So these words are from a late night of both travelling and studying. Studying for what should be my economics examination but wasn’t. This is a short story of the perceived failed lifestyle that so many of us inconsistent students often face.
You see, there is nothing liberating about studying. Some people just don’t learn shoved behind a desk listening to some guy rant on in the vast distance on the other side of a lecture theater. I know, who would have thought?
Those people learn in other ways, such as doing and experiencing. They grow their expertise as they do things because it’s relevant to what they’re doing right now. It’s practicable. For a lot of students I know who struggle with the concept of University it’s often down to a lack of confidence.
I’ve struggled with this too. Hitting my second year of study knowing that my track record shows D grades and A+ grades has helped me realize one thing. It’s not consistency that is as important as is passion for one thing or a few things.
When I was sat at my desk tonight, all I could remember was being so incredibly fascinated by this bike ride that I’d planned. Not your motorcycle kind either. No, a push bike plan. A plan to cycle half the length of New Zealand across its North Island during the middle of winter to raise funds for kids in care.
My philosophy is that when it comes down to the line what matters most to people is their satisfaction to life. Not by what credentials they have or what job they could get with their A-grades.
We are moving into the age of deep fried avocado chips and Jacinda Ardern’s. Where every system will be questioned for its familistic value under a more liberal, intelligent and practical democracy. Where children won’t feel isolated in an abusive home because there is someone out there advocating for them. A time when family traditions are pushed aside for non-sexist, relationship building communities of people who widely accept individuals as family.
A time when a bachelor of commerce won’t be necessary to get a job in selling shirts at K-Mart. A time when a bachelor of business communications wouldn’t be needed to work as a Journalist in Syria but instead let you prove your worth by showing the work you have accomplished.
I’m talking about higher education becoming less relevant to employment, which I’m sure 90% of students and 100% of their parents want. Is to become employed with a job that provides, or better still, allows that person to buy their first home. Get a nice car, start a family. Erect a white picket fence…
I’m not saying the white picket fence cookie cutter lifestyle trend is bad. I’m saying it’s boring. Where is the life in that?
My point is that if you want to get the most marginal utility, or satisfaction – something I’ve learnt in economics tonight, you need to make sure you’re doing what you’re passionate about. Good old fashioned, do what makes you happy mantra. Instead of being passionate about university, tonight I chose to arrange my bike ride. Not because I hate my parents for funding my education but because it was something that made me happy. It gives me purpose.
The immediate assumption leople could make is that students come up with every excuse to avoid studying at all costs. But what kind of a student doesn’t avoid studenting?
I have a close friend who has had difficulty this year trying to find his way through university. Not because he isn’t smart or isn’t capable because in many ways he’s gifted and talented. He has all the right qualities going for him and is genuinely an intelligent guy, like so many students out there.
He’s not doing very well because the pressure of his parents to achieve great things swallows the pride he gets from doing what he loves. In turn he blames the system for not letting him walk into a job just because he’s gauged interest.
When people ask kids the question what they want to be when they grow up they always expect half of them to be jobs requiring higher education. The thing is that only some of those jobs really “need” an education. The British Navy had unqualified doctors during the world war mending wounded people back to life. Stammering King George VI of England hired an unqualified speech therapist to help him become the first live broadcasting Monarch to The British Empire during a time of war. The therapist was an actor who had experience in the field of speech therapy also during the war. No qualification, no APA referencing expectations.
What I’m getting at here is that not all students should be forced to do well in school. They shouldn’t feel like cogs in a machine because there shouldn’t be pressure to do well in something because it’s probably not going to work out that way, especially if it’s not liberating.
I think it’s important for everyone to know that liberation is not the American type, but the type who can prioritise family, health and happiness above money, A-grades and white picket fences.
Obviously, that student who is up late at night pondering whether to organize a bike ride or study for his exam tomorrow is going to pick bike ride. And there will be consequences for that, he probably won’t do very well. Will go onto failing the course and will probably sit it next semester. The consequence is not the time wasted, it’s the money it will cost to repair the damage done.
The cost will be to resit those papers.
The cost will be to ask for forgiveness from your parents.
The cost will be thinking about how hard they had to work for that failed examination.
It’s a real stress that a lot of students face.
So there is absolutely a level of accountability from the student to their parents. But there is also a level of support a parent needs to provide that isn’t financial to encourage their child to do the best they can without asking any more from them because they love their child endlessly because that’s what families do and that’s the most important thing.
I guess when it comes to living you need to be sure you know what you’re passionate about and gravitate to it like water to the Earth.
Mine is cycling and spinning yarns at six in the morning…