July 16, 2021

Why Degree Free? And a Little About Us - Ep. 3

Ryan and Hannah on Who They Are, Negotiating after Graduating, and Dropping Out of College in the Middle of a Midterm

Why Degree Free is the Future of Work and How That Looks in Our Lives

We talk about who we are and why we started Degree Free.

On this episode, we introduce ourselves and what we do for a living.

Ryan tells the story of his first big boy job out of college and the reaction he got negotiating.

Hannah talks about how she dropped out and ended up working in tech.

Ryan talks about real job requirements, and we both discuss how to hold your own when applying for 'degree required' jobs without a degree.

Hannah and Ryan go into the marketing that colleges have done to brand themselves as job providers.

Enjoy the episode!

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Want to hear what we discussed on the last episode? Listen as we break down why college degrees aren't actually required for college degree required jobs, how you can get one of those jobs, and why you should start applying to all jobs you want, even if you don't fit the requirements! 

Links and Notes from the Episode

Episode Transcript
Please enjoy this transcript or our episode!

Please note the transcript may have a few errors. We're human. It can be hard to catch all the errors from a full length conversation. Enjoy!

Ryan: Aloha guys. And welcome back to degree free. We are your hosts, Ryan and Hannah Maruyama. Today. we're going to be doing something a little bit different today. We are going to be talking a little bit about ourselves. We've been getting a lot of questions about who we are and what we do.

Hannah: Who the heck are you, why are you doing this?


Ryan: And so today we are going to be just talking a little bit about ourselves and giving a little bit of our background and why we care about why we care about this,

Hannah: And why we started doing it,

Ryan: How we started doing it, why we care about degree free, why we care, why we care about helping people.

Find good work without having to go to college. Yeah. And then also helping people decide if college is right for them. And then if they don't, if they already have a degree and maybe helping them figure out if going back to college is good for them as well or what they should be doing in the next stage of their life.

If they're not satisfied with the current degree that they have.

Hannah: Yeah. A lot of people, a lot of people are wondering basically like what our backstory is and where we came from and how we, how we became entrepreneurs and also what it is that makes us. That drives us to talk about this basically, and to try to be a voice for that just advocates for people who have never felt like they really fit into the system or who are just questioning it now, or feel like they haven't gotten what they were supposed to get out of it.

And we, we're going to tell ya.

I guess I'll go first. My name is Hannah Maruyama. I am married to this man right here, Ryan and we live in Honolulu, Hawaii, and we own a tattoo shop, actually a paramedical tattoo shop locally. I'm also an it business analyst consultant, which is a job that I did get using some of our methods while we were testing some of the things that we're going to tell you folks in this podcast. Before all of this my educational background is that I'm a college dropout.

I went to college for about a year and some change. And in the middle of a midterm, once I was in, I was taking, I was in the middle of taking a midterm exam and I just couldn't stay there one more second. So I just, in true melodramatic fashion, just tore the, tore, the exam in half, threw it in the trash and I left. And I never went back and I don't think that I ever will.

Mainly because I don't think that college was necessary for me to achieve the things that I have achieved in my life. I don't think that it college was necessary or affordable for me to help me in the goals I have been pursuing. And I think that's something that the more I reflected on that, especially after I left, the more I realized that I had not been told that was an option.

I was not encouraged at all or equipped to go into the world and try to just work, which is what a lot of people do. The majority of the, of Americans, in fact. And I think also something I realized was that I had always been told that I had to go and there was no real reason. And that's something that the more I questioned it and the more I tested whether or not I needed a degree to do certain things I had been told that I needed to degree to do.

And the more I accomplished them the more skeptical and questioning I think I became of the system of the American college system. And that is. I think that's, I would say that's where degree free came from originally. I remember we talked about it then when we met. And I think that it's been kind of something that you and I together as entrepreneurs, it's been fostered in that as well because people have come to us to ask us for advice to do different out of the box, career and work things because they know that we have done out of the box work career things. And I think that's how this whole thing started. Yeah.

Ryan: So I guess it's my turn to go. My name is Ryan Maruyama. I'm a firefighter for the city and county of Honolulu. And as Hannah said before, I am a part owner of YAMA studios, which is a paramedical tattoo clinic here in Honolulu, Hawaii.

