Should students blog?

Well, the topic of discussion today is whether students should become bloggers or consider blogging as their primary career option. I thought of writing about this topic after reading a post on melvin’s blog (a blog by a student blogger) and also after observing the trend of more and more students focusing on blogging, of late.

I know that it’s a controversial topic and many of the young bloggers in my own private blogosphere are students. They are all wonderful people who have great potential to make it big on the Internet. However, my sincere advice to them is that when you are studying just focus on that alone! And I have my reasons to believe so.

Who is a typical student blogger?

What I have observed is that a typical student blogger comes from one of the engineering or technical disciplines. Most of them tend to write more about software, gadgets, Google and technical pieces. Most of the time, they aren’t really natural bloggers – which means that they aren’t there because they are interested in creative writing or even long term writing ambitions. It is more about making a few extra bucks (online) while studying.

In fact, earning money while studying is not a bad idea at all as it can really help to support your education. People have done it in the past with jobs varying from giving tuition classes to kids, working in McDonalds or any front desk job etc. If you think from that angle, it makes absolute sense to make money online via blogging right from when you are a student. However, the difference here is that people get so addicted to online life and blogging (unlike other boring jobs) that they tend to skip their studies or even make it second priority.

And the worst thing is that, most people are not really blogging to support their education. Most of them are after quick bucks and this explains the mentality of the new generation. Many of those exceptionally talented, bright students want to become overnight entrepreneurs rather than a good engineer. They need money to spend rather than save and it’s about living today rather than planning for tomorrow. And those who could have become good engineers, programmers and great entrepreneurs end up becoming mediocre Internet marketers.

Why education & degree are very important?

I am in my late 30s now. In the past twenty years or so I have seen a number of classmates and colleagues of mine who went after quick bucks via money chain schemes, Amway affiliate marketing, stock markets, make money online etc and failed miserably. Of course, there has been that one person out of 1000s who made it big via a start-up idea but most others didn’t get anywhere. Fortunately, those who did such experiments after their basic degree, could still land in a job later, after one or two failures or learning. Others are still continuing their experiments only because there was no proper educational foundation in their lives.

Is blogging and making money online perennial?

Things like ‘Google fetching you money’ today may not be a sustainable business model for ever. However, basic qualifications around tried and tested industries and sectors (like manufacturing, retail, petrochemicals, construction etc) will sustain beyond time and can be your foolproof career option. Of course, once you have a degree around that, you can still experiment with the trend but not when you have no basic education.

Conclusion

Well, at the end, nobody has any right to suggest that students should not blog? But it’s my belief that being a student – especially school and undergraduate level – is an important phase of life that never returns. Getting passed out of high school and university with a reasonable grade is something very important in life and something that can never be corrected. One could add up any number of diplomas and certificate courses later but basic education (with your basics right) is very important in life. Hence, when you are in that phase, just focus on studies alone. Blogging can be done, say a few years later. If you still want blog during studies, you could do it but the priority should be clearly understood.

What’s your opinion, young student blogger?

[PS: I wrote this post spontaneously after reading Melvin’s post, Arun’s & Pradeep’s facebook comments and never really proofread it…]

Comments

  1. To be honest with you, you sound just like my Dad. And these lines:

    “In the past twenty years or so I have seen a number of classmates and colleagues of mine who went after quick bucks via money chain schemes, Amway affiliate marketing, stock markets, make money online etc and failed miserably”

    These lines are scary.

    For me, Blogging has taken me into a whole new level. I would never know the people or stuffs I know today if I hadn’t started blogging.

    Skills like, Photoshop-ing, Coding with PHP, CSS, little of JS, Presentation Skills, Handling Clients etc etc, got a lot better out of the opportunities I got from my blog.

    Plus, I am graduating next month, so I guess I have a backup ready. I agree with you on this, blogging has sometimes and many times, taken over my priorities, but I am not sure if it is safe to say, the net result was worth it. I will find out soon.

    Once you have your basic education right (which should be read in the Indian Educational scenario as appreciable marks), you can go after blogging or other ventures; otherwise Go to School and learn something.

    • @Arun, haha.. You said it.. When people are in middle age they start advising, right?

