College Advice

If I had a nickel for every time I was asked this question, I’d have paid off my student loans 10x over:

My Name is Daniel, but go I by the name Nico. Everyone asks me how i got that nickname but i honestly do not know why my percents started calling me that. I am Filipino, currently living in the Philippines, and a senior in high school. I’ve been watching your videos for a long time now, and what you do really interests me. I, like you, love technology.

I am going to the US for college to take up industrial design. I’m emailing you because I was hoping you would be able to give me some advice. My parents are spending almost double for my college tuition than what they spent for my older siblings for their college education – and I really want to figure out a way to help pay for it, or find a way to pay them back eventually. There will be added costs as a need to purchase a laptop, hopefully a Mac, for the major I’m planning to take, and I think I’m going to constantly buy materials for my classes. I really, really want to pay for as much of all of this as I can.

One thing that I think I have some talent with is photography, and this may be a way I can generate some money. I am very passionate about photography. I post some of my photographs on my flickr. I take photos of almost everything. I’m heavily involved with my school yearbook, both as a photographer and a layout editor, and the school magazine. I’m hoping to eventually make some money with my photos, but don’t know how to start. It would be great if you could give me some tips on maybe starting my own website and how to generate some money out of it. Any other advice on selling photographs online would be great. I’m not expecting to make tons of money, and I don’t expect it to happen overnight, but I am willing to work hard and be patient for it.

Let me first say that I’m impressed with your ability to communicate in a fairly coherent fashion; 90% of the emails I receive from U.S. students are sloppy (not to mention, beyond illegible). I’m not sure if English is your primary or secondary language, but your literary skills will be what spells success in your initial and continued endeavors.

Hell, most American adults can’t even grasp the concept that Apple’s “Mac” computer isn’t written as “MAC” (which is a store brand for cosmetics).

That, and your personal responsibility for finances should also be a lesson to the lazy.

You likely have a certain set skills which are valuable to others. It’s now your responsibility to find the intersection between what you can do and who can pay you to do what you do. You’ll figure out the “how” after seeing what works (and, more importantly, what doesn’t work).

There are near-infinite ways for you to make a Web site and countless opportunities to sell your photo work. Remember, however, that tools are merely the means to an end – and you’re not the only person using them to achieve your goals.

The information is out there on how to do anything – but nothing will ever teach you as much about a task as figuring it out for yourself. If I have a single tip for you, it’s simply: DO IT.

You’ll figure “it” out.

Of course, I’m sure people will have specific recommendations for you – but good advice is relative, and (still) only valuable if you apply it to your set of circumstances.