In theory the progression into higher education seems like a simple one, one where your choices get narrower and narrower as you move further up the ladder. However, often what seems simple on paper turns out to be a lot more of a problem when the problem is right in front of your face; especially when faced with the decision of ‘what do I want to do for the rest of my life?’ And yet, especially in the way it’s phrased by schools and colleges (thankfully, the world is a little more fluid than they pretend), this is the decision thousands of kids are being asked to make every year.
I don’t think I’ve met anyone whose aspirations have been so fixed and solid that they haven’t even considered that they might like to do something else, and I would bet that there are a lot of people going to university without knowing what they want out of it in the slightest. I believe, and forgive me if I’m being ignorant, that the finality expressed in the decision making at this stage has something to do with so many people jumping the gun without carefully considering every option first.
Because let’s face it, if you’re told that the rest of your life is a one-way street, you’re going to want to be on that road, and when somebody else gives you a lift to the nearest junction you don’t always think about where you want to end up, just where you’re going to get somewhere… anywhere, when you make it sound like it’s Armageddon otherwise.
And there are plenty of people who shouldn’t be going to university, people whose practical skills are miles above some of their peers, but are pressured into going the route that’s not right for them, because they feel expectations pushing down on them.
We need to learn, as a society, to encourage people to think things through, rather than acting like it’s a sheer drop behind, so they’d best keep running blindly forward.