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Our Video of the Month is that of Malala Yousafzai; a young girl who defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived and went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

1 of 6 quotes:
“If I win Nobel Peace Prize, it would be a great opportunity for me, but if I don't get it, it's not important because my goal is not to get Nobel Peace Prize, my goal is to get peace and my goal is to see the education of every child.”
—Malala Yousafzai

 

Malala Yousafzai Biography


Synopsis

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan. As a child, she became an advocate for girls' education, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her. On October 9, 2012, a gunman shot Malala when she was traveling home from school. She survived, and has continued to speak out on the importance of education. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. In  2014,  she was nominated again and won, becoming the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.


Early Life

On July 12, 1997, Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan, located in the country's Swat Valley. For the first few years of her life, her hometown remained a popular tourist spot that was known for its summer festivals. However, the area began to change as the Taliban tried to take control.


Initial Activism

Yousafzai attended a school that her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, had founded. After the Taliban began attacking girls' schools in Swat, Malala gave a speech in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2008. The title of her talk was, "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?"

In early 2009, Yousafzai began blogging for the BBC about living under the Taliban's threats to deny her an education. In order to hide her identity, she used the name Gul Makai. However, she was revealed to be the BBC blogger in December of that year.

With a growing public platform, Yousafzai continued to speak out about her right, and the right of all women, to an education. Her activism resulted in a nomination for the International Children's Peace Prize in 2011. That same year, she was awarded Pakistan's National Youth Peace Prize.


Targeted by the Taliban

Malala and her family learned that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her because of her activism. Though Malala was frightened for the safety of her father—an anti-Taliban activist—she and her family initially felt that the fundamentalist group would not actually harm a child.

 

On October 9, 2012, when 15-year-old Malala was riding a bus with friends on their way home from school, a masked gunman boarded the bus and demanded to know which girl was Malala. When her friends looked toward Malala, her location was given away. The gunman fired at her, hitting Malala in the left side of her head; the bullet then traveled down her neck. Two other girls were also injured in the attack.

 

The shooting left Malala in critical condition, so she was flown to a military hospital in Peshawar. A portion of her skull was removed to treat her swelling brain. To receive further care, she was transferred to Birmingham, England.


After the Attack

Once she was in the United Kingdom, Yousafzai was taken out of a medically induced coma. Though she would require multiple surgeries—including repair of a facial nerve to fix the paralyzed left side of her face—she had suffered no major brain damage. In March 2013, she was able to begin attending school in Birmingham.


The shooting resulted in a massive outpouring of support for Yousafzai, which continued during her recovery. She gave a speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday, in 2013. She has also written an autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, which was released in October 2013. Unfortunately, the Taliban still considers Yousafzai a target.


Despite the Taliban's threats, Yousafzai remains a staunch advocate for the power of education. On October 10, 2013, in acknowledgement of her work, the European Parliament awarded Yousafzai the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. That same year, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She didn't win the prize, but was named a nominee again in March 2014. In August of the same year, Leanin.Org held a live chat on Facebook with Sheryl Sandberg and Yousafzai about the importance of education for girls around the world. She talked about her story, her inspiration and family, her plans for the future and advocacy, and she answered a variety of inquiries from the social network’s users.


In October 2014, Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. At age 17, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In congratulating Yousafzai, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “She is (the) pride of Pakistan, she has made her countrymen proud. Her achievement is unparalleled and unequaled. Girls and boys of the world should take lead from her struggle and commitment." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described her as "a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher.”


For her 18th birthday on July 12, 2015, also called Malala Day, the young activist continued to take action on global education by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. Its expenses covered by the Malala Fund, the school was designed to admit nearly 200 girls from the ages of 14 to 18. "Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world's children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets," Yousafzai proclaimed in one of the school's classrooms.


That day, she also asked her supporters on The Malala Fund website: "Post a photo of yourself holding up your favorite book and share why YOU choose #BooksNotBullets - and tell world leaders to fund the real weapon for change, education!" The teenage activist wrote: “The shocking truth is that world leaders have the money to fully fund primary AND secondary education around the world - but they are choosing to spend it on other things, like their military budgets. In fact, if the whole world stopped spending money on the military for just 8 days, we could have the $39 billion still needed to provide 12 years of free, quality education to every child on the planet.”

