As someone in their mid twenties still travelling, living in hostels and working jobs in hospitality, I get this a lot. Mostly from snotty nosed teenagers on gap years who have been handed everything in life. Damn millenials.
When I was school I was career driven. It was bled into me that the only path worth taking was education. That as a smart-ish kid, university was my best option. That’s all well and good telling someone who is 16 that education is their pathway but when I was coming through a school where there were thirty girls in each class with 12 class in each year group; a fair few of us fell through the cracks when it came to getting genuine course advice and careers talks.
I’m not blaming my teachers for my lack of success in the professional world but as someone who struggles to focus on the here and now, the freedom of picking from a huge range of subjects was overwhelming. And ultimately I made the wrong decision.
As someone who went on to university and pretty much scored a nothing degree because it was where my interests lay, I have advice for the younger generation.
University is not for everyone! University is for doctors, nurses, dentists, teachers. It’s for engineers and scientists. For accountants and physiotherapists. And if at the age of 16-18 you have your mind set on a profession such as that, then by all means go to University.
But for other people, look at apprenticeships, trades, manual skills, because later on in life after you studied sociology or media you will look back and wish you had a profession like this. Why? Because they give you freedom. Just as much as doctors are in demand worldwide, well so are plumbers, so are electricians, chefs and beauticians.
Don’t be sold into buying a degree that won’t get you places because your school and your government want to immerse you into thousands of pounds worth of debt before you even know what you want to do with your life.
When I finished university it was the hieght of the econmic recession in Ireland and the UK. Even finding bar work was hard, as someone with a degree it made life even harder. ‘You’re overqualified!’ Because when you find a profession you’ll leave our company. Which was true.
Instead I saved and packed my bags and left. And when I arrived in other countries there were so many people my age who had graduated doing the same thing and feeling the same way. Cheated. Because in countries like Australia and America and Canada if you have a skill you have the opportunity to live in paradise. If you have a degree it makes life harder to get sponsorship around the world with next to no experience.
And you can’t get experience unless you have experience. So test the water and reflect on what you want to do with your life and don’t buy into a future that was never meant for you.