As a mature student, with renewed interest in education, I have been pondering those who I have known over the years to hold degrees. One thing that surprises me is that, although they (say they) have a 2:1 or whatever, you wouldn’t know it to look at them.

For example, in recent months, a now ex-colleague/grad student asked to use my computer at work to submit an assignment, not on behalf of himself, but another student. Someone was paying him to do their course work for them. It goes without saying that this shows a lack of integrity on both sides.

Slightly conflicted, I asked him what sort of difficulties the student might face if they were unable to perform to an acceptable standard in a future job role. He replied ”that is their problem”. And to date, this benefactor himself has not gained employment that requires him to hold a degree.

It was then that I realised that, although the example I have provided is an extreme one, people who hold degrees may not have learned a thing.

A common idea for people who, first and foremost, want money, and lots of it, is that first they ask themselves what job/field pays well. Secondly, what qualifications they need to gain employment. You might ask ”what else do they need to do?” ”When they pass the course, they will gain employment, and then get paid. What’s wrong with that?”

Answer: they are not disciplined.

A university education encourages autonomy, that is, to take full control of your life. This is what gives you better career prospects and not just the piece of paper that says so.

You will be taught the benefits of treating everyone the same, even if it means they will be impacted differently, because everyone is different, and for a better world, you will accept that.

You learn how to compose yourself through objective analysis meaning you will form conclusions about yourself and the world that are not merely based on self interest. You will be neutral.

You will understand yourself better and not let your emotions rule your brain. You will not necessarily sell out by doing a job that you hate but more likely choose a career that is your true vocation.

Whatever your beliefs, you will have the skills to test their credibility. You will swap innocence and naivety for experience and sophistication.

Your employer will trust you. You will be better defended against deception.

You will be assertive and active as opposed to resigned and unmotivated. You will tend not to worry.

You will be better constituted for happiness.

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