 
In October 2015, a documentary about Yousafzai's life was released. HE NAMED ME MALALA, directed by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman), gives viewers an intimate look into the life of Malala, her family, and her commitment to supporting education for girls around the world.

Published in Video of the Month

Wole Soyinka Biography

ActivistPlaywright (1934–)
Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, poet, author, teacher and political activist who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.


Synopsis

Wole Soyinka was born on July 13, 1934, in Nigeria and educated in England. In 1986, the playwright and political activist became the first African to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. He dedicated his Nobel acceptance speech to Nelson Mandela. Soyinka has published hundreds of works, including drama, novels, essays and poetry, and colleges all over the world seek him out as a visiting professor.


Early Life

Wole Soyinka was born Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Babatunde Soyinka on July 13, 1934, in Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria. His father, Samuel Ayodele Soyinka, was a prominent Anglican minister and headmaster. His mother, Grace Eniola Soyinka, who was called "Wild Christian," was a shopkeeper and local activist. As a child, he lived in an Anglican mission compound, learning the Christian teachings of his parents, as well as the Yoruba spiritualism and tribal customs of his grandfather. A precocious and inquisitive child, Wole prompted the adults in his life to warn one another: “He will kill you with his questions.”

After finishing preparatory university studies in 1954 at Government College in Ibadan, Soyinka moved to England and continued his education at the University of Leeds, where he served as the editor of the school's magazine, The Eagle. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in English literature in 1958. (In 1972 the university awarded him an honorary doctorate).

 

Plays & Political Activism

In the late 1950s Soyinka wrote his first important play, A Dance of the Forests, which satirized the Nigerian political elite. From 1958 to 1959, Soyinka was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller fellowship and returned to Nigeria to study African drama.

In 1960, he founded the theater group, The 1960 Masks, and in 1964, the Orisun Theatre Company, in which he produced his own plays and performed as an actor. He has periodically been a visiting professor at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Yale.

"The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism."
Soyinka is also a political activist, and during the civil war in Nigeria he appealed in an article for a cease-fire. He was arrested for this in 1967, and held as a political prisoner for 22 months until 1969.

 

Nobel Prize and Later Career

In 1986, upon awarding Soyinka with the Nobel Prize for Literature, the committee said the playwright "in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence." Soyinka sometimes writes of modern West Africa in a satirical style, but his serious intent and his belief in the evils inherent in the exercise of power are usually present in his work. To date, Soyinka has published hundreds of works. 

In addition to drama and poetry, he has written two novels, The Interpreters (1965) and Season of Anomy (1973), as well as autobiographical works including The Man Died: Prison Notes (1972), a gripping account of his prison experience, and Aké ( 1981), a memoir about his childhood. Myth, Literature and the African World (1975) is a collection of Soyinka’s literary essays.

“Against my rational instincts, I believe that we have here a genuine case of a born-again democrat,” he said. Ultimately, “the real heroes of this exercise have been the Nigerian people and that gingers me up.”

Now considered Nigeria’s foremost man of letters, Soyinka is still politically active and spent the 2015 election day in Africa’s biggest democracy working the phones to monitor reports of voting irregularities, technical issues and violence, according to The Guardian. After the election on March 28, 2015, he said that Nigerians must show a Nelson Mandela–like ability to forgive president-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s past as an iron-fisted military ruler, according to Bloomberg.com.

Soyinka has been married three times. He married British writer Barbara Dixon in 1958; Olaide Idowu, a Nigerian librarian, in 1963; and Folake Doherty, his current wife, in 1989. In 2014, Soyinka revealed he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and cured 10 months after treatment.

 
Published in Newsletter World Icon

 

Many leaders also serve as parents, happily balancing a daily workload with ball games and family dinners. Along the way, most of these leader-parents also realize the influence they have over young minds. Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, especially if those children have parents who are leaders.


While leadership skills can come naturally, children learn lessons along the way that significantly impacts them later in life. The right words at the right time can make all the difference.


Here are 15 great tips to help you instill the right skills in the future leaders in your life.


1. Set a good example
 

As a leader, you realize the importance of setting a good example for your team. This is even truer of your role as a parent. By allowing your children to see how well you balance your business and personal roles, you’ll teach them accountability through effective leadership.

 


2. Encourage team activities
 

Early on, identify your children’s interests and encourage their participation in group activities. Whether it’s joining a scouting troop, participating in sports or joining the school band, children learn valuable lessons about teamwork through these activities.

