Millennials, DIY Culture, and the Educational Revolution

There’s no question about it: the world as it is today is a very different beast from the one that existed a several decades ago.  With a job market that looks nothing like the one they were led to believe exists and severe disillusionment with the standard pitch of climbing the corporate ladder, Millennials have taken to forging ahead boldly into uncharted territory rather than playing it self and landing cushy jobs.

This rise of widespread entrepreneurial mindsets has led Millennials to prioritize things such as travel and fulfilment through their work rather than the traditional mentality of work until retirement, followed by whatever years of travel you can squeeze in before declining health catches up with you. But this influx of Do-It-Yourself culture wasn’t just the result of disenfranchisement within an archaic system – it is a natural evolution of technological progression.

Millennials are among the first to grow up alongside world-changing technologies – and thus are among the most proficient at exploiting them. With the number of Millennial-run startups popping up everywhere, there is an ever-present demonstration of leveraging technical know-how with pure ambition. As the years wane on, the DIY movement seems to be spreading all over – threatening more and more industries by the minute.

The most impactful manner than this DIY Millennial outlook could manifest in is the realm of education. As the incredibly disruptive companies that came before them such as Uber or PayPal knew little of the intricacies of the transportation and financial markets, so too will the upcoming Millennial entrepreneurs favor practicality and ease of accessibility of educational resources against conventional schooling systems.

It may seem far-fetched, but the revolution has already begun. Universities the world over are offering larger swatches of their curriculum to online students scattered around the globe. As more incoming students opt to learn at their own pace online discussion boards and video lectures, the nature of education is becoming more DIY than it has ever before. While such a democratized future is exciting, it is equally dangerous. While many contemporary educational institutions have become more about generating revenue than education minds, the lack of central entities for education may prove deeply problematic for ruling governments.

While we will eschew and form of narrative that claims a government’s sole purpose is to subjugate its constituents, there is no denying that any ruling party benefits from some sort of unified thought across its populace. If that said populace is indulging itself in self-education according to the whims and spurs they feel from within, then suddenly there is a much larger percentage of people who are thinking for themselves – and that’s dangerous.

Then again, when viewed from an idealistic standpoint, the individuation of each singular mind is what will help usher in the fabled age of prosperity that humanity has been seemingly trudging toward for the past several millennia. Imagine a world where each person had the vast digital resources of teachers, books, and various assortments of academic texts at their disposal – ready to access ay any time. One would be half-tempted to believe that such a world could eradicate the mental malaise of racism and bigotry – but we’ve a long road to go until we live in that reality.

For now, we’ll have to settle for improving the quality and reach of education to those that aren’t lucky enough to live in a location where they can afford to shell out massive amounts of funds annually in the name of academic enlightenment. But it’s not just far-flung remote locations that will benefit from such a technology. The concept of “home schooling” will take on an entirely different meaning for the parents of the future. Where home-schooling household of the past required one – if not both – of the child’s guardians to stay home and help with the education of the child, the vast digital repositories of knowledge are poised to turn DIY Millennial culture into a proper pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps curriculum.

We’ve gone too far down the road of idealism, however, and a dose of reality is something that we’ll need if we’re to calm our ambitions. Remember the mentioned danger of “educational facilities” pushing their own agenda under the guise of education? That threat is very much real. We’re currently living in an age where narratives are spun one over another. In a hyper-connected world such as ours, with information readily available for dissemination among the masses, the “truth” becomes very hard to discern.

Thus far, most educational sites and services on the world wide web are just that. But with entities actively engaged in attempting to influence minds through means of digital interaction, it’s only a matter of time before organizations with more nefarious means crop up. And yet, there is no cause to panic. The procession of civilization will always see diametrically opposed forces vie for dominance, and it will ultimately be the people that decide who they will throw their weight behind.

At its root, Do-It-Yourself culture has plenty of reasons to be lauded as a mindset – but a way of thinking doesn’t always easily translate into a viable mantra for service platforms. If Millennials have proven anything, it’s that they are hungry and capable enough of seeking out the information that they desire and implement it to suit their needs. It will ultimately fall upon their shoulders to steer the future of education to greener pastures, but if their performance so far is any indication, the future of education is in great and capable hands.

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