An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of art & life ...

An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of life ... or just ramblings from the mind of a working Mum with far too little time to think!

Friday, April 9, 2010

University ... or not?

I have a daughter who has just started studying Medicine at University. She has known with a certainty for at least the last two years that she wanted to be an Emergency Physician. She has already found that although she is passionate about the human side of medicine, she does not particularly enjoy the focus on straight science during the first few years of study. Thankfully she is good at science and the clear vision she has of her future is what will keep her plugged in during the seven long years of study.

My second daughter finishes her 12 years of schooling at the end of this year and has no real idea of what she wants to do once she leaves school. She has always hated the confines of the four walls of a classroom and felt that there was so much wasted time in the school day. I have felt almost as though I have dragged her through school right from the first day when she cried and cried when I left her with all the other 5 year olds but greeted me later with a huge grin and the words,"Great, I never have to come back here. All they do is teach you to read and write, both of which I can already do, so there is absolutely no reason to come back!" She is a free spirit who loves animals and children and is happiest when she is caring for a rescued duckling or out in the paddock on the back of her horse. Yet, everyone expects her to go to University next year. I am not so sure.

Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to do early in life. My youngest daughter at 14 years old knows that she will be a 'famous cellist'. She has been certain of this since she first pulled the bow across the strings at the age of 9 years. It is all she wants to do and nothing anyone says will change her mind. She has her path mapped out and is aiming to audition for a scholarship to study performance music at Julliard, New York City or Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester once she completes her schooling. She has music in her soul and I know she will not be happy unless her life is music. She is very gifted, very passionate, and very determined. Perhaps she will make it. She is already well on the way in her mind!

Though these lucky few know what they were born to do, the majority of young people are like my second daughter and have great difficulty in putting their strengths to useful purpose. University does not always provide a solution. Unless the subject of their learning is close to their heart, it might be better to find a job doing something they like and do their learning in the workplace. And if that includes University down the track, then it will be something they choose to do rather than studying for the sake of studying or because they are trying to fulfil others expectations for them.

Lanterns at Seville University, Spain

Learning is on-going and life-long. In many situations what we need to know, we learn as the need arises. This can be much better motivation for study than just learning what the syllabus requires before we even get to the job or position we are studying for.
Some wise words on the subject from Confucius ~ "Some are born with knowledge, some derive it from study, and some acquire it only after a painful realization of their ignorance. But the knowledge being possessed, it comes to the same thing. Some study with a natural ease, some from a desire for advantages, and some by strenuous effort. But the achievement being made, it comes to the same thing." 


  1. People only learn what they want to learn, and they only learn it when they want to. Problem is, most people don't know what they don't know, and they don't want to find out. In the age of 3 second attention spans, knowledge is googled, and wikipedia spells "factoid".
    University is like an "L" plate for a driver - permission to learn, and keep on learning.
    Not a bad place to start!

  2. jeez mum you didnt have to use the photo of me as a ranga....