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The American Dream holds that anyone can succeed with a strong work ethic and the proper education, regardless of their background, income or ethnicity. Yet for the nearly 50% of recent college graduates who are unemployed or underemployed, the path to the American Dream is unattainable; something has gone terribly awry. The initial equation, that education and hard work lead to success, remains true; the problem is that education and college have become synonymous — society has confused the competitiveness of a college degree with the value of education. Mark Twain once wrote, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education,” and therein lies the distinction our society has long forgotten: schooling is just a small segment of an individual’s lifelong education. As such, claiming that a college degree is necessary for success — that one must devote four years of their time, energy and money to achieve this one piece of paper — is a flawed assertion that neglects the value of life experience.

Albert Einstein famously stated the most powerful force in the universe is that of compound interest; indeed, in many ways, the American Dream can be defined as simply escaping the burdens of compounding debt. However, with the average college graduate now $23,000 in student loan debt and many unable to find jobs to pay even the minimum payment, we must understand this debt will prohibit college graduates from achieving self-actualization. It would be financial negligence for these recent graduates to start businesses, innovate to solve the world’s problems, or even pursue their true passion under the burdens of such debt. 

The surging popularity of online education, the return of apprenticeship-type education models and the growing realization that degrees may not be worth $60,000-plus may cause the era of university-dominated secondary education to come to an end. The path to the American Dream is understanding the power of exponential growth—both in avoiding compounding debt that limits an individual’s options and in pursuing passions that have the potential to generate exponential returns. In both cases, for a significant percentage of today’s youth, the argument is objectively against obtaining a college degree.

At MassRoots, we embrace education — encouraging every member of our team to actively read, watch lectures and discuss transformative ideas. We don’t mandate college degrees, nor do we require everyone to drop out of college. What’s important is that every person is able to think for themselves, challenge assumptions and articulate their visions for the future. That’s what we strive to accomplish at MassRoots and that’s how we’ll continue to move the marijuana industry forward.

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