Doubling down on yourself

Building is the best way to learn

Deciding to not go to graduate school may be the best decision I have ever made.

"If you're headed to graduate school to get a master's, you might be better off spending those two years actually doing the work instead."

- Seth Godin (From The Practice)

The moment I decided I wasn't going to pursue a Masters Degree through a traditional university for my studies was also the moment I decided to become a Freelance Graduate Student.

“Upon attempting to rationalize the unbearable cost of a 20-month online master's program, totaling $60,000+.. I decided I was no longer falling for that trap.”

- (From COVID-19’s Disruption of Higher Education)

Little did I realize, that I would not only save A TON OF MONEY deciding to become a Freelance Graduate Student, but I would also start building the things I have always wanted to.

I am convinced that if you (yes you reader) decide to pursue your studies individually you will end up building/creating the things you have always wanted to as well!

Why not start a newsletter?

“I will start by publicly committing to publishing an article once a week. These weekly articles will be released on Thursday mornings @10:00 EST. Stating this publicly will help me hold myself accountable, feel free to shame me publicly @bartadamley (I am serious) if I don’t stick to this.” - The only way out is to publish

This was my initial commitment for publishing this weekly newsletter, on February 11th, 2021. Little did I realize, where this process would lead me overtime.

It is crazy to think, that so far I have already published 14 newsletters (including this one). Also wild to think that we are only getting started!

The really underrated part about requiring yourself to publish once a week, is that with each iteration of your writing… you start to acquire a certain philosophy.. building up more points of reference with your thought process.

In publishing your writing consistently, you get closer to your fundamental core i.e., you really start to understand your belief system and what you value.

I can honestly say I still have no clue where writing a weekly newsletter will lead me but I am genuinely optimistic about it’s future and have no plans on stopping anytime soon.

Why not start a monthly mix?

One of my burgeoning passions if it isn’t already obvious to you is music. Putting out music consistently, as well as taking the time for devoted practice to creating more music is also something I have struggled considerably with previously.

However, making the commitment to publish a new monthly mix on SoundCloud has helped tremendously!

Implementing the “Two and a half hour challenge” into my life, has been a profound task, but it is forcing me to actively and consciously make the effort to do something related to music everyday.

This has only made it easier overtime. Whether this involves: playing the piano, mixing, producing and/or working on further ideas I have for music as it relates to building a business for it.

It is as if the gaps in between myself “returning to music” are getting shorter. And as it is with instilling any habit into one’s life, shortening those gaps in between times you devote it to your “practice” is how you get closer and closer to mastery.

“Mastery is an asymptote. You can approach it. You can hone in on it. You can get really, really close to it. But you can never touch it.” - Daniel Pink (from Drive)

If you know of any guest Musicians/DJ’s that would like to be featured as a BARTYDARTY guest in the coming future, please let me know.

Here is a link to all of my BARTYDARTY mixes I have made thus far!

6 Volumes down and plenty more to go :)

Why not start a podcast?

“People don't care about books, they care about ideas.” - Tim O’Reilly from (Network Celebrity: Entrepreneurship and The New Public Intellectuals)

This is a really challenging quote for me, because of my absolute love of books. However, I am afraid this is the truth.

As sure, there are people just like myself... that obsess over the quality and quantity of books we read. But yet, not everyone is like this, and that is okay.

Let's think about all the unique mediums that we can use to learn and share ideas.

Podcasts, vlogs, blogs/newsletters, personal websites, social media channels and yes even our music !

Is a podcast the next “right” approach for myself to get my ideas out by?

When could I then launch this?

Who could I get on the pod?

What will I name it?

As far as all of these details go, I will make a declaration today by stating that this will all be figured out by the first day of fall: on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021.

This is a forewarning, I will probably be openly asking a lot of these questions into what it takes to fully building out a podcast in my writing. Also: if you or any of your friends have knowledge about starting a podcast please let me know.

**(I am talking to you future guest).

What are the commonalities?

Starting a podcast, a newsletter, as well as a series of monthly mixes are self-assigned tasks. Or as I have phrased it before in a previous newsletter: these are all self-assigned homework assignments.

Creating a podcast by a seemingly random date is essentially a moonshot. Just as deciding to create a weekly newsletter is. The same applies to creating a monthly mix.

Figuring out your due dates for when you want to release a mix, newsletter or a podcast.. is really at best a guessing game. Which as we can say with any guessing game we base it off of what we have learned from our experience creating and publishing our work previously.

Undertaking any of these creative endeavors is: a learning experiment.

At its core, isn’t that what the basis of founding something is?

Imagine the joy of building something independently and seeing it thrive.. whether that is a educational alternative, tech startup, media company or even a restaurant? Knowing full well, all the foundational work and struggles it took to bring you to that point?

This may be the most gratifying, yet challenging thing in all of our grasps. Committing to building something not for just today, but instead building for the long haul.

This is why I will publicly state my next time-sensitive commitment: I am going to start a podcast by Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021.

Time to put in the work to figure out what this will all take in the meanwhile to get a podcast started. Just as I have to for creating this weekly newsletter. As well as for my BARTYDARTY monthly mixes.

Everyday is legitimately a learning experience.

You are so much more capable of accomplishing anything, once you consciously take actions and shape your learning in pursuit of these goals on a daily basis.

Double down on yourself!

Cheers to lifelong learning,

Adam Bartley


A reminder, if you're enjoying The Freelance Graduate Student, I would really love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to subscribe. I try my very best to put out my best ideas out each week, and I hope you have as much fun reading them, as I do creating them.

If you find anything relevant to the previous writing I have put out, or just additional links you would like to share, reply to this post and send them over.