 


3. Emphasize perseverance.
 

The best leaders learn to handle failure as gracefully as they handle success. It’s important to expose future leaders to disappointment rather than protecting them from it. Children need to learn to handle the loss and move forward when the other team wins or someone else is elected class president.

 


4. Build negotiation skills
 

Every good leader knows the art of compromise. Instead of giving your children a firm “yes” or “no” to a request, make an offer and allow them to counter that offer by offering solid points. Teach them negotiation skills like never giving up something without asking for something else in return.

 


5. Hone decision-making abilities
 

Children should learn how to make good decisions as early in life as possible. Because children become overwhelmed by too many choices, narrow down the options to two or three, whether a child is deciding on afternoon activities or a movie to watch. My wife Kristy says "Teach your children to weigh the pros and cons of each option in order to make the most informed decision possible. This will help them to make correct decisions in everyday life."

 


6. Practice confident communication
 

When you go to a restaurant, do you place orders for your children? You can actually turn a simple dinner into a confidence-building exercise by having your children speak directly to servers. Allowing them to order and speak directly to servers will help them gain confidence in themselves and be able to communicate what they need.

 


7. Encourage work
 

Often children are eager to begin working in some capacity. If your child wants to set up a lemonade stand, support them and encourage it. Once your children are old enough, they can take on work opportunities like babysitting and mowing neighborhood yards, provided you live in a safe neighborhood. These early jobs can be essential to building leadership skills in children.

 


8. Enroll in summer camp
 

Summer camp is filled with opportunities to participate in team-building activities. Once youth reach a certain age, they may even be asked to help counselors. While many camps require counselors to be 18, a regular camp attendee may be able to land a spot assisting counselors, where they’ll be tasked with leading groups of younger children.

 


9. Have family game night
 

Instead of spending an evening staring at your respective screens, consider an evening of board games instead. A family game night not only provides a unique way to spend time together, it helps children learn to be a good sport, play by the rules, and think strategically.

 


10. Teach project planning skills
 

As a family, you likely have many planned events, from family vacations to visiting relatives. As you prepare, don’t leave children out of the planning process. Treat each event as though it were a business project, holding brainstorming sessions and delegating smaller tasks to your young family members.

 


11. Use vision boards
 

One fun way to teach children goal-setting is through the use of vision boards. They’ll have fun cutting out pictures and arranging them on a board, and in the process they will learn how to visualize what they want to achieve.

 


12. Avoid jumping in
 

When your child works on a project or activity, it can be tempting to jump in and help, especially if you see your child struggling. Instead, consider stepping back and letting your children work through it themselves. After the fact, you can review the obstacles and challenges that emerged during the task and ask for ideas on how things could have been done differently.

 


13. Find a mentor
 

As great an example as you are to your children, a mentor can be invaluable. A trusted friend or family member can be a great mentor, especially if that person is accomplished in an area in which your child expresses interest. There are also organizations that can supply screened members as mentors.

 


14. Encourage reading
 

Studies have shown the benefits of reading for fun in childhood, with children who read having greater intellectual progress in a variety of subjects. Young readers tend to learn more about the world, even when the reading is of a frivolous nature.

 


15. Reward optimistic thinking
 

The fact that optimism is connected to success should not be lost on your family. Reward optimism, especially when that optimism is connected to attempting to reach a goal.


Financial expert Miranda Marquit teaches that "to teach your children money management you need to allow them to make mistakes. Have them make a list of what they want, then help them to prioritize what on the list is more important and have them save for it." This will teach them valuable lessons that will help them throughout their whole life. It will also help them know what they can and can't afford.


In small ways, today’s leaders can prepare younger generations for their future as business leaders. Each of these suggestions will not only create better leaders, but can help children perform better in school and develop better personal relationships throughout life.

 
 
Source: entrepreneur.com
 
 
Published in Newsletter Articles

Miyan Zogale(moringa soup) is another one of the popular Hausa soups. This soup is healthy because of the use of moringa leaves.

 

  I supposed you must have heard the story behind the moringa leaves. They are very medicinal and a healthy choice for vegetable.

 

If you can’t find moringa leaves, you can also use spinach or ugu (fluted pumpkin) alternatively. Miyan zogale as well as most Hausa soups are served with semo or tuwo shinkafa.

