Author: Jack Bloomfield
We’re now hurtling towards that point in the year when kids my age will be sweating bullets as end-of-school exams approach, every single one of them convinced their entire future hinges on what kind of university entrance mark they achieve.
Score well, and we’re set forever. Do badly, and our lives are over before they really even begin. Well, that’s what we’re told, at least.
That means millions of sleepless nights and hours of frantic last-minute cramming. Then weeks of nail-biting nerves as we await the results. All followed by a sense of overwhelming joy or crushing disappointment, depending on what that little piece of paper says.
But I won’t be one of them. In fact, I want to tell everyone to relax. There is much more to your working life than university.
In fact, for most of us, it’s the last thing we should be focusing on. And the data proves it.
Now I know what you’re thinking; who is this arrogant kid who thinks he’s too smart for university?
Let me explain.
It’s not that I think I’m too good for uni. It’s a well-trodden path for lots of students, and it’s perfectly fine for most people.
It’s more that I don’t subscribe to the idea that university is the be all and end all of education.
Let’s look at the University of Melbourne, for example.
In 2019, the single most popular course is a general arts degree, with 2275 Victorian students listing it as their number one choice.
And do you know what each of those thousands of students will leave with after three or four years of extra study?
A mountain of debt and a piece of paper that carries absolutely no weight in the working world.
Is there a profession called “arts”, outside of being an artist? Not that I’ve ever heard of.
Sure, if you want to be a lawyer or a doctor, then a university degree is the only real pathway to those jobs.
But what if you want to be an entrepreneur? A creator of something that’s never been done before?
What if you want to change the world? Will four (or six, or eight) more years of classes help you along that path? Not one bit.
An arts degree is what we study when we don’t actually know what we want to do with our lives, but think we better do something.
If you go to university because it’s what everyone else is doing, because it’s the easy path, then you have already fallen into the mediocre category, a sheep among other sheep, and those grand plans of changing the world will be put off for when the time is right.
Which is short for “never”.
I’ve just turned 17, and my side-business project — one I launched a few years ago — now turns over millions in revenue each and every year. And honestly, studying an arts degree would do nothing but set me back.
We know already that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of college.
But let’s look closer to home. Boost Juice founder Janine Allis and billionaire James Packer both skipped university, and trucking magnate Lindsay Fox dropped out of high school at 16. Do you think they regret it?
I guess the point is this; if you believe in yourself, and are willing to accrue some real-world skills, then a piece of paper with “arts” written on it from a university isn’t going to change that.
So ignore the pressure. Do what’s right for you, not what’s right for anyone else.