This year’s student: want vs need

Getting an education today is fraught with difficulties that our parents never had to struggle with. The student of 2014 needs to be a jack-of-all-trades, a self-starter and someone who can adapt to all kinds of situations.

At the same time, they need to be in the right place at the right time, in the right field, at the right moment in their lives.

From an early age, our generation has been told that we can be anything we want to be. A nice sentiment, sure, but that ignores one very basic fact: the jobs aren’t there. We’ve all been taught to pursue an education in a subject that we enjoy and a field of interest.

As a result, we’ve seen an influx of lawyers, doctors and all kinds of high-paid “glamorous” jobs. We’ve also seen a steady decline in less-appreciated but also important professions like farmers and plumbers.

The bottom line is that not everybody can do what they want to do; it’s just not a sustainable way for society to get by. But society tells us that after high school, you go to university or college, then you get a job. It’s just the way things are.

And that forces a lot of people to make pre-emptive decisions on their careers before they can realize that there may not be a job at the end of their education.

We live in a world where, as students in 2014, we need to be self-starters and self-reliant. Because if we continue down the road of being led by societal expectations and beliefs, we’re leaving society high and dry in some fields while flooding the market in others.

It’s up to us to blaze our own trail. The great thing about today’s society is that we’re free to find our own identity. We can dye our hair crazy colours. We can be vagabonds. We have more freedom, arguably, than any other moment in time.

It’s just the core societal values – education, moving out at 19, and the definitive “career path” – that have left us feeling lost and with no real direction.

The student of 2014 wasn’t created in 2014 – we’re just the projection of a concept created in the early 2000s.