WHAT HAPPENS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?
Several people would have a straightforward answer to this question. Go to university, get good grades, get a degree, find a job, build a family and finally retire. Is life really THAT organised and structured out? Why do people think that everyone has to lead the same life? If we do not go to university, a lot of people just assume that our life is over- how will we make money? How will people take us seriously? We need a degree so that people take us seriously, right? Why are these people so afraid of a lifestyle outside of what the set ‘standard’ is?
I remember when I started attending high school, everyone was in such a hurry to choose what kind of a field they wanted to work in, how they wanted their career to be like, how to prepare for that, which university they would like to go to help fulfil that goal, so on and so forth. It was so unnatural to me. I get it- we need a plan for a comfortable life, but this is just way too much overthinking. I always thought that there was still a lot of time to change ourselves and that we were all still developing- we were 16 to 17 years old then. How are we supposed to decide what we want our whole lives to be like at that age? Through what we see on television and movies? With the help of advice from others? I do not see how that works, we need to understand and experience things on our own to know what we really want. Elders can guide us; however, they also are not the same as us. We might not always prefer what they do. That does not mean they are always wrong too- it is safe to say it depends on the person who we seek guidance from. A random school counsellor will not be the best person to guide us or even identify with us and our views.
I was quite lucky to get a kind counsellor, though! He was old, but he actively tried to get with the times and be as prudent and honest as he could with students. He was not interested in selling a dream. So, when I openly told him that I was not interested in going to a university in the US or UK to pursue a degree, he agreed with me! He did say that if I wanted to, I could pursue something that I would enjoy: fashion design, graphic design, literature- anything that makes me use my creativity. I liked that idea, but I really felt like I would be wasting buckets of money and time. I also knew that living in a hostel is just not something that I would be comfortable with. I also realised that a degree just does not guarantee a job nowadays. It is very sad that so many people go there with so many expectations, big hopes, try to work as hard as possible, get a degree, become an intern in a company and then do not get the job. It is all thanks to the phoney commercials of the universities, websites and their prospectuses which make them look like paradises for students. I especially could not stand those commercials. Could they be any more cringe-inducing? Why would students want to go there after seeing those?! Mind boggling.
I am not saying that graduates have not achieved anything. Their dedication to becoming more educated is admirable. However, I can confidently say that many of the end products of these universities are not the brightest. Yes, even the ones who graduate from ivy league universities (which are actually the more terrible ones). They are not intelligent nowadays. They have only been taught to overcomplicate things, comply and to be pseudo-intellectuals. Many people say that universities help students to come to reasonable conclusions as adults- that is never the case. They are far from reasonable. Especially my generation. Certain meaningless agendas have been shoved down- no, BOOTED down- their throats. If they do not comply and compromise, they will be labelled certain things. That is another thing which university teaches its students to do, just label people. Put a tag, and all your problems are solved. Why do students; who go there to just study and get a degree, have to go through this nonsense? This just leads to them thinking it is their way or the highway because the environment of the university is like that. They go on to be people who are very stubborn, and for all the wrong reasons. Let me remind you, I am talking about the majority of the students. There is still hope, not everyone becomes like that.
I also do not get why universities act like they are doing a big favour by accepting students. Isn’t that their job? Why is it such a big deal to get into terrible ivy league universities? Why do they have an air of being something that is ‘too good to be true’? So why do people even accept this kind of atrocity? The problem is that people seek acceptance and approval from these places. They have been told that you will only be truly respected by peers if you go to these ‘impossible to get into’ universities. People need to think. You DO NOT need an ivy league university to be respected. You can learn so much more without following their curriculum. You do not need to be respected by people who think that only people with a degree deserve respect. They will never acknowledge what you do right anyway, because you do not have a degree. Why do you need them? You don’t! There is so much you can do without going to a university.
If you are in high school, please do not let people tell you that you must go to a university. Do what you think is right for you. If you still think university is the right path for you, then go for that too, but be very careful. What happens after high school, in your life, is completely up to you. Know yourself. I knew I was not the type of person to: stay in a dorm, listen to lectures and study all day and have a tremendous debt on my shoulders for that- so I did not go. So really know what you are cut out for, and make that decision.