Education is a right, not a privilege.

It has nearly been a year since I left uni and although I miss it there is the little voice at the back of my head that always utters… Was it really worth it? I loved the freedom, the independence and the lifestyle (not that I don’t have it at home, but the experience is different). I look back at 6form and think we had to make a life decision about our future career within 3 months. We were expected to have our life planned out by 18, yet we had to put our hand up to ask to go to the toilet because although we were ‘allowed’ to control our own minds apparently our bladders had to be controlled by the teachers. I’m officially an adult now at 23 and I still don’t know what’s going to happen in the next couple of years and I’ve just about mastered how to plan my future. Yet here we were teenagers too young to drink or drive but old enough to decide what we would like to do for the next 50 years of our lives.

I feel that if you are employed in a profession concerning medicine, law or even analysing numbers then a degree is definitely important (unless you watch Suits, then a photographic memory will do) but coming out of uni I’ve realised that it’s not that easy and it is definitely not that simple. We were always told that education is key and that it would open a lot of doors but to be honest I’ve walked out 3 years later £30k in debt and I’m sitting in a job that doesn’t require any of the skills I achieved in my degree. I’m not saying that because I have a degree I should be put on a pedestal 50 yards away from those who never went to university, what I am saying is that is it really worth it if we’re going to be walking out 3/4 years later £30k in debt for a piece of paper that was the ‘key to success’, when we could have applied for this job at 16 and progressed through the workplace to this position now, I’d be £30k richer to be honest and it would be with a deposit on a ‘key’ for my own house! I always thought after uni I would walk straight in to a job but it’s nothing like that, you don’t walk straight in to anything, you work your way up, you start from the bottom which brings me to the question… What was the point of getting a degree?

Since secondary school it’s always been instilled in to our brains that we must go to university, we must have more qualifications to get anywhere in life but to be honest I work alongside managers and colleagues who never went to university, who never studied further than their GCSE’s and they seem to be doing pretty great to me! I will always stand by the principle that education is important! Because it is! It opens your mind to different thought processes, it gives you a different perspective on life and it changes your attitude in the way you approach things and I would never discourage anyone to educate themselves. But what everyone fails to see is the fact that it’s happening right now. Education is a right, we all have a right to learn, we have public libraries to show that reading and educating yourself is free! It’s there to better you as a person, but if the libraries are open and available to everyone then why isn’t uni? If education is a right and is important? How can you put a price on knowledge when it should be free and available to everyone? I’ll tell you how because it’s not about bettering yourself as a person, it’s about proving yourself as an object.

Education is no longer used as an influence to trigger the mind and spark ideas, it is used as a way to divide people and claim that only the rich deserve an education. It is used to segregate people and create labels for the ‘brainy’ and ‘dumb’. It is used as an object in proving that money makes the world go round! To prove that you are educated you must pay, to prove that you are capable of learning you must meet requirements to fit the agenda that is set by each institution, this is not education, this is the filtering of people to create a divide between us all. I’ve always heard the saying ‘if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” and this is what I believe has been burdened upon us from a young age. We all need to understand that not only do people learn differently, but there are other types of education that people can benefit from, just because it isn’t in the curriculum doesn’t mean it isn’t useful and not every educational lesson requires a pen and paper with a multiple choice test at the end. Subjects such as Sociology boggled the mind, it challenged the norm and it was the most realest shit I’d ever heard, the bourgeoisie, the proletariat and the divide that was being created between rich and poor. Does it not seem a coincidence that a subject that highlights the derogatory behaviour of an ‘upper class’ has now been shunned and claimed as a ‘no hope or future in this subject’ profession? I think not.

It needs to be outlined that university doesn’t hold the key to all doors; you do not need to conform to a society where education is deemed as a luxury. Education is there to make you question the status quo, don’t let this world swallow you up, thrive for who you are, and don’t let anybody dim your spark. Education is meant to bring out the uniqueness in you not train you in being the same as everyone else.

Always remember education is a right, not a privilege.

-n