In most parts of North America, the average student will begin school when they turn five years old. We start off in kindergarden where we are taught the basics of social interactions, mathematics and language. Then from the first grade all the way to the end of high school we are taught to attend class five days per week in a specific schedule and can only leave class with the permission of the teacher.
Most of the habits that define us are there since childhood and the longer you’ve had a habit, the harder it is to change it. We follow a similar pattern at school almost everyday until the age of 16-17. Most students start university between the age of 17-21. In other words, right after graduating from an institution that forced you to follow everything to the letter and ask permission to go to the bathroom (an environment where your freedom was very limited), we are thrown out of the cage. For the past 10-12 years of your life, you’ve been taught to ask permission for anything you wanted to do, your classes were in most cases given to you without any choice. And a few months later they open the cage and tell you to go explore.
If a bird was raised in a cage and suddenly the cage opened, what would the bird do? In some cases he would stay in, in other cases he would fly but he would not know anything, nor would he know what to do or where to go.
Yet that is exactly what happens to the majority of students. You are thrown in an institution where you have so much freedom over yourself, your career and your future. So what most do is the same thing they did for the past of their life. They attend class, go back home study and do their homework and go through university doing that with the occasional partying to briefly forget about the moment.
It wasn’t always like that, a few decades ago a university degree could get you a job almost instantaneously after graduation; Engineers would get job offers before even graduating.
Fast forward a few decades and you have people with good grades, degrees and over 250 applications to jobs and are still unemployed.
Times have changed, the population grew way too fast and access to universities has become easier. Which means more people, more professionals and more jobs? Yes and no.
In 1960 the world population was estimated at 3 billion. Half a century later the population more than doubled and reached 7 billion. We have experienced a higher population growth in the past 50 years, then we have since the beginning of human kind. Let that sink in.
Let’s also not get into the automation of jobs in this post. But it also is a big factor to account for.
Yes the amount of jobs have increased but not at the same rate as the work force.
Is it Really Like That?
University is a place where you get to choose who you become. If you follow what you did in high school you’ll never achieve much because of the following reasons. University has so many opportunities that most people never get to experience. Universities gives you the access to teachers that are mainly all doctors in their field, you have the opportunity to get involved in clubs or school boards and meet people, network with the executives of your potential future career. Yet out of all the students that attend university only few are aware of this and even fewer get involved. Only those that are the most certain of their future choices are motivated enough go to these lengths and succeed greatly after graduation. Because they realised that they are no longer in high school, they have the freedom to do what they want and they are the only one in the control of making it happen.
So many people claim that university is useless, and that there are no jobs. The thing is that if you treat university the same way you treated high school, then you’ll never stand out, even if you’re acing every class. University is only useless if you don’t properly take advantage of the opportunities that are right in front of you.
The problem is that it’s hard because in order to even start viewing university as a stepping stone to your career, you first want to be sure that you’re even studying something you would enjoy.
Which creates another problem. So many people I meet in school are unsure or unhappy, actually I rarely even meet someone who knows what the fuck they are doing. Those that are in programs like medical or engineering are unhappy because the pressure of being there wasn’t there’s but rather their parents or the famous “go for the job that pays well”. Rather than doing what they want, they do what others want them to do. The other half are in in a program and they are so unsure that they keep changing or even drop out. Very few are in university and know what they want.
University is great, I’ve been here for a year, but I’m starting to notice that I have to make a decision fast. If you want to succeed in university, you need to invest almost everything into it.
If you don’t, you won’t achieve much.
I have a side of me that enjoys school. The social environment, the opportunities of networking. But another side of me wants to build something of his own, something that can allow more freedom to follow what I truly enjoy in life, and that is my dominant side.
University is not about intelligence. It’s about a profession. Like I always tell others:
“University is the equivalent of a training to your future career. When you apply at a job like McDonalds, you get a basic training of a few days or weeks. University is the same but with a much longer process because it is training you for your future profession which requires more profound knowledge on a specific topic.”
So if university is not for you, that’s also fine. You want to be an entrepreneur that’s also fine, if you want to work in other fields that don’t require university, it’s also fine.
You’ll get a training no matter which one you choose, and you’ll go though hard times no matter which you choose.
Regardless of your choice, if you don’t choose to use the resources that are at your disposal, you will never be at an advantage.
If you’re a university student, be aware of the opportunities school can offer you and take advantage of them.
If you’re an entrepreneur you have to often go out of your way in order to find opportunities, use social media to find out about networking opportunities and other valuable resources. University are always looking for entrepreneurs and innovators to work with them, universities even offer opportunities to non-students!
It’s easy to see university as being “useless” it if you don’t get noticed or involved.
The people that take advantage of the resources at their disposal definitely don’t see it that way.
The choice is yours.