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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Is Going To College Or University A Waste Of Money (As Well As Time)?

Let's see...

 - Going to college and university may mean gaining new skills and knowledge in your particular area and meeting new people on your course, but it doesn't teach you or grant you the life skills, soft skills nor does it teach you how to think for yourself. By soft skills, we mean communication, character and personality traits, emotional traits and these include (and are not limited to) adaptability, creativity, confidence building, conflict resolution, work ethic, integrity. These skills are fundamental and valuable as you step into the workplace and alongside working with your work colleagues and, but for say, the former, character traits and character building, building confidence, motivation and working to your potential, these are all things that tutors and lecturers never truly pass onto us. They shape and prepare us for what lies ahead at work, and it is something I could have really benefited from having. 

- Nobody is guaranteed a job straight away after graduation - far from it

- At least half of the stuff you learn you can obtain or learn for free on Youtube, Apple and Google Play app stores or through self-taught, personal and life experiences that cost you nothing; learning a new language? Use Google translate, go on holiday and/ or converse with people in general in their native/secondary language and pick up a few choice words and phrases or watch Youtube vids. Interested in art or dance? Just practice and practice without enrolling onto a course

- Going to college and university, just because it is something that 'has to be done' and if you don't go, you are a failure or you're branded as one - this is something that I see in relation to the vast numbers of Asians and Asian Americans and people of Asian descent studying and working hard, not just to get a well-paid job, but it is a necessity on their parents behalf. We are told by our parents and teachers we won't amount to anything, nor do well when we don't meet their 'standards'. In other words, this is more about pleasing them and making them feel good than you and making you feel like you owe them something. 

- It's not a waste of money if you are studying law, business, IT - anything else, such as liberal, expressive/creative and performing arts (art/design, dance, acting, music), these sectors would involve a lot of personal networking and finding people who work in those industries who could help you land a job in those areas. Having practical skills alone is just not enough. If you don't have that, then it becomes increasingly difficult to secure work. The lack of support and resources I had meant I gave up on a pursuing a job in the media.

- But for law, business, IT, teaching, medicine, the overwhelming majority of professions and sectors do NOT require degrees in their fields 

- I figured or I'd thought at in my 20s that by having a piece of paper with my name on it, would lead to something bigger for me, career-wise, but eventually, that never materialised.

- Leaving university with a huge amount of student debt to be paid off - thousands of pounds or dollars worth of debt and loans that you need to pay back if you are earning over £10k/$10k in your job is hardly the stuff of dreams, really. Yes, your earning potential increases with a degree, but that's only if you end up with a highly paid profession.

*Bottom line: I majored in BA Hons Media arts and journalism with a 2.2 almost over 10 years ago, following on from my Access to Higher Education Media Studies college course (where I secured a level 3 qualification), but I couldn't and wasn't able to find work, so after a couple of months later and lacking on-the-job training and work experience in the media, I eventually turned to retail. Currently, I work at Costco and I feel as though that besides the money, the positive, as well as negative experiences I have obtained in the real-world has given me a sense of perspective as a person and knowing what I can achieve, as well as to what I still need to work on by being in work....something that college and university, well, the last few years of college and uni never provided me. I am in a job that has nothing to do in relation to my degree, and quite frankly, as I get older, it doesn't bother me that I don't have a media-related job. Come to think of it, as I reflect on this, I don't spend time thinking about college or doing a course, anymore. Why? because it is not a requirement or something that I feel that I have to or must do in order to fulfil me as a person. 

Do I regret going to college and university when I could have and should have found myself in employment earlier on and earned more money, instead? In fact, I sometimes do. People have said to me, 'but you still got your degree' - well, it doesn't matter, as this didn't help me land me a job in the media. 

I spent literally half of my existing life studying by going to school, college, university, full-time & part-time by doing courses which I'd thought were going to lead me onto a career in the arts and the media industries, whilst it wasn't always easy securing regular jobs just to pay the bills and support my family. I did a few numeracy courses and my maths skills aren't that great, the fields associated with Asians such as law and business, I.T, for me, were areas that I wasn't so particularly good at or of which I had no interest in pursuing. I wasn't the stereotypical geeky, bookworm straight A-study hard Asian student - far from it. 

Because of this route that I took, it cost me a great deal with virtually almost no pay-off. 

Higher education is linked to higher earning potential; if that is so often the case, then why are there people with communications and media studies degrees slumming it out at Starbucks, flipping burgers at Mcd's or working in a retail chain and especially for minimum wage and still saddled with thousands of pounds/dollars worth of debt they have to write off? 

The labour market doesn't pay and hire people and applicants for the subjects and degrees that we studied - it pays and hires people for jobs, so long as you meet their requirements of the job spec; that they have put their faith in you that you can do the job well enough and that you have some preexisting and relatable soft skills that you can apply them at work. With retail work, in particular, they don't really care whether or not if you have a degree.

I'm not telling you not to go to college and university and not to get yourself an education, but, and speaking from personal experience, I am also saying that education isn't just strictly limited to the classrooms -, and they don't need to cost you a dime, either. Education doesn't end, right after college and university. 

Don't do something by following the crowd, because that is what society tells you. Think long and hard about it and weigh up the pros and cons. If you go to college, apply for and undertake a vocational course or trade school that involves and provides you with the hands-on training and practical skills that employers look for in potential employees. As opposed to 4 years worth of what is predominately theory and tons of textbooks that you'll probably never read and use again after you finish.

Just keep your options open until you find one that works. But at the end of the day, it's about getting a job and making and earning money. & most of the time and depending on some courses, college and university just isn't the gateway to that. 

& that's life (un)fortunately. 

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