I’m young, English and a college student. I’m right in the middle of the system, as I’m sure many other people in similar circumstances are. People have expectations for me, whether they’re conscious or not, and I’d be heading in a totally different direction if I didn’t pay attention to what I’m doing. By now you may be wondering what I mean by ‘The System’, and rightly so. I reckon some of you will be thinking “Ah, capitalism!”, but you’d be wrong. I believe capitalism breeds opportunity so that’s one system I’m glad to be a part of, here’s what I mean:
That may seem normal for many people, and might even be where they would like to stay, but not me. I refuse to conform to this system, here’s my version:
First off, let me explain a few things. ‘Adding value’ to me does not necessarily mean work, I think it’s something to be enjoyed and excited about, and if that’s how you feel then I don’t think you’d be calling it work either. Inept may sound a bit rude, I wanted a short word to describe ‘being unable to add any more value to the marketplace’, it’s the best I could find.
As far as I’m aware, most people go through the majority of life working for and making others rich, with the knowledge that maybe one day, if they’re really lucky, an opportunity may arise to make a fortune. I haven’t quite reached that part of life yet, but people are certainly talking about it where I am.
That’s why I question my experience at college, there are definitely some aspects that I enjoy, but then there’s the side of conformity. Right now I’m officially studying Physics, Computing, Maths and German, and although they’re all fun (most of the time) subjects to study, progress can be relatively slow. I think the biggest upside for me is the amount of people and the learning. Although I’m not learning things that’ll help me build a fortress, I think any learning is good, and that I do enjoy. But then there’s the downsides… So far I’ve met no one who isn’t ‘system’ focused. Off the top of my head I can’t think of anyone who isn’t planning to go to university or get an apprenticeship, and then try to land themselves a job afterwards with their degree.
It’s not to say that any of these are bad things, but I honestly think degrees are becoming a bit overrated, everyone’s got them. If you’re going into medicine or neuroscience then I can completely understand, but it’s the people who go there to study how to work for others and how to cut hair (yes, really, there are universities in this country offering hairdressing as a degree…) that I don’t quite understand. Universities should be a place to go if you need something, like the know-how to operate on a brain, but without a £40,000 price tag, in my opinion anyway. I think my issue is the education system in general; you’re trained to perform at jobs, but you’re never taught how to live an exceptional life.
That doesn’t mean I’m ruling out going to university, but I wouldn’t go there in order to get a job. I’d likely study something abstract, maybe physics or neuroscience, just for the fun of it, as well as gaining some über interesting knowledge.
If people are happy on that path then I’m happy for them, but it’s not for me, and I certainly wouldn’t be happy on that path. I don’t want to put my life in the hands of someone else who has nothing planned for me. It’s my life, my ship, I’ll make my own plan and go where I want to go, not at the mercy of others. That doesn’t mean rebellion or anything, it ultimately means that I’m taking full personal responsibility.
So what about yourself? Where do you stand and what ideas do you have? Are you a conformer or are you making your own dent in this universe?