University, or not? My story

A little introduction, as to why I raised the question “University, or not?”

I attended a family gathering at an ex-girlfriend’s house. All very nice people, but I got a way of getting myself into “faux pas” situations. You see, it was the first time around I met some of the family members so I was kind of nervous, and found myself strolling around the grand buffet table. I had my eyes set on a small plate of delicious chorizos and was wondering as to why no one attacked these delightful comestibles?  Anyway, I was mingling and otherwise having a good time, but in the back of my mind, it still remained an enigma to me as to why I was the only one keep coming back for more. Needless to say, I stuffed myself with the entire plate and felt slightly guilty about it so I took the empty plate to the kitchen while no one was watching. Meanwhile, my ex-girlfriend had been playing around with her brother’s baby and I had avoided getting over to that section of the crowd, as it was all dangerous baby talk and could ignite some funny ideas in her head. Either way, she called me over while the baby was playing around with a toy- truck in order to introduce me, and having all eyes on me I was trying to be nice and chummy, so I pointed at the baby and said: “I think we got a future truck driver here.” At that very moment, it was like entering the twilight zone, and the mother quickly lifted her child up, threw the toy away accompanied by the words that no one in her family would drop so low and I should be honoured to be in the presence of a future lawyer, doctor or investment banker… To make things worse the lights dimmed down, and all attention was given to their “special” uncle who had spent the past two days preparing “Caldo Verde,” a typical Portuguese soup deriving from the northern part of the country. Apparently, he had driven over 300 kilometers to buy this unique chorizo, which was handcrafted by a local meat cure- artisan. In his words, the perfect match to the soup – and voila – the waitress brought in a huge bowl of soup while everyone was applauding. Now, they were searching for the chorizo began and I found myself slowly making my way out to the swimming pool area where the smokers had assembled. It did not take long for them to realize the culprit was me and when I heard my girlfriend say my name from behind me, as I turned around with a slight grin on my face, yet feeling somehow guilty, I incriminated myself. I explained I had some kind of culinary epiphany, and now it all became crystal clear to me as to why no one had touched the chorizo, – yet it is always easy to judge retrospectively, and I raised a successful defense in my favour. I am not sure if this event led us to split up, but I would, in all honesty eat that goddamn Chorizo again. Nevertheless, years after this happened I always found it kind of “disgusting” that the mother had these ‘elitist’ thoughts and ideas about her child’s future.

 

I loathed the office atmosphere and to compromise my values.

I graduated from a prestigious UK University like so many other friends of mine and only a very few got to work in their line of studies. Nowadays, many are sitting in with huge loans to pay back and most are totally drained financially because they assumed other responsibilities; like starting a family, getting married and/or investing in a property etc. They are not making a lot of money either and constantly worried about losing their job. This will be their reality for the next 15 years before they become debt free and given they maintain their work position. Many hold law degrees, accountant diplomas, MBAs and MAs in Psychology – so we are not talking about highly regarded professions. Technology keeps improving and changing the working world and there are no job guarantees upon graduating. There are a surplus of graduates and the employers can pick and choose between them as they wish and therefore regulate the remuneration plan, which is often nothing to brag about. I guess Jr. above is going to face the exact same reality as everyone else and the mother had to swallow her own words.

I was lucky to work in the area of law, but I absolutely loathed the law profession and refused to compromise my integrity and conscience by appeasing my Senior partner’s wallets. I remember one situation, in particular, where I had spent some hours on searching in the land registry for a client and had billed her for three hours of work. I was called in by my superior and he added 10 hours more on the invoice and demanded my signature on it so they could bill her.  I refused because I knew this 81-year-old woman and felt it would be an immoral and dishonest act to engage in. I shot myself in the foot and I did not receive a formal working contract and I never received a reason. They forwarded me to their “newly” external work-recruiting agency. Anyway, I made sure the client knew I had spent 3 hours on the work and she was billed accordingly. Needless to say, I was angry and disappointed. Colleagues of mine told me that I was a blithering idiot and I should just have shut the F…up and followed instructions. Many of you readers will also shake your head when reading this and agree with my colleagues because I had totally annihilated my chances to get into this industry. Well..not entirely, because I have a vast network and was offered jobs around the world, but at that point, I had done a lot of thinking and determined to pursue such a career was not for me, as I loathed going to work and the being around individuals I did not appreciate often sparked a lot of issues, which I never wanted to be a part of, or subscribed to. I never engaged in small talk in the kitchenette or wanted to be-little or talk behind the back of any colleagues. Nor, wanted to pub crawl with them after work. In their eyes, I was an anti-social, arrogant and brownnosing asshole. However, this is more of a personality issue- rather than a question of attending University or not, but be prepared to work in such an office environment within any company. One thing is the actual university path, but another is the experience you will gain afterward, if, however, you gain a job position, which is often a ‘year to year basis,’ because manpower equals big financial liabilities for the potential employers.

