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Thursday 25 November 2010

AudioBoo - Life or University?


Time for a re-think?


  1. Forty years ago, it was possible for me to work four months across the summer and earn most of my university tuition and living expenses for the upcoming year. Many of us did emerge with debt at the end of it but the totals were manageable, with relatively benign repayment conditions. Times have changed, which makes the decision to go to university, and what to study once you're there, all the more fraught.

    Most of the people I arrived at university with didn't know what they wanted to do. Of course, some wanted to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers, but most of us enrolled in large faculties and ended up with general degrees in the arts or sciences that really didn't equip us for anything in particular.

    Back then there was a debate over the primary role of the university. Should it be to provide practical training in the professions or, more generally, to equip its graduates with knowledge and skills that might prove useful in a changing world?

    I made the mistake of choosing courses I thought I "should" take, rather than ones I thought I'd enjoy. As a result, I found most of my courses tedious and dispiriting. Such a waste. By far, my most pleasurable educational experiences have taken place since I graduated, in adult-ed courses in subjects that genuinely interested me.

    A break after high school makes sense, especially if it provides clarification. Many of us went to university because our friends went or out of fear that we would be left behind in the race for success and happiness. I would think one of the better ways of deciding on a course of training would be to talk to people who are in the trenches, doing day-to-day what you think you'd like. My experience is that people enjoy talking about their work (even if they don't especially enjoy their jobs). I'd also encourage a young person to spend time in the environment they aspire to work in: volunteer in a classroom if you think you'd enjoy teaching, for example. Get as close as you can to the people who do the work you think you're interested in.


  2. Thanks for that insight into your own story.
    It does appear that most people seem to feel the same way as myself & your own experiences just go to prove my point really.
    Part of the problem these days is that everybody is in a rush & as you said, don't want to get left behind. The whole system seems to be wrong, but i wonder if if will ever change?
    It's too late for me (i'm quite happy where i am), but a change would sure help a lot of other people.