for that

So you want to control your anger? Try a Buddhist retreat in South East Asia. Had enough of luxury? Experience life in Africa. Want to get off the booze? Visit a dry country. Want to get in touch with your spiritual side? Then go to India! Ok that's enough. Point is – whatever you're trying to accomplish, there are entire cultures out there practically just waiting to help you.

3. There are tons of people doing the same thing

Honestly, most people travel because they're looking for something. For knowledge or wisdom or direction or whatever – they're on a quest. And since you are too, help is never far away. Every traveler has a piece of your puzzle. Get out there and start collecting!

4. There are no limits to what you can do

Whether you're looking to kick a simple habit or , anything is possible on the road. You can go anywhere, experience anything, and change any aspect of you – dependent only on your willingness to do so. The world contains people practicing every lifestyle extreme you can imagine, seeking person growth or life change is no different. You can do it!

5. Traveling FORCES you to change

Spend enough time away from home and you're bound to leave your comfort zone. You're going to dance out directions to people who don't understand you and you're going to smell terrible on a spontaneous date. There's just no way around it. But the way you deal with these difficult and awkward situations will automatically have a lasting impact on you. That's a guarantee.

6. Every culture is also a perspective

We've all heard that 'a different point of view' is beneficial. But really, how possible is this when most local folk think in the same silly old way??? If you really want a new perspective then leave your country. Most of who I am today is a result of the places I have visited while traveling. Cultural perspectives have lasting impacts.

7. Your main focus is YOU

No work, no lawn, and no dishes. Just you, you, and more you. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to experience? What do you want to change and how do you do it? The time you get to spend thinking about you almost becomes meditative. This alone will change you.

8. There is no one there to stop you

How much does it suck when you want to do something that your friends and family don't? Time to break free. The more you leave behind, the more you can become. You can simply do as you do as is perfect for you!

9. Traveling is intense

While on the road you experience both highs and lows – and often times extremes of both. There are no constants to pad you and no familiarities to hold your strings or break your fall. Life becomes a constant roller coaster where everything is amplified. One moment you're top of the world, and the next moment you're at rock bottom. Survive long enough and you'll simply forget that a bad cup of coffee or waiting in traffic was even an issue. You'll laugh at how stupid it all seems.

10. Your commitment to yourself will inspire others

Leaving everything behind to accomplish you goals or to realize your dreams is ambitious as hell. It takes courage to do it and many people never will simply because they're too scared or because they're too comfortable with comfort. Define what you desire and go out there and get it. Don't let anything or anyone get in your way, including yourself. Because you can accomplish anything! TC mark

33 Hilarious Comments That Show Why ‘Ken M’ Is The Best Troll On The Internet

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 08:15 AM PDT


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You’re An Asshole If You Follow @TheFatJewish

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 07:01 AM PDT

Besides being an asshole, you're also supporting a thief.

You see, Josh Ostrovkey, more famously known as @TheFatJewish on Instagram, steals content that actual, professional, working comedians and writers create and then doesn't give them credit. Now he's getting rewarded for thievery with book deals and a Comedy Central pilot (UPDATE: thanks to backlash, this pilot is no more), even though his only artistic ability appears to be cropping screen grabs.

He's not the only person doing this, but he's the most famous one. With every joke he steals, and you like, the more famous he gets, and the more of an asshole you both become.

Oh, and Instagram is in on this asshole game. The very first Instagram guideline reads:

Share only photos and videos that you've taken or have the right to share. As always, you own the content you post on Instagram. Remember to post authentic content, and don't post anything you've copied or collected from the Internet that you don't have the right to post.

Does the Fat Jew own any of these screen grabs? No. Yet Instagram allows his behavior to continue, because assholes make great company for other assholes.



Sometimes it feels like we know so much about the internet, but it really is the Wild West, a lawless land where users rights are actively broken with zero protection or retribution. By sharing content online, is it still your content? Yes and no. Yes because there's visual proof that you created it; no because people can rightfully "steal" it without giving you credit. Many accounts regularly steal content from others, but rarely do the accounts make a shit ton of money doing it like the Fat Jew is doing.

By unfollowing @TheFatJewish and others like him, you can make a statement that the work created by real artists — writers, photographers, meme creators, even just regular folks — matters and should be respected and credited. But it's not just up to you, it's also up to platforms like Instagram to stop accounts like @TheFatJewish from continuing their asshole parade of thievery.

Maybe I'm being harsh because I'm a working writer that believes words still matter. You're not really an asshole, and I guess the Fat Jew isn't either. If you're anything like me you like to laugh, and the Fat Jew obviously knows what makes us laugh. So how about giving credit to the comedians and writers he steals from? Maybe then he could be what he should have been all along, an awesome curator of funny. TC mark