For me, I actually did get a college degree. I got my degree in economics and a lot of people will probably think. And a lot of people do think that, I've had multiple conversations where people call me a hypocrite, all right. So that's we get that out there?

Yep. I don't know though, but people, I think people say that, but the thing is we also speak to people who have gotten a college degree and then end up, they're trying to get into a field that doesn't require one, or it didn't work the first time and they want to get into something else and they need actual job training instead of a degree in order to get that job.

So I'll take that. I'll take that. All right. I'm a hypocrite. And but that being said a little bit about my background.

I went to college because I felt like I needed to, and my family. For my family, it was never an option for me to not go to college. That would have been letting them down a lot by not going. And I don't think that my, it's not a sob story. I don't think that my experience is unique. I think that happens to a lot of people.

I know that it happens a lot of people. So most of the people we talk to, they're like I can't let my family down, my family expects me to go to college. All right. I get that. I get that. So all throughout college, I bartended, I waited tables. I served tables. I've worked in the restaurant industry and I worked all throughout.

I worked throughout high school throughout college, even past that. That was pretty much what I did. That was my career. After college I was looking to get out of that business. So then I ended up getting a desk job do in consumer credit, underwriting, consumer credit loans, credit cards, things like that.

After that, I didn't like that job. I ended up not liking that job, which is funny because that's the job that was supposed to us was a, like I supposed to get that job with my degree, but I hated it. I was basically a monkey with a headset, as I like to say, I there's a, there's like credit underwriting guidelines that like, here's this, you, this person has to look like this person.

If they don't fit that, then you deny them. It's notthen you just accept them, it's like, all right. You know what I mean? A, literally a computer program could do that. I don't know why I'm, I don't know. I have a job. And I didn't get paid a lot of money to do it. So I was only there for a year. And then after the year, I quit.

Hannah: Why did you quit?

Ryan: I didn't feel like there's a future in it for me. I felt like I probably could have moved up but the pay was really just pay was terrible.

Hannah: Do you think that happens to a lot of college graduates? At their first job.

Ryan: What?

Hannah: Where they get to the first job and then they're extremely dissatisfied with it.

Ryan: Yeah. I think that happens to a lot because you don't, because you don't know anything, and then, like I said, for me, the pay was horrendous. I was making, I don't know. I'm not sure how much I was making at the time, but I was, no, I was a bartender or as a bartender at the time, I was probably making $60,000 or something.

I don't know something like that. Decent money. Not that, not the best lifestyle. That lifestyle is very lively. So it's hard to be industry. That lifestyle is very unique. Cash is liquid. It almost doesn't exist. You go out a lot, but if you can.

Hannah: And you don't sleep.

Ryan: Yeah, and I was young, so I definitely partook in that lifestyle.

But I wanted to get out of it. But then the job that I was supposed to get with my college degree, the job that my career paid me, the $31,000 a year. And that's my fault for accepting a job that paid me $31,000 a year, but in Hawaii, that's all that's the going rate for entry-level at the time.

That's the going rate for entry level?

I think now it's still only like $33k.

How am I supposed to, like how much does it make a living off of this? So I still, I ended up still working full time at the bank underwriting, and then I, three times a week, three nights a week. I bartended and I did that for the whole year that I worked there and I was just like, this doesn't make any sense.

I'm making 31,000 when I can just go back full-time to bartending and make double and just have one job. Yeah. I just have one job. The economics just don't make sense. And then I was, I, then I also started looking at, And just started looking at what if I was to move up in that company. But the pay raises are like really minimal.

It's like in order to do that.

Hannah: How minimal?

Ryan:  A few grand few? Yeah, a few grand. Liek oh, now you're at 35.

Yeah. Yeah. The way to make money here, it's everywhere now, is you have to be willing to leave. You have to be willing to leave the company to go to a different company, and then it get, gain some years and then get a bigger title when you come back.

The days of. You get a job when you're in your early twenties and then you work there for 40 years or 50 years and you get your gold watch or whatever your gold bracelet, whatever it is that those days are, like those days are gone.

Hannah: So specific to where we live. So specific to Hawaii, do you think, something that I've noticed about a lot of the college graduates here specifically too, is that they don't know how to negotiate.

