All our lives, we have been conditioned to believe that the “good jobs” are those you get as a Doctor, a Lawyer, a Teacher or a Dentist (or another position within the traditional professional variety). Ever been praised at school for excelling in a subject, “You’re so good at [insert traditional academic subject]!”, to then be greeted with the declaration, “You should be a [insert traditional professional career course]!”.
And who blames them?
The unconventional routes were scarcely trodden in the textbooks or the career advice they were given at school. Still, today, the classroom directs our focus to finding the value of x and discovering how photosynthesis works. The bright students are the ones that can absorb as much of this information as possible and ace their tests, apparently. At school I was a goody two-shoes and so I bought into this. There was no way that I’d slack with my revision and get a C when I knew I was perfectly capable of an A.
The issue I have, is what our motivation has been and is still channelled towards. As relevant as Maths, Science and English is for entering specific career paths, why weren’t we, why aren’t students now being encouraged to find their own purpose, their own direction, which may or may not involve understanding how to find the square root.
As naïve and as misconceiving as a 15-year-old may be about what they actually want their future to look like, we know that, by this age, we had a pretty good grasp of our strengths and weaknesses.
But we weren’t in an environment that allowed us to push our strengths to the max.
The school environment promotes mediocrity across a stretch of subjects which may or may not be of interest to us.
Entrepreneurship is huge now – with people trying to break away from the 9-5 to work for themselves and their own personal and financial gain. But is it not sad, that it’s not until we emerge from the education system and thrown into the working world, that we begin to pursue our #passionprojects?
Ever since I went to my first baby ballet class, dancing has given me so much happiness. And ever since I knew how to write, I loved to use words to express myself, whether that was in the form of poetry, diary entries or stories. I have no regrets about studying BA English at one of the best universities for the subject in the country. It stretched and challenged me in ways that allowed me to grow. To become the much stronger person that I am today. But throughout the entire degree, I couldn’t help but feel restrained from exploring my side passions, letting myself experiment and try new things. From wondering.
But I understood that commitment means making sacrifices. As with anything, to become great at it, you have to put off developing other skills. Which is why you need to ensure that you are committing to what you believe is right for you, not what society believes is right for you.
Self-awareness means understanding your innate desires and granting yourself the freedom to go after them, right from the start.
A textbook, your boss and society can’t tell you what you love. You need to realize this on your own.