Statistically, the unemployment rate is considered for those “out-of-work” for six months, after unemployees are not considered in these statistics anymore and the amount of graduates Universities are spitting out is the highest ever in mankind history, which will decline any job opportunity chance in the future. The window of opportunities close as time goes by and that is just the harsh reality. We just need to adapt to this reality and be prepared to be flexible in regards to where we live – we need to chase the opportunities and commit ourselves to some huge sacrifices, which will be leaving your family, girlfriend, social life, and spouses behind. Something, not many people are willing to do because it is tough. 

 

My friend spent 7 years studying medicine, then got a job and decided to pursue a career as a carpenter.

A friend of mine from university always wanted to become a carpenter, but he was afraid of letting his parents down so he decided to pursue a degree in medicine. When he graduated he worked at a hospital, but he was not happy.  He began to take some evening woodworking classes at the local community college and is now a successful entrepreneur, and on his way to financial freedom. His parents refused to speak with him as he had disgraced the entire family when he quit the hospital career, but that quickly changed the day he paid off their mortgage. I have seen this career change many times with successful outcomes and their profession did not require a university diploma, and it seems to me it has become some kind of social stigmata if someone decides not to follow this path, which is total bullshit in my opinion. A University degree does not guarantee a well-paid job, but it makes you more attractive as an employee candidate if you accept the employer’s terms and conditions.

 

Education is a multi-billion dollar business

Many universities ranging from none- profit to for-profit schools and universities have sprung up around the world since the late 1970s. Most notably film schools, but strangely enough some of the most world-renowned movie and television directors did not attend any film school but still encountered tremendous success.

I do advocate education, it is imperative that we gain as much knowledge as an individual in order to contribute to a better, and more well-functioning society.

Over the years, upon having attending many fairs and guided many through asking themselves the right questions; two questions always come up, which are: “How much will I earn?” and “Am I guaranteed a job in the field of my studies afterward?”.  Some even avoid their area of interest because it is not financially rewarding and others are pushed by their parents to pursue a degree in order to become more favourable candidates on the job market for potential employers. It makes total sense, but we live in a different world than the reality graduates faced twenty years ago and the job jungle makes absolutely no sense. Job opportunities within the graduate’s field of study have declined significantly, the salaries are set, not according to your skills but what the market stipulate. You have zero bargaining power and chances are if you enter the selection process that your competitors are equally capable of performing and willing to accept the terms and conditions. The idea of working at the same place for forty hours per week for the next 40 years has become totally obsolete. Therefore, if you wish to study a subject do not rest your decision on the actual remuneration, or whether you are guaranteed a job for life because you are in for great reality shock.

 

You want to make your parents proud?

Are you afraid of disappointing your parents and not live up to their expectations? Who isn’t – most of us have a strong and unconditional love relationship with our parents but they must also realize you an individual and sometimes it is hard for a parent to accept this fact and reality, and unless you are totally out of proportions and reality. like me, I wanted to become a F1 driver, or professional tennis player. Those dreams were quashed when I realized I could not even get into a Formula 1 car and my tennis dreams were laid to rest after getting my butt kicked in round 1 or 2 in every single important international tennis tournament. My second dream was Hollywood, but having paid a visit to many of the prestigious film schools, spoken with professionals and celebrities in the film and television world, I felt a moral obligation towards my parents not to attend a film school on their expense, which would have amounted to about 500.000 Euros with everything included. I am of average intelligence and have not really shown any potential as such. I placed that dream on hold when a famous director asked me what I wanted to express through my movies and as the typical teenager I wanted the world to hear about my love experiences and life story. He smiled at me and told me to mature because one thing is to recite famous poets, classic struggles, hatred, honor, and virtues. Those things must be felt without a “security net” below you and I was brought up in safe environments. Again, something you learn the more life-experience you gain and how life unfolds, and no university can teach you.

So, University, or not?

It all depends on you. This is your life and you should under no circumstances accept to be pushed into something if you do not wish for it. If your parents refuse to pay for another education than you wish, it is time to leave home. The scare of you disappointing your parents will only be postponed, and you are wasting important years of your life doing something you do not want to do. It is a lose-lose situation. However, be realistic in your expectations and career, because any career takes time to prosper. Nothing will come easily to you in this life, and you need to chase your dreams and maximize the chances for opportunities. Attend university, because you have a genuine passion for your subject area and concentrate on becoming the best. Do not concentrate on the salary as such, because if you excel in any line of trade. If your passion lays in an industry like cooking, which is absolutely shitty underpaid, to begin with, concentrate on learning and learning. This trade does not require a diploma, but internships and connections – most culinary diplomas are a waste of money…

I hope this article can help a few of you…

Thanks for reading

 

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