Miyan Zogale(moringa soup) is another one of the popular Hausa soups. This soup is healthy because of the use of moringa leaves.

 

  I supposed you must have heard the story behind the moringa leaves. They are very medicinal and a healthy choice for vegetable.

 

 

This soup is very easy to prepare, it can be made in under 60 minutes, provided the moringa leaves are already parboiled.

Miyan Zogale (moringa soup)

 

Moringa leaves can be hard sometimes and takes up to 60 minutes of cooking before they go soft. Just add water and start cooking. You can drink the water after cooking. It is medicinal.

 

However, it all depends on the leaves. If the leaves are not from a matured tree it may take just about 15-30 minutes to go soft.

 

Ingredients Includes | Serving: 6

  • Ground dried groundnut (2 cups)
  • Parboiled moringa.
  • 2 cups of ground groundnut.
  • 2 teaspoon of daddawa
  • Ground crayfish (3 Table spoons)
  • Beef (1kg)
  • Palm oil (150ml)
  • Ground tomato (400ml)
  • Seasonings
  • Maggi (1 cube)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.(Half cup)

You will see the groundnut in the orange bowl and tomatoes in the green bowl. What you are seeing in the other orange bowl is boiled meat.

 

The black thing in a container near the maggi is called daddawa in Hausa, our local maggi.

Daddawa is made from soy beans, sugar and some other ingredients.

It serves as a local sweetener for most Hausa foods.

 

These are groundnuts, they act as thickener for Miyan Zogale(moringa soup). Just ground as it is, you dont need to peel off the back or fry it.

You can start by parboiling the meat. Use onions, a cube of maggi, teaspoon of daddawa and a teaspoon of salt.

 

Heat your red oil for about a minute. Add the ground tomatoes and allow frying for up to 8 minutes. Remember to stir continuously, so you don’t end up with burned tomatoes.

Once the tomato is properly fried, add the meat with the stock and allow to boil for up to 10mins.

 

Add 3 cups of water and then add all the other ingredients except moringa and the groundnut.

Below is what parboiled moringa looks like.

When it boils for 10 mins then add the groundnut but not much. Add and stir, the groundnut does the job of thickening the soup. Observe before you add more.

 

Allow it to cook for 20 mins, when the groundnut is cooked you will see oil at the top of the soup. Then you can now add the moringa leaves. And allow simmering for 10 minutes.

That is how to make Miyan Zogale(moringa soup). You can serve with tuwo shinkafa or semo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Allnigerianfoods.com

 

Published in Newsletter Articles

Efo Riro is a very popular Yoruba soup in Nigeria, it is one of my favorite Nigerian soups because of its health benefits. The name ‘efo’ means vegetables, hence it is a Yoruba rich vegetable soup/stew.

 

Believe me when I tell you that this happens to be one of the most delicious Yoruba soups that I have made.

 

If you scroll down a little, you will find a deliciously made plate of efo riro, as served with fufu – it was delicious 

 

It is a little bit similar to the popular edikaikong soup, the difference is the use of tatashe, spinach and few other Yoruba local ingredients, although some people choose to use tomatoes for personal reason but I think tatashe does a perfect job.

 

Here are the ingredients for making efo riro, I think it would take a little over 30 mins for preparing the ingredients and then the actual cooking takes about 60 minutes. As usual, the ingredients below can serve just about 5-6 people, you can increase or decrease depending on your audience.

 

INGREDIENTS

Sliced Spinach leaves (7-10 cups)

7-10 pieces stock fish ear

Assorted meat (1KG)

1 cup of sliced tatashe

Quater cup of sliced pepper

Half cup of sliced onions

Half Cup of Ground Crayfish

2-3 spoons of iru (locust beans)

Smoked fish (2-3 medium)

Palm oil (200ml)

3 knorr cubes

 

 

Here are some of the ingredients for making efo riro, top left is smoked fish, followed by sliced onion at top middle, then 3 spoons of iru in a plate. Below is sliced spinach and pepper/tashe at left and right respectively.


     

 

PREPARATION METHOD

Use either tatashe or shobo, about 5-10, slice alongside the fresh red pepper and transfer in a bowl, this improves the look of the soup at the end of the day. Wash meat thoroughly with lots of water and salt to remove sand then be sure to also wash the smoked fish if you are making efo riro soup with fish.

If you follow the steps outlined below cautiously you will end up with a very delicious pot of obe efo riro, {obe} is the yoruba name for soup in case you are wondering.