I do think that specific to Hawaii. People are not taught to negotiate when they get a job. And they're so polite that they don't ask for what they want. They don't ask for benefits. They want, they don't ask for schedules they want, and they definitely don't ask for money that they want. They just accept whatever the first offer is, which you should never do.

At a job interview because that's the lowest, that's the lowest number that they're throwing at you.

Ryan: Yeah, I think that's definitely what happened to me. I took the lowest offer. I didn't negotiate. I tried to, so right out of college, I got this job and they, this is a long story, but.

Hannah: No, tell it.

Ryan: Out of  college, I actually, before I got this consumer credit underwriting job, I got another job. And the job before that, I was only there for a couple of weeks because I ended up getting the job as a consumer credit underwriter. But the job in between probably out there for three weeks they were paying me hourly.

It came out to $28,000 a year or something like that. Hourly.

Hannah: This is when you had a degree? When you had a degree?

Ryan: I had a degree. Yeah.

Hannah: Yeah. This reflects the numbers of a study called the third way study, which shows that a lot of college graduates actually make 28,000 or less after they graduate college.

Ryan: Something like that. I'm sure I could do that. I'm sure I could do the numbers. And, but this is like something. When I got called back from the consumer credit underwriting job, I was like, oh, perfect. And then I was like, okay I call back. I went to interview and they offered me the job and now I'm in negotiations with them.

I was like, okay, now I can swing for the fences. You know what I mean? Because I have a job. I already have a job that pays me $28,000 and now I have a job, they're offered me $31k and I'm like for $3,000, what's the hassle. That's a hassle for me to like move jobs. And then it's in a different location.

It's much further away.

Hannah: Yeah. But you had the instinct to negotiate.

Ryan: Yeah. So I went there and then I met with the HR lady and then I was like, oh, okay. Here's she's okay, here's what we're, here's what we're going to give you. And I was like, oh, okay here's what I want. And I'm pretty sure that I said $37,000 and I don't, I'll never forget.

She just laughed. She was just like, "Ha ha ha ha." All right.

Hannah: Did she really?

Ryan: Yeah, yeah.

Hannah:  That's actually such a, that's a crazy flex. She just laughed at you.

Ryan: She just laughed. Maybe it wasn't as maniacal as that just made it out to be,.

Hannah: I don't know. Maybe it was.

Ryan: Maybe it wasn't as manical as I just made it out to be.

Hannah: It's a better story that it was.

Ryan: Yeah. But, but no, she definitely laughed. She was like, ha ha ha. All right.

Hannah: For those of you listening.

Ryan: Let get down to business.

Hannah: That is a fantastic negotiating tactic.

Ryan: That's like $6,000 over a year, come on, lady.

Hannah: Write that down. So this extra 500 bucks a month. Yeah, that's nothing. That's chump change.

Ryan: Yeah. And I was just like, all right, I don't want to. Anyway

Hannah: I don't know if you ever told me that she actually laughed when you said that number.

Ryan: Yeah. She laughed.

Hannah: Wow. Yeah. Wow.  It's bad-ass on her part. She's just like.

Ryan: Yeah, I know. All right. I guess I'll take 31. So yeah, so then I ended up taking $31,000 as the offer and I'm no wonder why I hated it. It was paying me half  of my bartending job, it was supposed to be my career, supposed to be my fulfillment, but then a lot of it too is, and this is what we've, this is what we run into talking to people that have already obtained a degree.

And are thinking, and are not satisfied in their careers and are thinking about going back for another degree, which I've also been in that boat. I have thought about that and I get to that in a second. But yeah, this is very typical is where people get a college degree where they think that's supposed to be work training, and then they go and get the job that they've trained to do, even though consumer credit underwriter and an economics degree. You do not need an economics degree to be a consumer credit underwriter. How do I know that? My supervisor did not have, my supervisor did not have a college degree, the other person who was my counterpart that worked in the same products that I worked as he did not have a college degree.

I was like, this makes no sense. This makes no sense. But the job listing that I applied to said college degree required. But the two other people in this three person department didn't have college degrees. What kind of racket are you running?

Hannah: Well, we know what kind.  But I've, I found too that I've noticed this and this is this is a controversial statement.

