Will your degree really take you where you want to be?
I’ve just read story in the TimesOnline about a mature student who returned to university and read psychology, very successfully, only to find that there are insufficient places for students to complete their professional qualifications.
I am sorry to hear this story. There is a breach-of-confidence here that shames us all. When students go to university, they accept in good faith our implied promises of progression within their degree and access to their chosen profession.
Very sadly, these promises are often made lightly. And quite often universities deliberately conceal the facts, if not by commission, then by omission. They quite consciously don’t collect information on student destinations, and they just as consciously don’t make these facts available. It is certainly time for regulators to insist that these facts are published on University websites and kept up-to-date!
Not only do I think publishing student pass rates and destinations should be mandatory. I think universities should loan fees to students and recover the loans themselves!
Until the day that regulations are tightened up, then I afraid it is a matter of caveat emptor, buyer beware. Students need to be wary of making large investments in services that have no warranty! Should they discover that the university’s promises are inflated, they will be able to recover neither their money nor, more importantly, their time.
Craft a life plan that is far bigger than uni and the professions
So what can students do to avoid this trap?
The advice from contemporary positive psychologists is this. Don’t plan your university studies around a specific job and employment route! Neither is guaranteed. Indeed, we have seen from the banking crisis that nothing in this world is guaranteed.
Rather, see your university education as a supplement to your life plan. Let me give you this example.
Young Nick Cochiarella from my village of Olney has already launched his first social network, SpeakLife while he is at college. He’s a hardworking guy and he also has a job at the local Coop. He is taking a slightly circuituous route doing technical training before he goes to university. But he is not waiting for anyone. It is true that his hard work still guarantees him nothing. But he is not deferring his dreams, and his university training supports, rather than defines, his life’s purpose.
But I need a job now!
It can be tough to start living our dreams. We often get into an enormous tangle.
The biggest distractor is the desperate belief that we will somehow be safe when we follow a road carved out by others. But it is not safe, as we have seen.
And even if it were safe, why do we think that other people’s dreams will be enough for us?
Wouldn’t it be better to have our own dreams and to work with others to find where we can temporarily work together to make the path easier and broader for both of us?
A plan big enough to include now
Ned Lawrence has been challenging me to refocus this site on the needs of the ordinary person – the person who lives these dilemmas.
What do you think?
Is it possible to make a plan that is big enough to include now?