University, it’s not for everyone
This is a message to the 80, 000 or so high school graduates who will later today log onto the UAC site and find out whether or not they received a place at an Australian university for 2010.
Whatever happens don’t panic. Especially if you have spent the entire Christmas break avoiding the questions of (well meaning) relatives asking what you want to do with the rest of your life.
It is absolutely 100 per cent OK if you (a) you don’t want to go to university or (b)fall into the 30, 000 or so people who will miss out on a place this year.
University does have a lot of things going for it. But what it definitely won’t do is guarantee you success, happiness, ambition or many of the other lofty ideals often attributed to the experience.
Bill Gates one of the richest men in the world famously quipped that he dropped out of Harvard university when he “saw the error of my ways and realised I could make do with a high school diploma”. And so began the start of an incredibly succesful entreprenurial career.
There are obviously quite a few exceptions. If your dream is to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer then you’re going to have to find a way to either get in next year (via bridging course or later as a postgraduate) or learn to enjoy the idea of going to university.
But for everyone else, or those that just aren’t sure what they want to do, the world is literally your oyster. And as long as you’re curious enough life will throw many learning opportunities your way.
Here are a few things to remember:
1. Some of the world’s most creative and successful people never finished or even went to university. Woody Allen, Paul Keating, Annie Lebovitz, Olivia Newtown John, Michael Dell, Ellen De Generess, Dan Akroyd, Christina Aguerlia - the list goes on and on. And the one thing they share (other than bucket loads of cash) is that they got to where they are without a cap and gown.
2. Australian universities are in pretty bad shape. Did you know 20 per cent of Australian students drop out of university in their first year, with the majority of these blaming bad choice in subject selection and financial hardship as reasons for dropping out? Or that the current unemployment rate for graduates sits at 7.2 per cent? That’s a 2 per cent rise since last year. And that less than 50 per cent of employers of graduates in the IT industry were reported to be unhappy with their recent recruits. And they cited lack of interpersonal skills and work experience as the key areas of contention.
3. There are so many alternatives. TAFE, apprenticeships, cadetships, private colleges or just getting full time employment. Some good information is available here and here. And if you’re not 100 per cent certain that you know where you’re headed what about trying some volunteering or even go travelling. You can’t beat that for a learning experience. And no matter what you end up doing, allow yourself enough time to think about what you want. It’s alot easier to get there if you know where you want to go.
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