By Shep McAllister of HackCollege.com
PBS MediaShift just came out with an inspiring article about students who have created successful blogs, websites, and businesses before graduating, and it just happens to have a healthy dose of HackCollege praise.
The reason I write this though isn't to toot our own horn; it's to share some examples of truly amazing things college students have done while still in school. These students all took advantage of emerging media to make names for themselves in a way that wouldn't have been possible just a few years ago. The barriers to getting your work out there are gone. You don't necessarily need a great internship these days to start building your resume (but you should still try to get one), and you certainly don't need to wait until you're out in the real world. If you have a computer and an opinion or skill in your head, you're off to a great start.
Thousands of blogs fall by the wayside every day because they aren't very popular, and it's really a shame. If you start a site expecting to be the next College Humor, you're probably going to be disappointed. Starting something new isn't just about getting readers or users though. A well-written blog could be your ticket to a job or internship, no matter how many people read it. If you're a budding web developer and write a cool bookmarklet, potential employers aren't going to judge it based on how many people use it; they'll judge it on how well it works and how innovative it is. If you're getting into photography it's incredibly easy to set up a site, or even use social networking to show your work off to the world. If you strike gold and spawn a media empire, then great. If not, the worst thing you could do is stop trying.
The point I'm trying to make is this: If you're reading this post, you definitely have a computer, and odds are you're a college student. You have EVERYTHING you need already. Just as the printing press brought reading to the masses hundreds of years ago, the internet has brought publishing to the masses today. College is the best time in your life to try something new, so if there's something in your life that you're good at or are knowledgeable in (trust me, there is), then it would be a waste for you to not utilize the opportunities at your fingertips and show your skills to the world.
What projects have you started as a college student? What was the hardest part? Let us know in the comments section.