So get ready. But you do not need a college degree. I don't know who needs to hear this, but you do not need a college degree to use Outlook, microsoft Teams, Excel, PowerPoint. You do not need a college degree to answer the phone. You do not need a college degree to give presentations. You do not need a college degree to talk to a room full of people and engage them in training or engage them in sales.

You don't need a college degree for most of the day-to-day things that you will do at a job, which is probably I think the biggest, common sense argument for why you don't need a college degree to do any of those things.

Ryan: Yeah.

Hannah: You don't.

Ryan: And yeah, getting back to. The my path, or my getting back to my experience.

Yeah. I've been in that. I've been there where I was thinking about. So after that, after I quit, after I was bartending for a little while. I wasn't satisfied. I wanted to find a career, but I didn't know what to do. And so I was, it was my plan to go back to school and get a degree in mechanical engineering.

I thought about, I was dating a girl at the time. Who's, one of her family members worked at Disney and she was the manager of the Disney animatronics division. And I was like, wow, that sounds cool. I'm going to be an engineer to work on like buzz light year. You know what I mean? When you go on the buzz light year ride in a toy story ride and just like waving at you, like that's freaking sick.

That's cool. I was like, all right, maybe I'll get my chemical engineering degree, but I'm glad I didn't, because I was just throwing darts at a dartboard, as I always say. I didn't want to throw that 60,000, $70,000 dart. The crazy thing about that story is that the lady that I'm talking about who ran a team of engineers.

She didn't have a college degree. I remember having this conversation with her and this was years ago, right? This is before you and I met. Yeah. And I remember having this discussion with her and she was like, yeah, I manage a team of masters, bachelor's degree people, like masters degrees engineers, which I think she said she had a PhD work for her, bachelor people bachelor's degrees and she didn't have a degree.

And she's managing all of these people. Related story. That same girl that I was dating her dad ran a team of electrical engineers. Did he have a college degree? No, he did not.

Hannah: I'm sensing a theme.

Ryan: He did not have a college degree and it's what? And I wish I did. I wish I had keyed in. I wish I had keyed in on the that's like recognizing, not recognizing not recognizing the signal for the noise.

Hannah: You were a kid though.

Ryan: Yeah. It's but it's like totally not recognizing what was actually valuable in that conversation, in those conversations that I had with her was just that "look, you can learn how to learn. You can manage people, you can do good work, meaningful work and get good, get paid, good money to do it without college degrees."

I was like, poof, I know it was not until later, till years later that I started to reflect back on that, on those conversations that I had. I was like, yeah, dude, you're like super successful and you don't have a college. This is all a long winded way of saying that like my route to trying to help people navigate these waters has been pretty, has been pretty standard.

I don't feel like I'm unique in any of the things that I'm talking about. I know what these people are feeling because I've been there. I've done. I've been that person. You know what? Like I was going to get a second degree. I got a first degree and I didn't know what to do. And then now if you look at my life now, I'm a fireman, you don't need a degree for that.

Hannah: Nothing that you do requires requires a college degree or rather nothing that you do, nothing that you do now, you wouldn't be stopped from doing anything that you do for money now, if you didn't have a college degree.

Ryan: Absolutely.

Hannah: That's a more, that's a more well-rounded way of saying it too.

There's nothing you're doing now that, that you wouldn't have been able to do if you had a college degree.

Ryan: Yeah. There's nothing.

Hannah: Or if that you wouldn't have been able to do, if you didn't have a college degree. Yeah,

Ryan: Yeah. Yes. I am a fireman and I run businesses. Like you don't need a college degree for any of that  for any of that.

Hannah: And as demonstrated by the fact that I run it with you. And I now also work on a similar team of people and I have zero degrees.

Ryan: And your, and your life experience is exactly the opposite. Your life experiences are exactly the opposite where we've arrived at the same place.

You're working in a job that says college degree required and you don't have one. And I'm working in a job that when I have a degree and I'm working in a job that says you only need a high school diploma.

Hannah: And a driver's license.

Ryan:  And a driver, one on a driver's license. Yeah.

Hannah: That's true. That's true. That is very true.