      As for people who tried to experiment differently, I have nothing against them nor am I prejudiced. I was just talking about my experience so far.

      I totally agree on the fact that blogging adds a lot to your soft skills such as networking, presentation skills and the way of communicating with clients etc. That’s definitely a plus point (something that I should have mentioned may be in the post). As for skills on PHP, CSS or photoshop… well, compare it with what you could have done if you are a committed engineer – you would architect and build enterprise systems rather than acquiring such skills, right? I wouldn’t say those are bad..but probably not up to what you could do now.

      I am glad that you are graduating which will let you take decisions on what direction to take.

      • I got what you meant, but I am afraid, the college I went to never taught me something like that anyway.

        Yes, if I hadn’t been blogging, I would have got into a company and would be working as an engineer there and would be doing the things you said.

        But, then I wouldn’t know that I could walk in my own way. Maybe I could build the next Apple or Microsoft. I would never know if I never try, rt?

        Anyway, I am prepared to fail and I have a mindset. Plus, if nothing works out, I can always use the degree as backup.

        (Say after 10 years, I would come back to this post and see how things turn out. It would be so much fun)

        • @Arun, all the very best for implementing your ideas :) I would love to see you super successful and let it not take 10 years… If you come up with some start-up ideas, let me know the progress as well. Btw, most of the start-ups are spin-off of some big companies – especially IBM. And hence it wont be a bad idea to get some 4-5 years of corporate experience before taking the plunge yourself.

          I really like the confidence level increase & exposure that people get as generations move forward.

          All the best again!

  2. Ya correct,

    I am trying to convey this message to my cousins. Blogging will help them to improve their writing skills, knowledge, Communication with people in the same field ….

    • @Albin, As I mentioned in the reply to Arun, soft skills are definitely a positive outcome of blogging as long as it’s not coming at the risk of losing out on something bigger.

  3. I second Arun completely! I am also floating in the same boat. Would be graduating next month.

    I enjoy blogging as it has opened me to a world of opportunities which never existed say 3 years back. Its a new concept and although being the next techcrunch might be too ambitious idea for now.

    Being the next labnol surely isn’t. :)

  4. Agreed with Arun. Me too trying to have a good backup to be on safer side in future.
    During Engg. Attending regular college is not so important so, taking out time for blogging is possible during academic period (not exams)

    P.S. These lines are from my personal point of view. May vary from institute to institute :)

    • @Rohit, glad that you agree on the basic education part. For me, it’s not a backup but a solid foundation for what to come in the future. Blogging probably is the backup :)

      At the same time, it wouldn’t be bad if somebody is able to juggle both reasonably well

  5. Good points as usual Ajith, though I beg to differ. I do not know about you but as an engineering student I had wasted so muh time doing useless stuff that I could have easily run a blog and still maintain my grade. :)

    A blog teaches us so much more even when we fail to make money from it. Taking criticism and failure in our stride are some of the best lessons that our students can learn irrespective of why they came to blogging.

    Btw, have you started a private blogging class? I will like to join. :)

    • @SK, Looks like you joined the wrong side of engineering. Didn’t you pick a branch that you always liked and wanted?

      As I mentioned in other replies, definitely blogging teaches you a lot.

      As for private blogging lessons, there are better bloggers in India from whom you can learn a lot. Also, there are a couple of youngsters who are extremely good at the money part of it. I am still a full time software person, and committed to blogging only for an hour or so, per day.

      • H.C. :

        @Ajith: I am an engineering student as well. Granting without conceding that there are some (emphasis on SOME) students who would slice-off a huge portion of their time for blogging. I myself chose to enroll only 12units of load. But I don’t see anything wrong or bad with it. Though I agree with you when you said:

        “But it’s my belief that being a student – especially school and undergraduate level – is an important phase of life that never returns. ”

        My personal belief is — the opportunity to earn is also an important phase of life. You said it yourself, “Google can’t fetch you money forever”, I completely agree with that, the very reason why I am blogging now. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, but the learning portion of blogging is only a plus to me. I am a student and I blog to earn (regardless of what purpose I have for it). It’s the idea of fiscal self-determination that’s most important.

