There was a time, perhaps not so long ago, when people would start in a job at the age of 18 and continue in the same job until age 70.
They moved up the ladder, earned pay raises along the way and then finished with applause and a golden watch. They bought suits, which they wore until utterly unwearable, and their careers were built on the respect they gained in their industries. Then, education became a powerful commodity.
To get a decent job, you needed a decent degree; once you had one, you went and did the job you signed up for. In those days, changing career paths was nigh on impossible. Those days, however, are not these days.
These days, the average person will change career paths five times in his or her adult life. The options are endless and the possible paths infinite.
You could be an engineer working on an oil rig and suddenly decide that what you love is the study of butterflies. You could move to Madagascar and follow your dreams.
You could be a dentist who stumbles onto a stage one day, only to decide to drop everything and pursue acting. You blink and the next thing you know, you're in the next Pepsi commercial.
Well, maybe it isn't that easy, but the options you have widen each day. Now, that's all well and good, but it doesn't help when deciding what to study.
Should I study sports science? It seems a good idea now, but what if I discover a deep passion for obscure statues in 20 years and want to be a museum curator? Does all your hard work go to waste is that happens? Should we bother studying at all?
Well, research shows that at 25 years old, you are twice as likely to be employed if you have a degree than if you never went to school at all. In the US, 60 percent of jobs require a university degree of some kind.
Not to mention, the percentage of the workforce with a bachelor's degree has risen from 9 percent to 23 percent throughout the past 40 years. So, yeah, going to school seems like a necessity.
We must study and we must work, but those two things are becoming completely separate parts of our lives. While at one time, what you studied defined your career, now what you study only defines the years you spend at university. All of this begs the question, does it matter at all?
In the grand scheme of things, no, it doesn't. If this generation — our generation — has the opportunity to be whatever they — we — want to be, then the only prerequisite is learning how to learn.
We must think for ourselves, make good decisions and work hard. We must adapt because adapting is what we do; in some ways, it's all we do.
So, let's study that: changing, adapting, in any degree we can find. But more than that, let's enjoy studying. It's a huge part of our lives — far too big to spend slaving over something we hate.
Tirelessly working through assignments in a vague hope that one day we’ll be employable is not worth it. Giving ourselves aneurisms, stressing over subjects we find as interesting as a beige wall, is not worth it.
No, f*ck that. Let's study communications, but make our living through photography. Let's study engineering, but ride horses for a living. Let's study accounting, but spend much more time focused on Netflix.
Whatever it may be, I feel safe saying that as long as our generation learns to learn and learns to work hard, we can study whatever we want.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It