It’s always fun to see a bunch of fresh youngsters storming the Starbucks or Costa stores, with their iPads and laptops, enthusiasm about their university classes, and big plans for the future. And then travel the London tube and ask yourself one question over and over again: Where are they here??? Where are all those happy faces now?
It seems like once you graduate, all the passion and jolliness of life suddenly disappears.
How come? Why?
Welcome to the real world, Neo!
Students simply have no clue what is going on in the real world around them. They just don’t. Consequently, they don’t prepare themselves for it.
There are some reasons why is that so.
- They mostly learn out-of-date stuff
Have you ever heard about the engineering classes comparing the newest iPhone 6 versus Samsung Galaxy S5 or Nokia Lumia 930? Or, if you study international relations, have you ever been in some conflict areas, visited military barracks, or talked to a CIA secret agent?
I guess not.
The world has globalized. It’s rapidly changing every day. Most of the stuff you learn at the university was out-of-date the very same day it was introduced to your curriculum, let alone five years after your graduation.
- It’s all fun, so let’s party!!
Most of students believe they need to party like hell in order to prove something. Easy beer, easy girls, and almost no responsibility. Money is there, mostly from the parents or student loans.
Party is an answer for everything. Than guess what - the party will be over. Soon. Very soon …
- Students are scared to death about the future, so much they don't want to even think what is coming next.
On the deepest level, most students actually understand they are in deep trouble if they don't do something else. Most of them understand the simple truth that in the 21st century, a degree is not enough any more. Problem is, most of them do nothing about it. They just ignore the fear. They try to pretend everything is fine and that their future is guaranteed if they just manage to finish their studies. Let’s just party more, take more exams, write better research papers, and get better grades, and everything will be just fine.
- Corporate salaries are soooo huge, and working in the Barclay Bank is just fun.
Sure … I mean, they are huge, if you progress very fast through the corporate ladders. But in the most cases, the reality is something else. Most of the recent graduates in London don't even have chance to get their first job in the industry they are educated for. Just check LinkedIn. It’s full of the desperate graduates with the identical statements: “Recent graduate looking for entry-level position;” “Motivated young professional with excellent grades…;” “College graduate, will work in any industry…;” “I will accept any job, just any;” and so on. But just the lucky ones start working immediately, and in the industry they are trained for. Most of the others will be doing low paid internships, free volunteering, or simply surviving with 1,200 £ per month (for those reading outside of England, that’s enough money to have a place somewhere to sleep and enough for chips and fish in London… not much “fiesta” included though….).
- No off-campus activities.
And by that, I don't mean playing basketball with the friends, or occasional tourist trips to Palma de Mallorca and the Turkish Riviera.
I mean real activities where you gain real life experience, like internships, projects, or student competitions. We write a lot about why this is crucial; find more about it at our blog.
- “Someone will care about my education, degree, and grades.”
In my opinion, this is the biggest BS ever invented in the history of mankind. Just imagine you are someone who invested his own capital in a company. Or you are accountable to that guy. And you need people to accomplish some specific tasks. Who would you hire? Would you care for his degree or grades, personal history, or educational background if he can’t deliver? Of course not. If you hire the wrong person, you will be in trouble, and not only you but possibly your family, wife, and kids.
Students must understand; it's about delivery, it’s nothing personal.
Companies have only one focus, and that is to survive in the extremely competitive markets. As said, the world has globalized, and if you previously had five competitors in your market, today you have at least 25. Not that the over-regulation and huge taxation make the life of the company owners any easier either.
Logically, you must deliver. A lot. If you fail to do it, nobody will ever bother to ask for your university background, your fancy degree, or what classes you took. Believe me.
The situation is even worse if we understand that most of the graduates have almost no real life or work experience, basic skills, or even a clue about the job they have to perform. It’s easy to understand why the employers see in graduates mostly the pain, not the gain. And why they are eager to get rid of them, and very unlikely to be willing to recruit new faces.
- “Even if I am wrong, I will figure my way out.”
I love this youth enthusiasm and bliss. “Bliss is blessing.”
No, you’ll just be late. Nothing else.
You’ll wake from a dream world at age 25 and realize that you have no clue how the world works. You’ll need a couple years just to catch up. And somewhere in your 30s, you’ll be at the beginning, this time with some applicable knowledge, respectful skills, and appropriate attitude. With the mindset and skills that can actually produce the results for the organization and your employer.
- They ask their parents for an advise.
Or cousins. Or friends. Or whoever.
The same people who advised you go to the university in the first place and said you can rely solely on the marks and grades. Who kept you in fear for years and programed you to believe you are entitled to high salaries, fat paychecks, and life in abundance just because you possess the piece of paper called a diploma.
The same people who themselves believed in the same broken promises, but found out that life is not much more than a vicious circle of debt, unsafe jobs, and endless excuses.
- Because you believe the world owes something to you.
This one is huge.
What a fallacy! Really ….
I feel sad when I think about the thousands and thousands of young souls who study day and night just to graduate and start living and building their careers, firmly believing the world is so tuned up to absorb all of them and make sure they enjoy the kind of life they dream about until their pension (and longer).
But think about it for a second. Do you really, but really believe in that? In the deepest parts of your heart? Or you feel a voice deep inside you screaming: “Wake up! Now!”
Now you understand why there are not many happy faces in the London tube (especially Mondays between 8 and 10 am).
Is there any way out? Can you do it differently?
Of course. Do your unpaid internships at 18 and 19, compete and win some competitions at 20, and gain a lot practical experience BEFORE you graduate. Read about your subject of studies, and become an expert even during your studies.
And don't take too long with your studies. Or focus too much on grades. Unless you want to have a career at the university, forget about a PhD, and consider quitting the Master’s as well. In most cases, all that you need is a BA with a ton of practical engagement and experience.
If you choose this path, you’ll not be one of many. Your life and career will begin at a completely different level than most of the others. You’ll achieve more before you turn 30 than most of the other students will by the time they turn 50.
So, don’t bother reading this post any more (or even this blog :-). Go, conquer the world! And smile in the metro. :-)