  6. Abhishek :

    Ajith, Most of student blogger prefer blogging as part time job to earn there Pocket money, as I personally started around 3 years ago. Blogging Income is pretty fascinating that might divert the mind from studies.

    Its better to have a blog for students and better they maintain it on weekend or Month-ends. Since two years ago In my first interview my blog helped me to impress interviewer.

    Its all upto person what he wants from his life !!

    • @Abhishek, got your point…for making pocket money, it’s not a bad option at all. But if you depend your future solely on blogging, that will be stupidity. But from your pattern of blogging, as I have seen in the past, I presume that you have been serious about studies as well.

      And definitely, it’s about individuals as to what they want in life. But I doubt if 16 or 17 year olds know exactly what they want. I would definitely agree if a 25 year old decides on what he wants in life though :) – Rest of the children should listen to their parents of fatherly figures like me… haha

  7. Thanks for the great post but i disagree with your opinion, I am a 16 year old blogger, I blog in the make money online niche and I have a plan to make blogging my future job.
    Thanks for sharing your opinion.

    • @Onibalusi, Welcome to D$ and thanks for your comment. When you say that you want blogging as your future job, you should define for how long… I doubt if blogging as an income stream will persist beyond the next five or six years. It will transform into something like social network publishing (e.g. Facebook notes) and then it may not make any money at all.

      However, Internet in general will open up for various other possibilities other than blogging itself.

      • Yeah! but it depends on how you build your blog. I am trying to establish myself as an authority and I am already building my mailing list so if things change, I will be able to carry my audience along.
        Thanks for the nice comment.
        BTW: Are you accepting guest post on dollarshower.
        Thanks

        • At the moment, all posts are written by me (and earlier my wife also). Haven’t really thought about including guest posts yet though I keep getting a lot of queries. May be this is the reason why D$ is a bit anti-social and reserved type of a blog :)

  8. Melvin :

    I appreciate this post Ajith. No worries as my parents have inculcated those values for me a long time ago. I don’t know but as I’ve said, even If I was earning way back, I would’ve still continued studying because I really want to have fruitful offline career.

  9. Wait.. let me clear my mind before commenting.. 😀

    I really agree with your points Ajith, Education is first and Blogging is next. But students should blog!

    Being a student blogger I learned lot of new things and Blogging is such a gr8 way to know what’s happening in the world.

    I also wrote an article about the topic regarding the “Students and Blogging” issue and by some comments on that article I came to know ppl think blogging spoils education. But I won’t agree on that! :)

    Off Topic : Did you mentioned my name at the end of this article? 😀

    • @Pradeep, if you have strong belief that your education doesn’t get affected by blogging, why not blog? This would mean that you will still get a good grade and are ‘passionate’ about your school and subjects that you learn. As I mentioned in my reply to Arun, usually people who do blogging while schooling, usually end up mediocre passouts. Learning PHP, WordPress, HTML is no rocket science as millions are experts in that already. You could have done bigger software systems or even invented something altogether new… However, there are definite advantages like networking skills improvement etc.

      Again my idea here is not to discourage a genuine student blogger who has greater potential in the field for the future :)

      And the name mentioned at the bottom is yours 😀

      • That’s really cute Ajith!

        To be frank, you are just like my dad! He encourages me in academics and also understands students have the ability to blog and learn many things from it in near future. Kudos and cheers! 😉

  10. @Ajith – Thats so much love, feels good :)
    Thank You!

  11. I as a part time student, full time worker and a part time blogger, sometimes find difficulty in time balancing as too many tasks need to be done once. In my opinion, making money from blogging is really interesting and it might bring you huge income in future, but in my view education or studies is much more important than everything else, at least you’re expertise in certain field and you can still working even your blog is dead in some days.

    Right now, I concentrate on study, and I’ll blog when I have free time or semester break. :)

    Regards,
    Lee

    • Sounds like a good plan Lee :) Focusing on the studies when you are young is the right thing to do. You can make money and blog anytime in the future…but when you are older you don’t probably find as much time (and brain capacity) for studies.

      It’s like my MBA plan that never got materialized and now totally forgotten!

  12. Harish :

    I think I’ll go partly with you Ajith and partly with Arun. In my opinion students like me blog just for time pass and its not full time just one hour a day or so.

