When I was 13, I was told by my dad, I had to be an engineer. A petroleum or mechanical engineer. Specifically mechanical engineer because at that time, my dad was convinced it was more intense and encompassing. His friends suggested to him that it would be a boastful thing to have a smart engineer for a daughter. No one bothered to ask what I wanted to study or if I wanted to be an apprentice of some sort. In fairness, I was incredibly good in math and physics. It was no wonder they all jumped, without hesitation, into the conclusion to enroll me into college for engineering.
Five years studying engineering was just as fun as I could remember. However, the number of years is not as important as the value I now gain from my degree. I'm currently not practicing engineering but building an empire in communications and media. Interestingly, the times are changing and we now see graduates enter the labour market to do a job different from what they majored in college. You almost can't blame them. The rate of unemployment is shameful globally, thus it's tempting to latch onto any job that can pay the bills as long as you have the skill or can acquire them on the job. It almost begs the question, how relevant is your degree now?
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world said Madiba and rightly so. And in a dynamic world where more innovations and demands are springing up, it's necessary to be futuristic with our choice of course while preparing for higher education. No doubt, knowledge gained in whatever area of study won't be wasted if one is wise, but we should pay more attention to building great foundations of knowledge that's relevant to the present world and the one to come.
University degrees are worth a lot of money these days and it behooves us to be wise and strategic when getting in to study. Whether to research, acquire a particular skill set, or learn new ways to solve a problem, care has to be taken to justify the expenses. New research shows that university may not be worth all the money as they'd rather pick apprenticeship over a degree. Most agree that a degree would definitely get you an interview though and they would work just as hard to get a worthy degree.
One isn't better than the other. Whether apprenticeship or the university degree, you just need to figure out which suits you best. It's also worth knowing that you could decide to have a taste of both worlds by choosing to do a degree apprenticeship. Unlike popular belief, apprenticeship is not for those who don't have the brains or grades to excel in the university. It's simply a different but equally honorable route. Some occupations can be initiated via apprenticeship like journalism, creative arts, and more. However, some careers can only be started on the premise of a degree. For instance, there is presently no 'apprenticeship route' to being a doctor. A university degree is mandatory. Studying at a university could also open up more options while being a part-time apprentice.
There is also the total experience of being in a university that isn't exactly replicated elsewhere. The network, the social gatherings, the fulfilling experience of studying in a school for a period of time can be enough incentive to go to a university despite the daunting financial responsibility. It does have its weight of perks on the flip side as it greatly contributes to the social and economic texture of a community.
It's interesting to note that some cities have a different level of cultural, political and social attitude because of the concentration of graduates present. It appears London is among that pack as it is said to be the most educated city in the European Union. Oslo and the Scandinavian capitals are behind London in graduate numbers. One in two adults of working age are said to have a college degree. That's an inspiring statistic you might say.
It's incredibly important to be educated as you almost don't stand a chance without it. However, it is important to accept and equally appreciate the fact that education can indeed come outside the walls of a university. Whether as an apprentice or an undergrad, we have great chances to excel in the fields we find ourselves. We must seize them. We owe ourselves that much.