I have had many younger girls approaching in social media to ask about career life, whether it’s worth it, how to manage it while striving for a family or/and how to make a living while taking care of a family.
These are NOT easy questions because the answer depends on so many things…from the country you are in, financial situation, to your aspirations, social class, etc. I am aware you got to pay quite a bit for receiving an education outside of the Nordic countries – hence education actually has an entrance barrier right there. Other factors that matter are whether your high school grades were high enough to pursue a worthy degree (university degree) or something of lower level that requires less in terms of grades and general preparation – this is called vocational education.
Many women that do not want to pursue a university degree end up taking courses in hairstyle, personal training or even technological work (electrician, machinist). I personally do not recommend the last two for 2 simple reasons: 1) You do not need a diploma to be a PT – you can easily gather the knowledge yourself and rather prove your success in this area via accumulation of successful customer cases. Personal training and nutrition especially are highly dependent on whether you like the area – if you love reading about it, you will learn more about it than those attending a 6000e course to get a piece of paper saying they are ”apt” to play with a person’s health.
2) Technological work involving electricity, mechanical labor should be avoided at all costs by women. The reason that these have been dominated by men in the past has to do with the high risk factor – and in terms of biology, a woman is more ”valued” as she is the one carrying life in her womb.
Vocation schools are fine if you simply do not want to put more effort or time into more rigid, formal type of education. It is a good solution for some, but not for everyone (and we are talking about more ambitious souls).
University education nonetheless, opens many gates for those that manage time well, those that have had the luxury of growing in a stable family, with a good fundamental education and of a tad higher social class than the average. (Please note I am generalizing and not everyone that attends university is of high social class, neither of good manners, nor from a stable family.)
However, university education can be great for certain degrees (we are talking about degrees that require more discipline than others – Business, Biology, Medicine, Dentistry, etc) that offer more upon graduation than most (especially more than Humanist branch such as Literature, History, Art, etc).
When to study at a university?
- You are in your late teens/early 20s.
- You have a really big interest for the field you’ve chosen to study.
- Your high school grades are high enough to allow you to choose your desired field.
- You have the financial possibility to do so (you have either worked in your teens, you have funds or your family is going to help you out).
- You do not attend for partying, but for learning.
- You are aware that family comes first – you are efficient with your time, you make time for family and really close friends without sacrificing these relationships.
- You do not intend to study in your early 30s. This time is reserved for family growth. Especially as a woman you enter a more delicate age when you need to have your last couple of children unless you are in for fertility and health risks.
- You have priorities well set.
- You are sure your studies will aid you with finding a job (maybe you can get something via your family or contacts to enhance your experience, if it’s a field you cannot enter, then do not choose it).
And now once you’ve decided whether it is worth for you…you might still ask yourself why do you need a university degree, or why is it important to have one if you qualify for it? Well, here are the 6 reasons I found most appropriate to share.
Why to attend university?
- Greater general knowledge. Even if your classes might not be exciting at first, if you study something you enjoy, most likely you will pick books by yourself and read. Most times, you end up reading something relatable to your courses or not, just because libraries are really inviting and cosy to be in.
- Networking. It is still possible to make connections and remain in touch even upon graduation if you happen to share same goals, ideas or maybe even a plan of business with some of your colleagues.
- Useful social experience. Maybe you are an introvert, or so you are made to believe – but university, in a way or another, will push you to leave that thought behind and go beyond your boundaries. Speaking in public events, in front of a 100 attendees class, pitching projects, researching, interviewing, etc. I am not saying to force yourself to become more social, but it definitely teaches you about social behavior, how to approach different situations and how to behave.
- Easier to help others. Once you have a degree, it’s much easier to help others – you become familiar with teaching methods, you can structure courses you can upload online (pro bono or not), you can help your local community maybe by forming learning groups and give little courses in your area of experience.
- Easier to homeschool. It becomes much easier to know what’s important to put more focus on in the curriculum and what can be left aside. A well-informed and educated mother will impact positively the education of children, reason why I do encourage higher education to women in general. You cannot argue this – simply as that.
- Easier entry to the job market/ to aid the family. Truth is that many would love to be stay at home mothers but not everyone can afford it. Maybe your man’s work is high risk and it might become impossible for him to sustain the entire family in half a decade – one of the biggest helps you can give to your man is to be useful both inside and outside the household. If you happen to be a graduate, your path towards building a career later on in life would be much easier than starting from zero or trying to go up the ladder while you’re in your 40s, for instance.
I hope this gave you a brief idea regarding whether to pursue a higher education or not. Something that I need to say is that nowadays, getting into a university is not as hard as it used to be in most places – hence the diversity of people is quite large. My idea for the future of education is to return to elitism, where only the best would be rewarded with a diploma and a license to practice their job. We have allowed far too many people to practice in fields that have turned popular due to the power of money rather than passion. Too much workforce and quality of practice has gotten down. Too many private labs, too many consultation offices, too many ”professionals”, yet very little professionalism.
Also, no, attending a university doesn’t automatically make you better than someone that attends a vocational school. What sets you apart is your capacities, your ambitions, your mannerism, your knowledge, your devotion, your responsibilities, your sacrifices and efforts. It used to be that university attendees would have manners, social skills, polished attires, impeccable vocabulary, extended general knowledge, etc – unfortunately today is far too easy to skip through all these and call oneself ”a graduate”.
Despite this, I encourage greatly both men and women of interest to attend university if their passion for a field is so great, while acknowledging well their position in a fully working and responsible society where the nuclear family is the pillar of evolution and healthy mind and body for the upcoming generations.I say this as a M.Sc. in Economics, wife and mother of one (as for now) little sweet 7 months old forest troll.
If you have any ideas or you want to interact, feel free to do it down in the comments here or in Instagram.