I hear from a range of different people, friends and family members about how much they love the idea that I have lived a solid life before studying to become a primary school teacher. Apparently, my gender will give me edge and fill a gap in a feminised industry. Apparently, it is better to bring life experience to the role as opposed to have gone from school to university and back into a school again.
Truth: I love congratulating myself for sitting higher on the experience food chain than most of my classmates.
Reality: I didn’t really think it through.
University IS life experience. In high school, we (generally) stay in one location from 9ish till 3ish, and study a standardised curriculum to make sure we have a foundation of knowledge to set us on our chosen path.
Not so at university. It comes with specialised subject areas, adult conversation, and more importantly, opportunities to explore who we are and how we want to live our lives. There’s no reprimand for missing classes because we only disadvantage ourselves. There’s no yes or no answers, just a chance to have a fully developed understanding of a plethora of ideas so that we take our best selves forward into our lives.
Gap years are great, but they’re not essential. I would love to spend a year in France working on a ski slope and getting to know red wine and camembert on a deeper level. But, I’ve come to realise that university life is just as much of an enriching experience as any other option.
Take it from an old guy who’s had more experiences than should be publicly disclosed. Uni life is amazing, if you grab it with both hands. Do away with your preconceived ideas about ‘getting out there’, and just get involved. Some of the most challenging, enjoyable, outrageous and studious moments that have filled my longish life have been had at Uni. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love riding the bus. I feel like I’m achieving a wonderful goal while staring out the window in quiet thought. Ride the Uni bus, and stare out the window of your life in deep reflection and deeper dreaming.