I never really thought about it like that, but yeah, that's true. We're ex and I think it's good too, because. That's another part of the reason that Ryan and I are really excited to talk about this too, is because we fall into several of the camps of people. We tend to think there's three types of people who were really benefit from this from this podcast, it's going to be people who are questioning whether or not college is a good choice for them and going, I don't know if I want to do it.

I dunno if that seems like a really good idea. I don't know if it seems financially sound. I don't know if it seems time-wise and then also people who have already, it really is amazing though, the reflex just as an offshoot, but it really is amazing. The reflex of people who spent all that money and all that time to go get a degree.

And when it doesn't work, they turn around and they do it again. It's, dude, you didn't get burned enough the first time? Like, it didn't hurt enough the first time those loans don't stress you out enough now? When you're, when you have a degree and you're, and then your first reflex is to go spend more money.

When you literally can't make money with the first one you have? It's crazy.

Ryan: Well, that just goes into.

Hannah: It's marketing,

Ryan: It's marketing.

Hannah: It's the colleges' marketing.

Ryan: It's success by the colleges and by the.

Hannah:  Kind of society, but not really in, in a lip service way. Society gives lip service to if you have multiple degrees, you're successful, but business and work and actual money and actual paid labor gives service to if you can do the job, you're going to make the money. But yeah, basically the three types of people that we think are going to listen to this are going to be parents of people who are debating sending their kids to college, 17 and 18 year old kids who were trying to kinda on the fence, wondering if it's a good idea for them.

People like me who are degree free adults and are now wanting to get into a career jobs but they're not really sure to how to break into the market because they're not really sure how to approach it because they've lived doing alternative types of work, but they want to get into a traditional job, but they're just not really sure how to get into it or what they need.

And then there's the people who I really feel for, which is people who people who are like you, who got a degree, but didn't end up in a job that pays them well and that they like. And now they're just having this crisis of identity and their reflex is to run and go into more debt.

It's been marketed to them as the solution, but it's the problem. And that's, it's hard.

Ryan: And I know. So one of the things that, the reason why people go back and I was one of these people, is that going back to college to get another degree isn't the creative solution. It's as I talk about it, as I talk about it, as I've said before, going to college is just walking the path that's put in front of you. And going back to college is just going back to the beginning and then going down, going down this other path instead, but instead you have to stop.

Instead, the alternative is hard. It's difficult. The alternative is hard. The alternative is you have to stop, evaluate where you're going in life, evaluate where you are, evaluate your skills, evaluate what you can do, evaluate what you evaluate, what you want to do. And then you have to somehow make all of that happen.

You have to synthesize all of that and then you have to go and make it happen. And that's difficult. Then you have to trudge your own trail. You have to take that machete out and start cutting on the brush. And that's difficult. That's hard work.

Hannah: I think a lot of it, I think though, a lot of it is actually. I wish it was more of that. I wish it was more fear of hard work. I think a lot of it though is just societal, it's societal shame. It's that people there's something people don't want to, when someone says, oh, what are you doing? They don't want to say, oh, I'm working as a, whatever insert, low paying job or insert job that people look down on or insert job that just isn't flashy that people look down on because it's not flashy.

They'd rather say. It's more socially acceptable to say I'm going into more debt than I already have to get a job, in the hopes that I'll get a job, instead of just saying I got a job. I think people to realize that when I say this, they'll realize that they've seen this in action before, but there's a lot more shame, societal shame associated with someone saying or rather society is more inclined to praise people who are, who just say, "oh, I'm going back to school." then they would somebody who says, "oh, I'm an assistant manager at McDonald's." Even though the assistant manager at McDonald's is making money and this person is spending money they don't have to go further into debt in the hopes that they'll get a job that probably isn't going to, it's only going to pay them three grand more because they now went into extra debt. So it's interesting. It's weird. But I do think that has something to do with it because there's more shame in accepting a not glamorous job than there is in spending money you don't have, which is very American.

Ryan: Yeah, I think that's, I think that does have a part to play in it as well. I think they're both accurate. I think don't think it's all societal shame, I think the fact that it's like going back to school is the uncreative solution and not going to school and still trying to figure out how to get your dream job and do it is what do, what fulfills you.