 

Step 1

Place the washed meat in a pot, add a little of water, season with salt, sliced onions, 2 knorr cube and allow to boil for 10-15 minutes, add 1-2 cups of water and cook till tender and the water is almost dried.

 

Add the smoked fish, stock fish, add a cup of water and cook for another 10-15 minutes depending on the hardness of your stock fish, you need to know that people like them better when they are very soft. The water should be almost dried, don’t allow to burn.

 

Step 2

Remove the pot from heat, place another pot on heat and pour in some palm oil, 200ml. Allow to heat before adding the sliced onions, pepper/tatashe, stir and allow to fry for another ten minutes while stirring occassionally to avoid burning.

 

Step 3

Add the cooked meat/stock fish/smoked fish, stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, add the crayfish, iru, stir and allow another 3 minutes. Add a cube of maggi, salt to taste, stir and add the spinach leaves. Stir all together and allow to simmer for another 3-5 minutes and you just made a delicious pot of efo riro

 

Step 4

This is how to make efo riro soup in Nigeria, please serve with Eba, Pounded yam, rice, beans, Semolina, Amala or any other similar Nigerian Food of choice, I like this soup and fufu the way it appears above.

 

You can see the video for preparing efo riro below! You can also go ahead and read up other articles about Yoruba foods. this soup is just one of them, you can also learn how to prepare gbegiri (the popular beans soup), we also have a Yoruba version of Bitter leaf Soup.

 

Source: knorr.ng

 

Published in Newsletter Articles

We all want to believe we have the potential to be super successful. When it comes down to it, the prime thing that separates successful people from the rest of us are smart decisions. A common pitfall on the way to success is boasting, exaggerating, or losing your perspective. However, by changing the way we approach challenges, we can better position ourselves to attack the next obstacle successfully. 


To help unlock the secrets of successful people, the following seven qualities are ones you should try to do quietly.

 

They Network
One thing truly successful people do quietly is network. In the professional world, networking is a balance between corporate interests and personal relationships. This means that overwhelming your new connections with business concerns can easily work against you. Not only that, but advertising far and wide your intentions to network could lead to new connections catching wind of your business strategy. This often makes people feel as if they have been used and will impede your ability to form meaningful connections.

 

They Start New Projects
Successful people also start new projects with humility. Whether a new undertaking is at home or work, if your project is ultimately shelved, postponed, or changed, advertising your new undertakings too early could make you look foolish. That and bragging too much about new opportunities can be a tempting setting in which to lampoon your current or old positions. Don’t forget that mocking your previous positions is nothing more than ego run amok. Nearly everyone starts off small, and making fun of this will likely alienate those beneath your position.

Additionally, being too open about fresh projects could give competitors inside information and allow them to offer competing products or services that are better than yours.

 

They Deal With Challenges
Other things successful people do modestly is conquer challenges. Much like being too open about upcoming projects, giving away too much information about the challenges you’re currently facing might give competitors an extra edge. Not only that, challenges and assignments tend to look more intimidating while you are dealing with them; and seeming too stressed out or swamped could make you appear less capable, especially if your boss, or future employers, are considering you for a project. If you complain widely regarding feeling overwhelmed, you may miss out on a new opportunity or promotion.

 

They Incubate Ideas
Successful people also know to consider ideas quietly. Even if an idea you have leads to a successful project or venture, it usually takes time to refine a concept before it makes any sense. In addition, competitors are happy to steal ideas from others, so it’s better to quietly sit on a plan until you’re putting it into practice.

 

They Interact Socially with Humility
Much like networking, interacting socially is something successful people do quietly. Flaunting accomplishments and opportunities is off putting and abrasive. Additionally, nobody appreciates it when somebody habitually drops names. Basically, treat everyone you interact with as equals and value and foster humility.

 

They Manage Employees Ethically 
Another way successful people become and stay successful is by managing any employees under them privately and with respect. Employees always prefer when their superiors communicate with them in private. This way you avoid potentially embarrassing someone in front of others and preserve a professional atmosphere.

 

They Invest
Finally, something potential successful people do quietly is invest. Whether you are investing in real estate or stocks, giving away all your personal details can come off as crass if the people you’re sharing this with are not as financially secure. Additionally, giving away too much information about your investments is another way to give competitors information they can use to further their pursuits.

