On Education On Life On Motivation On Self

Advice I’d Give My Younger Self About University


To all those reading this who are thinking about post-secondary education or (more likely) those of us who have kids entering those years, let’s talk about university. I recall a time when choosing which school and which “career path” was the biggest concern in my life. It was what was going to be the deciding factor for the rest of my life. The amount of stress that rested on my shoulders that began to grow at grade 9 was immense by Grade 11. I also recall when I was a little older than those times when I was asked to go back to my high school and speak to students in Grades 11 and 12 about university and my experiences. 

The advice I’d give them is the same advice I’m about to give you and anyone questioning whether University was right for them or if the only reason they truly are applying is because they are expected to…….

Don’t go. 

If you’re going to school for 4 years and $20,000 because you feel like you HAVE to, don’t go. It’s a waste of money and time. If you have a passion for something or you WANT to go to school, that’s different. Then go. But if you’re going because you’re being told to and you’re just going to try to get it done, it’s not worth it. I’ll be honest, an undergraduate degree isn’t going to win you jobs. Especially if you’re taking something like History or English because you need to choose something to do to satisfy someone else’s expectation of you. 

“If you’re passionate about learning, then do it.”

Now if you’re going so you could ultimately become a teacher or journalist or something along those lines, then do it. If you’re passionate about learning, then do it. 

The fear that everyone has (especially my parents) was that if you don’t go to school, you’ll never go to school. Well I don’t think that’s true, if you’re ambitious and motivated you’ll quickly realize in the real world that anything you WANT to do will require some sort of education, so you’ll end up getting one. If you’re NOT ambitious or motivated, school won’t necessarily make you any more ambitious or motivated. I AM ambitious and motivated and school was hell for me. 

All this being said, post-secondary education is NOT useless. In fact here are few things that going to University or College will get you if you decide to go through with it:

  1. Networking. I wish I did this more when I went to school. I hung out with my highschool friends who happened to go with me to the same University. Practicing your networking skills and connecting with people in university is probably the most helpful thing that university will give you. Being in one place that has a built-in conversation starter (i.e “so what are you studying”) doesn’t happen much in the real world outside of work, but knowing how to do it and getting that practice is incredibly important, no matter your career choice in the end. 
  2. Getting a Job. Completing university is important to interviewers, but not the way you’d expect. They don’t care much what degree you have, unless you’re applying for something specialized. I used to interview for my old company, the jobs were starting positions so having a degree at UofT or York didn’t mean much EXCEPT it told me that the candidate was able to COMPLETE something. Going to university shows that you have the ability to start and finish a project and that is useful information for interviewers. 
  3. Knowledge. Again what you learn may not be helpful. I took history. Not a single person in my professional (or personal, for that matter) life ever cared about the Mughal Empires of India BUT you know what skill I learned that has been a Godsend? Writing professional emails. I didn’t have emails to write in school but I did have to write a LOT of essays and all that practice writing essays gave me the skills to write a proper work email and I’ll say that that has helped me be seen as more professional, which has helped me climb ladders and gain responsibilities quicker. 

“There’s nothing that states that you HAVE to go to school first”

If you don’t know what you want to do for school don’t waste your time or money, explore the world first. See what you want to do, what might interest you THEN go back. There’s nothing that states that you HAVE to go to school first before entering the workforce and eventually you’ll realize that if you want to progress or do something more specialized, you’ll have to go to school for it. 

BONUS: If you’re looking to do SOMETHING one suggestion I’d recommend is taking psychology. There’s a lot involved in going to school for it BUT understanding how people act, why they do things and how to respond is a set of skills that will benefit you in nearly ANY career you choose. 

I hope that helps!

– Kenners

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