And that is the creative solution. And creativity is hard. Creativity is hard. And then pile that on with the indoctrination of that, you should go back to college and that you should do this. And whether that's your first that's, the knee jerk reaction is that you should go back and then bucking up against that, as well as realizing that shoot, I don't have any skills then realizing that I don't know what to do.

That's all difficult. And so I think all of that, as well as societal shame, as you're calling it,

Hannah: It could be just like, it's also just associated, right? It's the way the colleges have branded themselves, which is, this is where you get things that get you jobs. It's like saying it's like asking somebody like go, it's like asking somebody go buy me a chicken.

The store, because the store says we have chickens, right? It's the same way where people are like, where can I, like, how can I get a job? And the colleges are like, oh, come to us. We can get you a job. They never say it blatantly, but they imply it enough that's where people, when they can't get a job, they're like, I guess I got to go get more college.

I guess I got to go get more college.

Ryan: So then I guess bringing it back around to the why we're doing this and how we're. Just the why of why we're doing this. We have, we've had a lot of people in our lives, come to us and ask us for career advice on life advice, business advice, and a lot. A lot of what they say all these things and they've gone through all of these things.

One of the things that's interesting that you were talking about the societal shame is that when we talk to people, when we speak to people and then they're like, everybody asks. A very common question is oh did you go to school? Did you already have a degree? And then a lot of people that don't have degrees, it's shameful. It's like a shaming. It's a, they're not proud to tell them to no, I, I don't, I didn't, I ended up not, but then I could be asking this of a really successful person.

And this has happened.

Hannah:  And it makes them feel shrink.

Ryan: And I think part of what we want to do here is that we also want to empower people that like.

Hannah:  Take that back.

Ryan: Yeah. Oh yeah, I have a degree in economics you know what I mean? Okay. You know what I mean? Like you're a fireman, be quiet. Yeah.

Instead of being, instead of shrinking and be like, oh no, I'm degree free. No, I don't have a degree and I chose not to get one. And here's why.

Hannah: Turning it back into, taking control back over that narrative, let people label you as somebody who doesn't have something, because what you have instead is experience.

And I guess it's hard to explain that you don't have debt from it too, but you don't have to do that. You can just say I chose, I didn't go. Yeah, no, I didn't have to do that. And just taking, as somebody who is degree free. As somebody who is probably one of the, I'm proud of it. I'm not ashamed of it anymore, but even with that, it's still, sometimes I still feel it, because it's ingrained in me.

It's K through 12, it's everything my parents told me, same thing they told you. And so it's hard. You have to like actively. Take back that and not shrink away from that. And instead be instead I did this. So throughout the time that Ryan and I have been developing this concept and trying to figure out how we're going to talk about it and how we're gonna, how we're going to help people with it.

We've talked to a lot of people. Some people that came to us to talk about it. And some people who we just encountered either in our business or in life. And an interesting thing that we noticed, is that when we talk to people who have self-educated or have just found jobs and worked their way up, or have alternative methods of education or own businesses, and they say, "oh what's that about?

What is that?" And I say, oh it's basically, it's basically just, we're educating people about the options they have outside of college and showing them that they can be successful and they can get good jobs and make good money without it, because a lot of people are like that. And we're calling it degree free because technically those people are degree free.

And then it's almost like they straighten up, they take up more space and they go, "oh, that's me." They feel. They realize that what they did and what they have done is amazing. It's amazing that they have gone out and they have just worked. They have gone counter-cultural and they have actually just worked.

They have just sat. They've just head down. Done work and moved up and for them to realize that there's pride in that. There's pride in having done that. And there's definitely nothing shameful and having done that for sure. And that's really cool. It's really cool to see it.

You've seen it. You know what I'm talking about.

Ryan:  Absolutely. Yeah. I think just being able to be able to provide a little bit more of a vocabulary or just opening up the conversation to having people be okay with it, with the fact that you don't need a degree, with the fact that they don't have degrees, all of this, it's really rewarding for us.

We love to do it. And, and I think one of the criticisms that we get is yeah, but you wouldn't tell your kids to do this. Okay, we don't have kids yet, hopefully soon, but we don't have kids. We don't have kids yet. That being said, we have already told our sisters, your sister and my sister. We've already told them.

