Happy new year everyone! It’s the beginning of a new decade and I thought why not start it with a kapow! 😀 No doubt this will a be a time when you are considering many life changing options and investigating which choices and decisions to make that will shape your future.
I’ve said before that in order to decide where you’re going it’s a good idea to take stock of where you’ve been and where you are today; in essence, look at how far you’ve come already. How far ahead are your goals and resolutions? If you’ve only planned ahead for the year, you’re probaby likely to fail. Try planning resolutions and goals that tie into you life for the next 5, 10, 15 or 25 years.
I’ve come before you today to tell you that, if you’re a student getting ready to send out all those thousands of university applications, or if you’re someone considering going to university later in life, then I recommend reading this post first. Why? Because I believe, that in some way, university for some can be a complete waste of time.
I Was A High School Dropout
When I was at school, I was, how shall I say it…rubbish! I would go through phases where I would be an A-grade student but most of the time I would burn out quickly, and just end up going back to my old ways swinging on my chair and staring out the window drifting into a wonderful daydream. I left school with one GCSE grade C, and had three other low level passes. I was gutted, but not surprised.
I then wasted 3 years in college re-sitting exams and trying different subjects. I did get an A in drama! 😆 I loved drama and I realised from a much younger age that I was talented and had a shot at being the next Robert Deniro 😎 after I played a gangster called Rocadura in a play called Pedro’s Revenge. However, because of family and cultural pressure, I couldn’t take that path. I was encouraged to go find a job in an office and do the ‘sensible’ thing. I’m glad I gave up on studies though because I was, quite frankly, crap at it.
I started a job and decided that I would start university as a part-time mature student. I chose Business Administration as my subject but because I’d moved to a new home, it meant that in the space of one day, I needed to be in three different parts of London desperately trying to get to each place on time. It just wasn’t practical to continue so, after just six weeks, I left university.
Then, about five years ago, I started discoveriing my various talents and my path started becoming clearer. It started with coaching and blogging. Then they evolved to include radio, working with children, badminton, writing and comedy. It was two fold in that it was as if a gentle hand was guiding me onto the things that I already knew deep down that I wanted to do, and experimenting to see what I liked and was good at.
I’m grateful now that it all transpired that way because I don’t think Business Admin would’ve really helped with my broadcasting, or stand-up comedy for that matter. 😉 Because of all the things I do now I have a clear idea of where I want to go in life. I am aligning my goals and values to things I want to do so making a choice now will be that much more informed.
You Can Learn Whatever And Whenever You Want
I now read and learn about all the subjects I enjoy. I don’t have pieces of worthless paper telling me that I’m qualified to do a job. Most of the time those pieces of paper are worthless because:
1. Most qualifications are created by ordinary people, just like you or me who, through experimenting create these study programs. What made them so special? Nothing, they learned and documented it for other people to follow. Anyone can do the same. Just because you have a piece of paper certifiying you for a job it doesn’t necessarily qualify you. Demonstrate that knowledge in the real world and in your life.
I understand that there is a need for accountability but with all this litigation culture if your ass is gonna get sued it will regardless of whether you have qualifications or not.
2. Ask anyone how much they actually remember of their university studies and see what responses you get. There’s a simple reason that a lot of people don’t remember and that’s because they chose subjects that they weren’t passionate about and did not continue studying after they left. They think: ‘I did what I needed to pass and now I can leave it behind.’
How To Make An Informed Decision About What To Do
There is no point in choosing a degree just because you like the sound of the title. There are literally hundreds of thousands of options out there so choose wisely. Take time out to meditate and find out what you would really enjoy doing for the rest of your life. Choose a study course for life.
If you really do have to go and you decide that you want to do a course that is relevant to your chosen
vacation vocation then find out exactly what that vocation involves. Don’t just go into something blindly. Are you sure you really want to spend the rest of your life cooped up in front of a computer screen? For some people that may be their idea of hell; others might relish each moment of it!
The Financial Paradox And Value Of Education
University education in the UK used to be free and then they started charging fees. Paradoxically, after the fees were introduced, universty admiissions have been consistently going up. Upon completing university students are now, on average, about £35,000 in debt. The adult portion of their life commences with a huge financial burden.
A degree is also not worth what it once used to be. As Sir Ken Robinson mentioned in his amazing Ted Talk that we’ve gone through a process of academic inflation. You may have a degree but you will, without a shadow of a doubt be asked when going for jobs: ‘What experience do you have?’ Did your bachelors give you any experience that you know of? (And that doesn’t include the skills of lifting salt and pepper shakers from your local pizza joint!)
A university degree won’t help you stand out from the crowd. When you go for a job you’ll undoubtedly be up against people with similar levels of education to you, but in order to get ahead you have to be smart in demostrating that intelligence and passion.
So you’ve studied for 3 years and what have you actually achieved? The truth is that you memorized a lot of information but applying that information was not part of the learning process. We told that we need to study and get educated in life but as we’ve seen over and over again that education is not the only path that one need take. There are many paths so get clear about yours first.
A large proportion of graduates that I’ve spoken to have a problem. They complete their course, pass with honours, but realise that the course they did has nothing to do with what they want to spend the rest of their lives doing. Ok, so £35,000 later you’ve now decided that you did something that will give you very little in the overall blueprint of your life. Oh crap!
After that one of two things happen; they either go back and do further education or they get a job because they can no longer financially afford to be without one so they settle for what they can get.
Here’s How I Would Do It
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I’m hoping I can pass on what I’ve learned to my children and to all the young people who are stuck and not sure what to do.
If I could travel to the past and meet my 13 year old self then here’s what I would say to me:
1. Learn about money and be prepared financially. You’re never too young to learn about creating wealth and you can even begin from a very young age. Find a fun way of making money. What do you have the most fun doing? Can you think of a model for that fun activity that could generate an income? That way if you chose to go to university then you can start life without a mountain of debt.
2. Don’t just go straight into each step of education straight after the other. You have a lifetime to decide so take some time out and try different things. Who knows what you might stumble into. Explore your creative side as creativity is a much needed commodity in the world you’ll be growing into.
3. In a 12 round bout, experiece would KO a degree in the first round. The best way of getting experience is just doing it. Start a business and don’t worry if it fails. Find a model that works and continue using it. Learn how to create a viral tipping point and use those skills to enhance any area of your life.
4. Next weeks lottery numbers are… 😆
Young people go to university often because they are given the false belief that it’s the best way to begin life. No! There are hundreds of ways so find the way that suits you best. You can study at any point in life you choose so don’t do it at such a young age. Go on a journey of self discovery first to see and then choose a course whose teachings will stay with you and be used for life.