…whilst education loves fear

We all fear the unknown. The journey to dispelling that fear and knowing the unknown is as noble a pursuit as it is a descent into passionate madness that will consume your being. Educating yourself to put a stop to the fear can be more trouble than it’s worth. As I found out, looking through my Instagram to when I last posted one of my art pieces.

13 weeks, 13 weeks and on the 13 week birthday, found out it wasn’t his…

Thirteen Weeks ago, It can feel like an eternity. Making that desert filled me with such joy, passion, utter elation from start to finish. What happened over 3 months ago that caused me to stop doing something I love?

I gave into my fears and jumped head first into a course for graphic design. Like a goddamn fool.

My life went on hold for those three months, my demeanor went from a wry grin to a scowling grimace. My stress went up and I learned nothing for it.

I hadn’t made anything that could be used in the real world. Worst still, as the months went on, it seemed this course was becoming more and more misaligned with my goal of immigrating to America.

Which brings me back to fear. I got into this course out of the fear that I might not know enough. That though I’ve been working as a designer for three years now, in the eyes of the American government I have nothing. A moment of weakness in myself. One that cost me my time, the most important commodity.

So as the first course block finished up I gave my adieu and stopped the course. Using my time to get out there and do what I was doing, building things, learning in my own way was going to be far better to my goals that getting the piece of paper from the course.

Not that I hold it against the course itself, I’m just not the lucky student to get anything out of the education system.

“… There’s always a few good teachers. Odds are you won’t get one of them. There’s always a few well-meaning programs. Odds are you won’t find it. And there’s always that one student that figures out how to get what they need out of the experience. Odds are you are not that student.”

Mike Monterio — School is for Suckers

It’s likely that I’m not even a good student to begin with. I love learning but traditional education has just never been at my speed. In highschool I was only ever good at Drama, a class where I was free to do my own learning and creating performances, I even got a shining medal for being the best in my year.

University wasn’t any different for me, I took an accounting course and it was could best be equated to a hammering nails into the ground with an open wound in my skull (Thank god you can drink at 18 in Australia).

Taking on tertiary education is submitting yourself to the miasma of outdated methods, grading that is skewed to fit into a bell curve graphs and unrealistic workflows and steps to accomplish a goal that would never exist in the real world. As a student you put blind faith into a system and an allegiance to an educator that might not know what they are talking about.

As Monterio says, you might be the lucky one that gets the great teacher, in the great course. You could get struck by lightning while clicking a banner ad too while you are achieving the unlikely.

The unwillingness to cater to those who don’t learn the best in those situations is fine, schools are businesses and they need to make money. That also means they want quantity before quality.

Business authors like Jim Collins talk about “Getting the right people on the bus and getting the wrongs off as quickly as possible”. This should hold true for schools. Educating students about their options on how best to learn, whether it be through university, getting out into the workforce or taking online video courses like lynda or treehouse, can pay dividends into the quality of student that goes through their doors.

When I was in highschool, I had no clue that I would become a designer, five years ago I was a filmmaker filming models at fashion weeks. The unknown career that would change my life was hidden from me because no one told me that it was a thing, the closest I got to design was doing watercolors of bugs and video game pottery.

For me, choosing to take tertiary education only hinders my goals and my passion. For others, like my girlfriend, they excel in the system (Hell she is going to become a teacher). No path is the wrong path, if it gets you to what makes you most happy, taking it upon yourself to find out what you should do is key though.

Instead of binge watching another season of Breaking Bad, after a long day at an arts degree, take a free trial of an online course and try and explore an option you haven’t considered. An accountant can become a designer trying to get to America, a history major can become an actor performing their own one-man show, a linguist can become a teacher. Don’t let the fear force you into making a decision that you have to make a living off of. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Originally published at joshtregenza.com.

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