I got a phone call from Cameron Sorsby recently. He called to tell me I’d been accepted into Praxis, an entrepreneurial apprenticeship program that offers young people an alternative to traditional postsecondary education. The phone call was rather short—sometimes the best ones are.
I became aware of Praxis through a video I saw online of a young man named Ryan Matlock. In the video, he explained his decision to not attend college. He mentioned alternatives to college and the inefficiencies built into the system currently. Then he mentioned Praxis. What is Praxis? I wondered.
It’s a nine month program that costs $12,000. That’s nothing compared to what you’d pay for four years of college. You’ll work full-time for the final six months of the program earning $14,400. If you simply complete the program, you’ll be $2,400 richer. College doesn’t offer that.
The first three months are spent on a rigorous and customized educational “boot camp” of sorts that’s designed to take you, Raw Material, and quickly transform you into a business professional—a person who can write and speak eloquently and thoughtfully, who uses creativity and analytical reasoning to solve business problems in the real world, who thinks like an entrepreneur, and who has a defined plan to meet his or her goals. That sounded cultish, didn’t it? It’s not like that.
Take it from someone who knows: college is 90% fluff. Not the fun marshmallow kind, the infuriating metaphoric kind that costs $20,000 annually. I received my marketing degree a few months ago from Florida State University, and I learned hardly anything about marketing that would be useful to me at even an entry-level marketing job.
Praxis is the antithesis of college. College is theory and nothing else. Praxis teaches you how to hold a sword, then throws you in with the lions. Hyperbole works, I guess. But really, if college teaches you what to think, Praxis teaches you how to think—or more accurately, how to think for yourself. Anyone can learn the four P’s of marketing. Praxis says instead, “Go work with this cool startup. You’re not an intern; you’re a full-time employee. You’ll be helping to determine the four P’s for this company, not taking a quiz on what each P stands for.”
One hates to use the cliché “baptism by fire,” for fear that it doesn’t paint the full picture—clichés seldom do—but also because it evokes feelings of unease in even the most gung-ho among us. I have felt uneasiness. I have known disillusionment. High hopes and dashed dreams have been mine. It’s not fun. It came from two things: inefficiencies in our collegiate system, and mistakes I made as a participant in that system.
Now isn’t the time for specifics. I’ll say only that I was far more uneasy about where my life was heading on August 7th, the day after my college graduation, than I have been in the weeks since I first learned of Praxis. Mine eyes have seen the glory. And I’ve decided to write about it.
Major Key Alert: this reference is played. A major key for Praxis students is to set goals AND deliver on them during each month of the program. One of my goals, not necessarily tied to the program, is to put down in words all of my thoughts on the Praxis process, and I’ve decided this is the best way to do it. I’ll be making daily posts about my progress.
I hope I haven’t bored you too much. And if I have, just wait until you see what four years of college will do to you!