I don't think there is one way to designing your own college education. However there are some mindsets/ideas that I believe will help you regardless of what you want to learn and what strategy you have.

Growth mindset

Just Google away and you'll find tons of information on the difference between a fixed and growth mindset. In short a fixed mindset helps with staying the same and a growth mindset helps to learn and grow. Rather than thinking: I can't do that, someone with a growth mindset would think: I can't do that yet, but how can I learn?

You're not going to be finished

This one really took a while before I got it through my head. You are never going to be finished or 'done'. A lot of structures in our society might lead you to think otherwise, for example you go to school to learn and once you get your diploma you're ready to work.

What the purpose of school is or what being ready to work really means is a whole other discussion I'm going to put aside for now, because the important thing for now is to understand that there is no such thing as done with learning and developing. For some this might be a devastating or exhausting thought, for others it's the greatest opportunity in life. Your choice 😉

Learning is to be directed not controlled

Learning is a natural process that cannot be controlled. If a teacher explains you something, it's not enough just to force you to pay attention and listen carefully. There has to happen something in your brain in order to process the information your given. Then, when it's time to apply the new knowledge, all kinds of processes have to happen in order for you to think, move or speak in accordance with the newly learned material.

This is not to mystify the process of learning, we know quite a lot about the human brain, behavior and learning processes. However, learning remains a human process and we are not machines. Therefore I believe it helps to let go of the idea that you can control your learning. You can direct it, but things will go different than you might think they will and you won't be able to prevent that from happening.

Make sure you fail ánd succeed

I'm not going to lie to you: it has not always been easy to be an entrepreneur, direct my own learning and go through the natural process of developing my identity as an adolescent. Choosing to learn within an educational institutions has many disadvantages as well as advantages. If you go to a school that offers you a sense of safety to learn and room to grow, then that I would definitely consider that an advantage of the formal education you're getting.

Learning can be scary. It can be confronting and uncomfortable. I've learned that it helps you learn better if you make sure that you feel safe, confident and playful just as often as you feel scared. Whether this means you schedule time to play, take a course just for fun or spend some time doing work that you already master doesn't really matter. As long as you take time to remind yourself that learning is fun.

Not THE road, but A road

If you direct your own learning, you have to make a lot of decisions for yourself. Rather than following a curriculum, you have to build your own path as you're already walking it. A paralyzing trap can be to think that there is ONE perfect way to go about learning something. Usually there is no such thing. There are strategies that are less effective than others, but often the least effective strategy is to substitute acting with thinking about how to act.

Trust that as long as you regularly and honestly reflect on your decisions, you won't make absolute wrong ones. There will be some that are less good than others, but if there is usually little harm in choosing great over good once you're already moving.


There are a lot of theories on how best to learn. I mean a LOT. Some will say you have to learn by yourself, completely personalized. Others will advocate peer to peer learning. Some will say you need a teacher and others will say you need to follow a curriculum/plan/strategy.

My conclusion after three years is: they are all right and wrong. They are right in stressing the importance of their approach. They are wrong in thinking that their way is the only way.

Please think AND/AND rather than OR/OR when it comes to designing your learning path.