I do think that university develops critical thinking skills and that makes it worthwhile. Actually in some ways it would be good if Australian university degrees all had a common first year to develop research / thinking skills.
Having said that, I earn a terribly low salary for a university graduate with a post grad degree and would be earning a lot more money if I had have done pretty well anything else.
I'm very conflicted with my kids. I want them to be happy in their careers and in a lot of ways I can see the value in a trade, however as I went to uni, I have an expectation that they will too.
I think it really depends what someone wants to do. There is really good money in the trades now days, in fact a builder/mechanic/sparkie would laugh at the paltry wage in the field I got a degree in. I would say it's important but not imperative. And money doesn't make you happy beyond covering your basics with a little cream on the top. If that was the case, drs, barristers etc would always be happy and we know that isn't the case.
I'm not sure what others did their courses in, but mine def wasn't coffee and getting drunk. We did 3 lots of 14 week placements full time in the 4 years, and most of us were juggling casual and PT jobs in the field final year (I was also). Those types dropped out or failed by the end of the first year, and they certainly didn't graduate.
I went to uni and so did DH but we both had very different experiences and went for very different reasons. If any of my children are like DH I wouldn't encourage them to go to uni unless they had an actual career in mind that required it. DH was pressured to study by his mother and started studying a course he wasn't interested in, only to drop out half way through with a huge HECS debt and an unfinished degree. He then went into the work force and decided management and finance were what really interested him and then went back to do a graduate course. But by then he was already in the work force and couldn't handle the pressure of studying and working full time and his grades suffered and he had to withdraw so many times from subjects, he ended up with over $100k student loan, and was eventually a SAHD anyway! He did learn great skills which he applied in his business but honestly, he could have been successful without uni.
Me on the other hand, I've wanted to work in my father's business since i can remember - he has a tax accounting firm. To do that I needed professional qualifications. It was something I wanted, not forced into and I loved Uni, and I love my job /career/profession.
I think the question of whether your kids should go to university is really dependant on the person. However if my kids thought about uni as something they really wanted to do, I would definitely encourage them to do it right away while their brains are still used to studying and they haven't got the pressure of full time work getting in the way. I've studied post-grad courses while working full time and it's freakin hard.
ETA - I wouldn't try to force my kids to do any job or have a career that they weren't happy with. I'm really surprised when I speak to some of my friends in very high paying careers and they tell me they hate their jobs. It's sad! I don't want that for my kids.
Last edited by witherwings; 22-08-2016 at 20:57.
Speaking of uni...I went in my mid twenties. I would never have taken uni seriously as a school leaver. I wouldn't have had the maturity to utilise my time properly, and I needed a break from study...I left school at 15, did a couple of TAFE courses that I never used and worked. In my twenties I decided what I wanted to do, and went in with full gutso. I had to do foundation studies to get an ATAR equivalent mark, and the ATAR for my degree was mid 90's when I got in. I wouldn't even have considered it as a teenager, but I went in with a clear goal and achieved that goal.
I already talk to my kids about deferring uni after highschool and having a year or two to find out who they are as people before committing to a degree and the associated costs and stress attached to that. My brother went straight to uni from school and straight in to a career. He enjoys what he does, and has no regrets, so of course it works for some, but plenty of people don't use their degree or wish they'd studied something else. I want my kids to realy know what they want before they start racking up HECS debt.
If my child goes to uni and wastes their degree and racks up a HECS debt but fails to obtain a degree, or a decent education from university, then I'll chalk it up to life experience, not uni being a waste of time.
For me, there is no way possible I could do my job without the degree. There is literally no other way. I will continue to study and build on my skills, but the degree gave me the foundations I needed to get started in my career. It was a means to an end, essentially. If there was another way, I probably would have picked the other way 😂 But there wasn't, so I sucked it up and dedicated 4 years of my life to studying so I could have a career in something I'm passionate in. No regrets.
Same sentiments as others - uni is not the be all and end all, but some qualification is probably a good idea.
I went straight to uni and my degree is useless to me. I ended up getting a job in child care to get me through, got pregnant with DS and now I'm studying what I should've chosen to start with, via distance while at home with DS.
I agree with PP that sometimes a gap year can really help clarify what you do or don't want to pursue.
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