Expectations VS Reality

And by that, I mean with university, and just generally being a young person in 2016.

Yeah, It’s going to be a rant post, so apologies in advance. But I am just getting a littttttttle over how often (older) adults have been asking me (at what feels like every chance they see me) “so are you still planning to go to Brisbane and uni next year?” or if you made a decision/plan/something happens it’s straightaway: “so how’s this going to affect you moving and uni next year?”

I know they’re just being supportive and invested/care about my future, but I’m currently not at uni at the moment because *shock* I don’t want to be. Not right now, anyway. I love the idea of learning, and having a degree certainly opens up a whole new world of job opportunities (where the competition is fierce as fuck and getting more competitive by the day) but the actual studying side of uni makes me want to curl up into a ball and cry.

As a full time student you have two options:

1) Somehow snag a job that is flexible with your uni timetable (or study online to be flexible around your job) and spend every waking minute of the semester wondering whether or not you’ve done enough study/reading today and if you should be bothered rocking up to that tutorial and constantly feeling bad about missing social shit/family time because you’ve got deadlines and assignments and you’re hardly sleeping and you get to feel guilty about watching ONE EPISODE of your favourite show —-

Or 2) You don’t get a job and are either extremely lucky enough to be supported by your parents or are satisfied with living on the stingy amount of Youth Allowance you get through Centrelink. So even though you’ve technically got a lot more time on your hands you’ve got fuck all money to have fun with, and sure you might be able to attend all of the fabulous nights out/parties/etc. but you’ll be relying on goon to get you drunk and will be in desperate need of a good trip to the hairdressers for the next 3 or so years.

In short: I don’t find it enjoyable. I’d rather spend my days scrummaging through the Science Channel page on Facebook or watching documentaries, educating myself on space (my personal fave), the environment and how to protect/save it (very important!), medical breakthroughs and everything in between. I know that doesn’t “count” in society’s eyes as getting an education, but for the most part, all of the information I read sticks with me. Or at the very least, sparks my curiosity, so I continue to research more in an attempt to learn what the heck all those big words mean and what does it mean for us?

On the other hand, in the work department, I am bored as hell. My job is challenging, yes, but more so because things are so painful and there always seems to be a new trivial problem that arises in our charming retail chain store. I know I would be more stimulated in an creative office environment, or somewhere that I had different projects to work on or interesting problems to solve, but of course, it doesn’t matter how good I am at organisation or dealing with customer queries, no one in the real world gives a shit these days unless you have a piece of paper to back you up. And even then, you could have graduated with flying colours but still be completely useless in transferring those book skills to the real life, high pressure situations that you will definitely face.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts floating around lately about celebrities who started out their careers later in life, which is all very lovely and encouraging, but I’m quite certain none of them had to go to university to obtain such dream jobs.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish there was a more realistic way to become qualified for today’s ever-changing workforce. I definitely prefer the TAFE method of grading (a lot more practical examinations) as opposed to the uni structure (in which you don’t get to do internships until the 3rd or 4th year – usually) but the course hours are still pretty intense for people like me who still want to have a life and money whilst they are studying (maybe I am asking too much haha).

For me, an apprenticeship is the ideal set up. Sure, it’s shit pay at the beginning, but at least everyday that you’re going to work you’re a) working towards your qualification and b) actually learning shit about the job you want to do and c) GETTING PAID FOR IT. The majority of my guy friends are doing apprenticeships to become tradesmen, and for the most part, seem pretty happy in doing so. At the end of this year they’ll all be qualified and ready to earn the big bucks, and I’ll still be sitting here cursing myself for not being interested in being an electrician or a diesel fitter.

I know this post sounds a bit (majorly) whiney, but when you’re someone with all of this unharnessed creative energy that needs a job to direct it into, it kinda sucks knowing that you have to wait a minimum of 3 years (of slumming it and being at maximum stress levels) before anyone will even consider hiring you.

Sure, volunteering and internships (if anyone will take you) are a great way to get your foot in the door of your chosen industry, but again that has to happen in your own time scheduled around your job whilst also fitting in with when the business/company/person actually wants you there. Yes, there are lots of people out there who dedicated 150% of their time and energy into their career success but that’s just not me, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. Simply put: you need balance.

I read about/know so many people who have burnt themselves out by putting everything they’ve got into work, and completely forget that we are only put on this Earth once. I don’t see the point of wasting away my “glory years” worrying about being broke and assignment deadlines and crying because I never get to do any travelling (one of my biggest passions) and can’t afford to see my favourite band.

As lame and cliched as it is, I think it’s more important to do what makes you happy and just live, goddammit! Because what if something life-changingly shit happens and you’ve wasted so much time doing the right thing and what is expected of you? Is that piece of paper (that you don’t 100% care about right now) really worth it?

Now, if by some miracle you’re still reading this: then props to you. Also, I just want to make it clear that this is not a hate post on university or higher education. I think it’s brilliant and we are so lucky to have access to such courses and be able to take out HECS debts so we can attend now and pay later. I’m more just frustrated that we are expected to do it straight away, or that as young people we aren’t worth as much if we don’t have a degree.

This has all gotten a little deep, and I know that the people who ask just want me to do well and be successful and happy, but you know what makes me happy right now? Hanging out with my boyfriend/friends. Sleepovers at my parents. Music festivals. Flying to Brisbane to see my favourite bands. Booking spontaneous trips along to east coast to go to all the places I dream about JUST BECAUSE. I’m 21, and I’ve dropped out of 3 courses so far, and when I look back fondly at my post-school years, studying or work doesn’t show up in those memories even for a second.

So if you’re like me, and rather spend your days off relaxing or adventuring then stop feeling bad. As long as you’re keeping your brain stimulated with activities that you enjoy or reading about topics that you’re interested or passionate about, then you’re doing just fine. You’ve gotta look after yourself first right?

And at the end of the day, no one’s going to remember you by what job you had and what qualifications were printed on your resume in Times New Roman size 12. If you do your best to be kind, respectful and caring towards yourself and others, then you’re a pretty fucking valuable member of society in my eyes.

Over and out,

Viv x

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