 

Source: Lifehack

Published in Newsletter Articles

 

 

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how valuable your current degree will be for your career. Or maybe you’re a highschool senior, debating which degree to pursue.


As someone who has extensively researched the value of a degree before deciding to drop out of university, let me share my two cents on the matter. It may shift your perspective.


Before we go over the 10 most useless degrees in college, let’s go over some major gaps that apply towards pursuing a degree in the first place.

 

 

False sense of security


Growing up, we were promised the illusion of the golden ticket. We are told to earn a paper degree, and watch the opportunities roll in.


This may have been true 30–40 years ago, where only 26% of middle-class workers had a degree. Today, when almost everyone has a college degree (if not a Master’s), its value is increasingly becoming a commodity rather than an asset.


As a result, the golden ticket we were promised rarely leads to our desired job upon graduation, if at all. According to the U.S Department of Labor, 53.6% of college graduates under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed.


 
Misalignment of goals

 

This may be harsh to hear for some people, but most college professors don’t have your best interest as their priority. There’s two reasons for that.

 

The first is the increasing number of professor to student ratio, where some lecture halls seat over 500+ students per professor. This makes it incredibly difficult to develop a genuine relationship. This also leads to receiving general and unspecific advice from professors.

 

The second reason is that most professors have their research and tenure as a higher priority than helping students get the best education for their career. Many professors are using the institution’s facilities and resources for their own research, and are teaching as part of their contract.

 

There’s rarely a good outcome if there’s a misalignment in any relationship.

 

 

Better alternatives
 

The good news to all of this is: you’re in control. There’s better alternatives and more opportunities than before, from getting practical experience, to leveraging new social communities, even avoiding the degree as a whole — the list just goes on.

 

With each of the most useless degrees I mention below, I’ll share an alternative you could explore in lieu of your 4-year journey.

 

 

1. Advertising
 

Don Draper may have been “the man” back in 1960; however, with the rise of technology, the advertising industry is shifting faster than ever. The core reason for this is that we’re no longer living in the billboard/banner ad age. Consumers have all the power today. We can choose what we pay attention to and what we tune out.

 

Many companies question the ROI of advertising as a whole, big agencies are struggling in a world of free media, and new social networks are popping up every year.

 

Alternative: Stay ahead of new media trends and learn everything you can about it, from new social networks, to marketing channels, etc. Become an expert and share the actual results you’ve received with potential employers or clients. Results will be the only thing that matters.

 

 

2. Music
 

Music is different from advertising since its theory stands the test of time. However, that in itself is the problem: it’s only theory.

 

If your goal is to one day become a professional musician, learning about its history and the musical terms and instruments is not going to accelerate your success. As Malcolm Gladwell proclaims in his book, “The Outlier”, what made The Beatles become one of the greatest bands in history was the 10,000 hours of practice they had in their early stages.

 

Alternative: If you want to be a performer in any industry, from musician, to comedian, to keynote speaker: put in the hours. Form your own band. Find every opportunity to get on stage and become the performer you want to be, not an expert in musical theory.

 

 

3. Computer Science
 

Technology is almost always ahead of traditional education. This poses a big contradiction if you’re trying to stay ahead of the latest trends that will help you be in demand of great companies upon graduation.

 

Be clear with your end goal. Are you looking to learn how computers work, or are you looking to be recruited by the Google’s of the world?

 

Alternative: Assuming most of you reading this are looking to learn how to code, it’s easier than ever to do this on your own. Check out free platforms such as Codeacademy or Treehouse, and apply it directly by building your own website.

 

 

4. Creative Writing
 

If you’re looking to express your creative mindset, this degree isn’t it.

 

The first reason is that most professors frown upon modern fiction, and would rather teach you about how it was done in the 1800s. The second is, the only compensated positions that most “creative writers” end up at is writing Top 10 lists for the Internet. There’s better ways to spend 4 years learning how to express yourself.

 

Alternative: One is, start your own blog. This not only helps you get real practical experience on expressing and condensing your mind, but you can also receive immediate feedback from your audience. Here’s the cherry on top of the sundae, if you manage to build a large enough audience, you can potentially make enough money to be your own boss!

