Progress, for the sake of progress, must be discouraged. Or should it?
As a soon-to-be graduate, I feel like I’m running out of time. Should I continue studying? Or should I jump straight into the workplace? But what do I really want to do? I feel 16 again, as if any choice I make now will define the rest of my life. But should we allow ourselves to be discouraged from continuing with our education?
When I first mentioned to certain family members that I would like to study a master’s, I was met with a reaction reminiscent of Dolores Umbridge. ‘Progress, for the sake of progress, must be discouraged’, but I believe that continuing with your education does not meet this criteria. If you are one of the lucky few that have always known what you want to do, and have managed to land yourself a job straight out of university – fantastic. But if, like me, you are somewhat at a loss about what to do, where’s the harm in further study?
The benefits of studying at higher levels include, of course, the prospect of a higher salary, as well as the possibility of your further education making you stand out to an employer. But in order to attain such benefits, certain hurdles must first be crossed. How are you going to pay for the degree? Can you live at home while you study? Can you work and study at the same time? All the questions I asked myself before starting a bachelor’s, but without the “comfort” of student finance.
And what’s wrong with studying simply because you enjoy it? I know that university can be a chore sometimes, but my love of furthering my knowledge is the real reason behind my wish to continue studying. Although sometimes I’ve wanted to throw my laptop out of the window, the sense of achievement I feel when I get my results back seems to make it all worthwhile. I’ve also met some fantastic people while at university, and had the opportunity to pursue certain interests that might not have been available to me otherwise. University has been a land of opportunity, for me, and I will be forever grateful.
If all goes well, this September I’ll be packing up and moving back home, to begin a master’s degree at a different university. I fully understand the reasons why people might not be able to continue with their education – and believe me, I will have to beg, steal and borrow in order to get the necessary funds! – but if you are in a position to do so, and if it’s what you want to do, don’t let people put you off. Experience in the workplace is essential, yes, but studying gives you transferable skills, which is much more than just a buzzword. It means that you have gained insight into your subject area, that you can critically analyse, that you have slaved away over essays and stayed up all night reading the relevant literature, and that you have the ability to keep going, even when the going gets tough. Being a student can be hard, but if it’s what you really want to do, then go for it.
Being at university has helped me to discover my path, and, like Pocahontas, I have every intention of following it through – to the bitter end.