Ask Elsie & Emma: On Education

College questionWe recieve this question from young readers often. Today we're diving into the subject of education! We have different experiences and perspectives about this topic, and we hope that our stories will inspire you to follow your own path. Those early adult years can be so intimidating, but it can also be a great opportunity to learn and grow into the person you want to be!  

Elsie: I started college right after highschool when I was seventeen (I graduated a year early). I went for two years and then decided that I wasn't happy with the major I had chosen. At that point I was really excited about photography so I decided to take a break from college while deciding what major I was most interested in. At that point I was nineteen and I started my first business, a local photography business. I spent a few years developing my photography business and then started getting opportunities to work in the scrapbooking industry. I designed a product line and spent a few years traveling and teaching workshops. I enjoyed every opportunity and things happened very naturally in my early twenties. I'm not sure at what point I decided not to finish college. I don't think I ever conciously decided not to finish, I just kept getting exciting opportunities and one thing led to another. With that said, If I were doing it over with what I know now I would probably choose a business degree. I'm proud of the fact that I've developed a career without a college degree, but as you can see from my story it was more a matter or circumstance, than a choice to skip college. I wouldn't encourage anyone to skip college because it's a great opportunity! 

Emma: I also started college right after high school. I wasn't too excited about it at first, as I didn't really know what I wanted to study or what I really wanted to do for a job in the future. My parents encouraged me to go ahead and start college, even though I wasn't sure what I wanted to major in yet. I'm so glad I took their advice! I really enjoyed college, I studied Philosophy and received my Bachelor of Arts from Missouri State. I am currently working towards my Master's degree in business administration. My business classes have helped me be a better small business owner. I'm a good example of someone who learns best from education, through classroom settings and books. That type of learning style might not be for everyone, but it is certainly best for me and I would not have found that out had I not gone to college.

We get asked quite often for our advice about if someone should pursue college, or what they should major in. It's a pretty intimidating thing to get asked, as we could never know everyone's personal situation or what type of goals they might have for their life. That being said, here are our general tips for those who might be considering these types of questions.

Our education tips: 

-If you're not sure, go ahead and go to school. I (Emma) wasn't sure what I wanted to do after high school and my parents encouraged me to just start college and see where it went. Elsie and I are both so glad that we started college, because you learn so much more than just what your classes will teach you. College is a great time to grow as an individual, work on your people skills and learn to interact and work with people who are different from you. You may find after a semester or two that college isn't right for you, or a career opportunity comes your way; but you may also find that school gives you structure and a degree that you can use in the future.
-Try out different things until you find the right fit. I (Emma) had 3 or 4 different majors before I finally found the major I was most passionate about. Elsie owned an entirely different business (a photography business) before she ever started Red Velvet or this blog. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to find the perfect fit the first time, try a few things out and learn as you go.
-Listen to those who love you. It's silly to ignore the advice of those people who love you and know you best. Even if you don't end up taking their advice, you should listen and seriously consider it. I'm so glad I took my parents advice and went to college. 
-Do what you love but don't forget to consider the long-term. If you feel passionate about creative/artistic fields then you should definitely be learning new skills and techniques in those areas and pursuing that, BUT keep in mind that most creative professions are very competitive and can be low-paying. It's good to always have a backup plan or goal (sometimes your backup plan ends up being the thing you love most, you just don't know it yet!). Even if you are really passionate about baking it still might be a good idea to study accounting or business because you will need these skills to own a bakery. You never have to stop doing your passion just because you don't do it professionally. Some passions make great careers and some work better as hobbies. This is something you can decide over time. 
-Whatever you decide to do, work hard at it and never stop learning. It took a lot of years of hard work before Elsie and I were able to make our small business successful. We still work really hard, and are always learning new and better ways to do Red Velvet (that's why I'm still in school!). Just because you work hard doesn't necessarily mean that you will land every opportunity that you want in life, but if you don't give it your very best effort you are just cheating yourself. And remember, there are tons of resources out there that don't involve a classroom. So you have no excuse... keep learning!
Thanks for letting Elsie and I share our experiences and perspective with you. There really are so many different paths to a successful career. Happy learning! xo. emma and elsie

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