    So I don’t think it would affect the career of the student. To be Frank I explored most of the internet only after becoming a blogger.

    But another important thing is that some students become addicted to blogging once they start it. In those cases I should go with your point.

    great post :)

    • Harish, I was mainly talking about addiction part and prioritizing blogging ahead of studies… There’s nothing wrong in doing an hour job on blogging while studying :)

  13. Naser :

    ya i also don’t think students must not blog because if they start blogging from schooling age they will get addicted towards blogging resulting in less marks and more laziness

  14. Amazing stuff :) Every point suits me and its like someone calling me n advising 😛 Where ever i go, someone reminds me that, i should also concentrate on academics .. perfect article bookmarked for reading it again 😀 Every home will have this topic going on.. the way you wrote is very natural.. love it :)

  15. Tushar :

    i used to me a STUDENT BLOGGER until last june…. i completed my B.Tech and now working with a bank….
    dude, there is no such feeling like being a successful student blogger….it makes me feel very proud when i used to write my blog name in resume and tell people that i have own personal web space on web….

    Many were fascinated and mostly GIRLS… :-)

    • @Tushar, congratulations on graduating…

      As for the fascination and admiration part, you are absolutely right. I remember, when I set up my first personal homepage 11 years back, admiration was one of the outcomes and sometimes intended as well 😀

  16. Kesha :

    I think that even if students don’t blog, they will find some other way to “be involved” in the Internet space. There is no getting around that media is changing and students (and in fact anyone who wants to) can start sending their messages out to the world.

    Blogging can be a great experience, but it can also be a little difficult–especially when it seems like no one cares about what you have to write.

    I think it’s an individual decision for each person to make.

    • @Kesha, you have a great point here.. Those who are hooked on to the Internet (facebook, twitter and what not) would anyhow will continue that way despite the blogging part. Perhaps, one more question to ask is whether too much of Internet usage is good for anybody for that matter.

  17. Actually students who blog seem to have a better IQ than the ones who don’t. Of course, I am a student blogger and I plan to expand my network.. it brings in enormous amount of responsibility and, although, my grades aren’t as good as they were before owning the blog, but I am quite happy with it.

    I’d see other cool guys waiting for graduation to make bucks, where as, me have started doing it along with studies. Not that money ‘really’ matters, but making it at an early age makes a HUGE difference :)

    • @Sid, if someone starts blogging I doubt if their IQ increases 😀 however, the overall knowledge levels and certain softskills would definitely improve as you read/write/communicate more.

      Of course there’s something ‘cool’ about it as perceived but there are cooler people in other walks of life as well…

  18. Nihar :

    Great post.

    Ajith looks like some students who are regular readers of your blog has some opp opinion than you…

    You are right as a student the foremost thing is to concentrate on studies…

    • @Nihar, it’s like all grown up and settled individuals think like me but students think otherwise 😆 I guess, somewhere we have to have a mutual agreement. My seven year old was getting too much addicted to computers and blogging and I put a curb on him right away on when and how much he should be using the puter.

  19. Ricky :

    Ajith
    I am a student blogger and you are right upto some extent. I have lost mt grade after blogging. You know I started blogging as a passion (never thought I can earn money from it). I become addicted to it. Blogging may spoil your career if you are not concentrating on it. Study can be your back up plan if you fail as a blogger

    • Ricky :

      I almost forgot to tell that I consider myself as a full time blogger cum student now.Lol. Blogging is really addictive.

      • @Ricky, you can only do one ‘mainstream’ thing – either studies or blogging or working – fulltime. Rest has to be the hobby. Basically nobody can study for a hobby as it’s more about foundation for your life…

        Yes, blogging can be addictive and that’s why you have to do it fulltime only after the basic priorities in life are met.

  20. Gagan :

    Well according to me every student should have a blog. I am the only one is my class who has a tech blog and my blog makes me stand out from the crowd, and yes I write articles for college magazine and give my blog link there and you know what, teachers are highly impressed by my work resulting in high internal marks !! 😀

    • @Gagan, that’s an awesome way to market your blog and also help secure more internal marks ;). Writing definitely is good for everyone – for students as well. The addiction part of it is what worries me and also getting narrowminded with tech blogs niche alone.

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