 

 

5. Philosophy
 

Philosophy is the go-to degree when discussing the most useless degrees. This isn’t to dismiss the importance of philosophy, as many influential thinkers such as Tim Ferriss use Stoic Philosophy as a framework for making better decisions. The problem is the way it’s being taught. Professors choose theoretical topics of philosophy that will stir debate and discussion, which rarely applies to our real day-to-day lives.

 

Alternative: There’s books available, such as “The Obstacle is the Way,” on practical philosophy that will help you make better decisions in life. If you want to learn about the history of Philosophy, there are hundreds of books available on that as well.

 

 

6. Communication
 

If you need a communication degree to prove you can communicate, then you haven’t fully experienced college.

 

College is where you discover the necessary communication skills to nurture relationships, develop the ability to communicate with new people, and learn about your communication strengths and weaknesses. You’ll learn far more about communication from opening yourself up to meeting new people in your college than spending 4 years about how to talk.

 

Alternative: Create your own podcast. Find a topic that you’re passionate about and start interviewing people. As ironic as it may sound, the best communicators of the world are not the best speakers. Instead, the people who can ask interesting questions and know how to listen make the best communicators. On top of that, podcasting will help you connect with influential people in your industry, which is a far better strategy of landing your dream job than a degree.

 

 

7. Education
 

Do you want to become a great teacher, have an impact, and share your message with students? Well, you may be disappointed to hear that most teachers receive a nominal salary compared to their relative value. Why not get paid what you’re worth, while potentially impacting millions of students around the world versus a few hundred in your local city?

 

Alternative: Today, anyone can become a teacher. You can share a practical skill you’ve developed with others, or you can teach people how to shoot photography, how to learn a new language, and more by creating your own Youtube channel, creating your own online course, or signing up for a teaching platform. The opportunities are endless with the rise of online teaching.

 

 

8. Languages
 

As globalization increases at an exponential rate, learning a new language is not only a great asset to have on your resume, but it’s also quickly becoming a necessity. Despite its increasing importance, it doesn’t require an investment of $30,000 to learn the history and literature of the language from a non-native speaking professor. In fact, it’s unlikely you’ll ever use most of the theoretical knowledge you learn about languages in the real world.

 

Alternative: Much like computer science, you don’t need to learn a language inside and out just in order to speak it fluently. There are existing language learning platforms like Rype that are 0.1% of the investment for a college degree. This platform matches you with a native speaking language coach for one-on-one teaching, rather than learning in a lecture hall with 300 other students.

 

 

9. Criminal Justice
 

Most people entering this degree are looking to become a detective, police officer, or enter law. If that’s the case, earning a degree in Criminal Justice may not be the way to go. According to the BLS, police officers and detective are not necessarily required to have a degree beyond their highschool diploma. This is because most of the practical knowledge is earned upon joining the academy through sponsored on-the-job training.

 

Alternative: If your goal is to enter law, there are better degrees that will train you for getting into law school. In fact, law school expert Ann Levine states that Criminal Justice is not considered academically rigorous by major law schools. Instead, Levine recommends a degree like political science, that requires research, serious thought, and analysis.

 

 

10. Entrepreneurship
 

Learning entrepreneurship through a textbook is like watching a video on how to ride a bicycle without riding it. This bit of advice comes from personal experience. Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, it must be experienced. The calculated risk-taking, mental struggles, and hustle aren’t learned from a textbook, they come from being in the battlefield.

 

Alternative: The easiest alternative is to start your own business. This could be a side business you start, or something as simple as selling items on Ebay. The last thing you want to do is study the works of successful entrepreneurs without living it your own.

 

 

In Conclusion


“Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.” — Sue Grafton


Despite the points mentioned in this article, your college experience is something to be cherished. You’ll learn far more from the overall experience than inside the classroom.

 

The problem is not college itself, it’s our preconceived mindset of relying on some of the most useless degrees to make or break our careers. Most of us will end up working in professions that have nothing to do with our degrees.

 

Think about what your intention and end goals are by entering your degree of study. Where do you see yourself in 5 years upon graduation? How will this degree help you get there? Is it a degree that top employers are looking for? Or are there specific skill-sets that you want to develop to improve yourself?

 

Most importantly, you should use college as the time to explore yourself, take risks, and learn your strengths and weaknesses. It’s one of the first and only times you’ll have the freedom to make risky decisions with no real downsides. College can become the best experience of your life. Choosing the right degree is only one part of it.

 

 

Over to you
 

Which of the most useless degrees we mentioned do you agree with?

 

 

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