Whilst at a function recently, I struck up a conversation with a young woman about what we do for a living. Her occupation – a social media guru of sorts – was rather interesting to me as it is one of those things I know I need to be better at. But it was the conversation about what I do that stood out to me, and not because I do anything particularly exciting. What she was interested in was the fact that I had been able to set up and run my own business. And do it without a degree. While I don’t think she is going to be running off to follow my footsteps anytime soon, just the possibility that you could have a successful career without going to university was obviously different than what she had been lead to believe.
We live in a society that values education, and rightly so. It is absolutely crucial that we all have access to the education we need and the choice to pursue the education we want. But at what point does it become education for the sake of it rather than a purpose? Our school systems, and society in general, place pressure on our young to achieve certain marks so they can get into university to get a good job. They are conditioned to think that their whole future relies on the choices they make at high school and that to succeed in life they must go to university. This is a problem in that many young people have no idea what they want to do when they leave school. Even in my forties I couldn’t tell you what I want to do with the rest of my life. I have some ideas what I want the next five to ten years to look like, but further than that who knows. I certainly don’t want to go spending four years and some twenty to forty thousand dollars studying something that may or may not come in handy. That might come at some stage, but not now.
If I do find I want or need to seek further education, I am very fortunate to live in a society that allows this. One of the many great things about the time we are living in is that the ways to obtain education are plentiful and we can do it at any age. And university is not the only form. Let’s not forget trades and service. Those are both really important parts of our society. We need people to make, fix and serve us the stuff.
Of course if you really want to go to university and are not totally sure about what you are going to study, but believe you can find something along the way great. But lets not pressure those who don’t know and want to live life a little more before they decide what they want to do. The lessons just living life can give you can be just as valuable. And if you do pursue education, it may be just as valid if it comes in the form of a diploma. Or maybe it is just a certificate of attendance. As long as it is relevant to you the holder and allowing you to live the life that means something to you.
Til next time…