We've told them this. No, we're, we're putting our money where our mouth is. We've sat down my sister. And we told her, look,

Hannah: You don't have to do this.

Ryan: You do not have to go to college.

Hannah: You're not obligated to do so.

Ryan: You're not obligated to go to college.

And that was something that we came up with because she didn't know what she wants to do. We asked her, we sat her down. We said, Hey, look, what are you thinking about doing?

Hannah: She didn't know. She didn't no idea,

Which is fine. Cause she was 17.

Ryan: Perfectly fine. It was perfectly fine. And I was just like, okay, that's okay. You don't have to know. You're a kid. That being said, don't go into five figures of debt.

Hannah: It's kind of local, don't if you don't know, don't go,

Ryan: Don't go into five figures of debt in order to figure it out. Why don't you just get a job?

Hannah: And think about it.

Ryan:  Start, get a job, start working, figure out what you want to do. Think. Okay. You think you might want to be a massage therapist? How about you go and go to a massage therapy school or you go volunteer or go get a job at a massage therapist office. Something, instead of going to college, we failed in that regard. She ended up going, she didn't finish though.

So we're proud of her.

Hannah: Yeah, that was fun. She came back.

Ryan: She dropped out of the two years. We couldn't say it. We couldn't save her on the student loans for the first two years. But we saved her on the back end. Yeah. She saved herself.

No. She, no, she chose to, yeah, we didn't say it was what was funny about that story is that when she came back, she didn't want to tell the family.

Hannah: But when she told us we were like, good for you, we're super proud of you. That's super proud.

Ryan: I was super proud.

Hannah:  Also, because if you're listening to this and you drop out because you realize it's no, it does not suit your future goals. That is, that I think is harder than not going. That is near impossible. And that is amazing.

Ryan: Remember, I remember I sent her a text. I remember I told her that I was proud of her and I understand that it takes a lot of courage to drop out, especially in the, especially in my family. I understand how my family is. It takes a lot of courage to drop out and say, I'm not going to do this anymore.

And you know what, for her, she didn't know what she wanted to do still. And that's even more so that to courage because she sat there and she's I don't know what I want to do.

Hannah: She looked at the unknown and she was like, I choose that.

Ryan: I don't know what I want to do, but I'm still going to drop out. Cause I don't want to keep paying this money.

Perfect. Good for you. And then, we told your sister.

Hannah: My sister, so we basically did a case study is what we is feels like is because we took two people to two girls of the exact same age and told them the same thing at the same time. My sister has always been a little, very mechanically inclined.

And so she ended up finding a paid welding training and she got scuba certified and she is within the next two years going to be an underwater welder one way or another. For her it seems like it's going very well. Mostly because her finances went in the opposite direction. She's just working. It doesn't matter if she doesn't want to be a welder later, but the thing is the likelihood of her being able to pivot into some, even an office job for some sort of steel or welding company is high because she has experience working in that field. If you have experience working in a field, you might want to go into, it's going to be much easier for you to get into other jobs in the, in those fields too.

Ryan: Yep. And then, like we say we tell them like we tell everybody and then if for whatever reason, she figures out that for some reason she absolutely needs a college degree later on in her career.

Hannah: She can get it.

Ryan: She can get it, she can possibly get her company to pay for it.

Hannah: A lot of people don't know that. If you pick the right company, the company will pay for your degree, in which case absolutely get a degree. If you're not paying for it,


Ryan: you're not paying for it, you got the time you might as well. That being said, if you got to pay for it, then, maybe not. I'm going to be, I'm going to be honest.

I don't think that she's ever going to need one. I don't think she's ever gonna need one, but if she needs to, I'm sure that she can find somebody to pay for it or at a different time. Her economic, her personal finances will be. Okay enough for her to handle it. Cause she's making money.

Hannah: That's another thing, money that we don't talk about enough to, or we haven't really talked about very much something we haven't talked about very much is that if you get, if you avoid the debt early on and you just focus on earning and you earn enough, you can pay for your degree without going into the debt that makes college such a difficult decision at the beginning. If you want to go because you want to get a history degree, that's fine, but maybe you should focus on earning first. And then when you make enough money, you can go when you want to. And you don't have that pressure on you to then get out and monetize that degree.

