My press photos, by the way, were taken by Jayd Gardina, who in an awesome coincidence, is also shooting a wedding that I’ll be in this fall.

Q. What is the one take-away you want to leave people?

A. Ideally, I hope this is a message of empowerment. I really think that the simplest and fastest thing that can change is for families and students to think differently about what higher education is and what it can be. So that they don’t think of it as this monolithic institution that is rejecting me or accepting me, and I should have to abide by their decisions and let them tell me who I am and how good I am, and when I get out I’m going to hope they can help me find a job.


Neal: What qualities or behaviors do students need to make the most of a DIY U experience?

Anya: Ideally, they need to reject as much as they can the socialization that comes with formal school. They need an internal, not external locus of control; they need to embrace risk and failure, realize they can learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime, and that learning is associated with flow and excitement, not hardness and boredom.

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