If you want to learn for the sake of learning, then you need to earn first and then you can learn later when you can actually afford to pay for that. But the idea that. A 17 or 18 year old kid has earned the luxury of learning for fun  if they're paying for it is frankly very foolish.

Ryan: Right. Yeah. So I think both of us, this is our passion. This is what we.

Hannah: When we turn the mics off, this is what we talk about.

Ryan: This is what we talk about.

Hannah: Yeah.

Ryan: We love to, we love to talk about it. We hope that there's a solution for it. We hope that we can provide some guidance to people and for people  in this realm.

I think the future is bright for.

Hannah: Alternative learners.

Ryan: Exactly. For people that choose not to go to college. I think the future is bright and we're not saying that this is going to be easy. No, it's going to be very hard. I think in very many ways, harder than college, but that's what you're signing up for.

You're not going to go into debt. You're going to make money. You'll figure it out. Without having to go to college.

Hannah:  Without being backed into a corner with the debt too. That's really, you, it is well-documented that you make better decisions when you are not under duress.

Ryan: The debt is tough, man. The debt is tough.

Hannah: And for a kid. For kid 17 years old, you've never even seen $40,000 in person. You can't, you don't know what that looks like.

Ryan: We know.

Hannah: I didn't. I had no idea what I was signing up for.

Ryan: We knew this lady that was a psychiatrist and she, we knew her. She was in her fifties, sixties years, old years old.

And she had debt from college and medical school and whatever else, student debt, that she was still paying off.

Hannah: And the person who was paying that was her husband, who was a self-taught coder.

Ryan: I don't even know how you can have bills that far. Like that late in life, like.

Hannah: What that does to you that kind

Ryan: No, I'm saying I want, I don't understand is how operationally, like, how has she still have debt?

How long are these fricking loans? Like what did they write? Like a million year loan? You know what I mean? What the hell? How are you? Doctors have it. So maybe she used to refinance it a couple of times that I wi- I wish I'd asked her more. It's a, it's a sense.

The reason why I didn't ask her is it's a very sensitive subject.

Hannah: Let me ask why you still have finances and debt.

Ryan: I do remember that I did ask her one time of how much debt, like how many figures.

Hannah: Oh, you did ask her?

Ryan: And I did, I asked her and it was, I don't realize how it was so much, but it was still in the high five figures.

And how's this, like, how does that, how much did you go into debt, woman? Like how much?

Hannah: But the thing is when she went to school, she went to school.

Ryan: Long time ago, seventies, I don't know, seventies, eighties, seventies. I'm assuming seventies, eighties. I don't know.

Hannah: The thing is too back then. It was actually a better investment and didn't cost as much.

Ryan: Is there any last words you want to say?

Hannah: No, just yeah, that's that's who we are. That's what we're doing. That's what we've done. That's why we're doing this. We really do care about it very deeply. We care about it because we see the impact that it's having on our peers and our younger siblings.

And parents even and I think that it's a really under-addressed, it's a really under addressed topic that we're discussing. I think a lot of people are afraid to address it because the opposition to it is very well credentialed. They got a lot of letters, but the thing is at the end of the day, this is very common sense.

This is very simple stuff. And it's just it's just very simple stuff. Hey, you know what, maybe you should work first. Hey, you know what, maybe you should try this first because it costs less and it doesn't take as much time. Like the things that we're saying are not academic, they're not intellectual. They're very simple.

They're just like a, Hey, if you're trying to work, maybe just work and see what that's like. And we're just trying to equip people with very simple practical tools on how to navigate the unknown space of not going to college or trying to get a job and just not being able to afford to buy another degree or to go back and yeah, we just care about a lot.

It's a huge financial burden and it's being put on people who are very young and very uninformed. And that to us just seems like something that people just need to know what we're talking about.

Ryan: Well said. I don't think that I have anything else. As always guys, thank you so much for listening. Thanks so much for tuning in.

If you guys liked it, if you guys learn anything, please leave a review. Please subscribe, leave us a comment, let us know how we can do better. Let us know what you want to know about. It's always helpful.

Hannah: We gotcha.

Ryan: Right on. Until next time guys. Thank you. Aloha.

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