Anyone who knows me just a little, might be surprised from this news: I’m going to University. My fervid support for self-education hasn’t faded – just needed a deep revision in order to grow stronger. Here I’ve collected the main reasons that led me up to this point.
- I needed to undertake a medium-term challenge.
During the past years, I couldn’t figure out what my life mission was. I spent my time exploring many different options, collecting volunteering experiences and travellings, getting into troubles and letting myself into long periods of flâneuring. That has been great and hugely enriching, but the main obstacle was an insufficient skill to plan mid-term.
- I reconsidered its social benefits: social connections and professional network development.
I used to link my abilities and achievements mainly to individual effort. I won’t hide how much I suffered holding on to that mindset. It slowed down my network’s growth. Volunteer work and community experiences have taught me the power of partnership, and I want to strengthen this skill with curious kids who want to make a change in the world.
- I embraced the current educational system, to be able to change it from the inside.
I used to get upset at people asking their barber for financial advice. An entrepreneurship course could be hold by professors that never founded an enterprise. Such a perspective is not really thrilling. Diplomas have to be reformed, but some educational institutions, such as Minerva, have embraced the challenge and are offering an innovative, fine-tuned solution.
- I overrated its financial commitment.
I’ve been dazzled by millionaires college dropouts. I knew that University was not the only choice to become someone in the world. I just omitted to compare US tuitions with Italian ones: a 200/300k debt might be a good reason to find an alternative path, but European standards are way more affordable. Then I discovered that I could get affordable US-standard education with Minerva. Hence never give up looking for a solution!
- Degree evaluation is an indispensable Occam’s Razor for job recruiters.
Professional network and the ability to connect with others are much more valuable assets than a simple degree. Studies have shown that employers report a lack of soft skills among graduates. Yes, degree is not enough to make you a good employee. But it shows your ability to set priorities and get things done, besides technicalities.
- Attempting to cultivate too much interests actually does more harm than good.
Life expectancy has become less unpredictable in the last decades. There is potentially plenty of time to dig deep into more than just one subject in a lifetime. I was worried to choose the wrong path, so I kept opening new ones. While focusing further on my leading interests, I seized that a much more required skill to learn was how to master any subject. In order to go deep and get those 10,000 hours, something had to be chosen. After a careful analysis of options that would fit my interests, keep my options open and give me a toolkit for doing good, I went for Social Sciences.
Damn it…It was so obvious! It wasn’t until I got the whole picture, some weeks ago. The sweet spot here is to communicate what I’ve learned before I’ll ever forget how it felt not to know.
I set myself some rules to facilitate the faculty’s choice. I tailored them to prevent my fallacies. I listed them below to inspire anyone who might struggle with the same issues.
Premise: meanwhile deciding who to be in life, I do not consider University a parking slot. I have a quite precise idea of what I want to accomplish professionally, and I’m just looking for what has to be done to get there. It’s like knowing you want to heal people and have getting to know the difference between medical science and nursery. Adopt the craftsman mindset: what are the skills you need to meet your professional goals?
⁃ Manage to have a room on your own, but do not make it a reason to choose where to go.
After I’ve been living out of family for almost five years, it hasn’t been easy to get back with mommy and daddy. But I didn’t want that strong need of independence to negatively effect my choice. While sorting out the right Faculty, I decided to focus just on their educational offer.
⁃ Do not choose any university upon guts you have about the city either.
I live in a small town in the Italian Alps. It might be tempting to live in a fashionable city and make up some reasonable excuses to study there. If you struggle with the same issue, just leave that for when you’ll be a millionaire or a writer, otherwise just take a gap year and travel the world.
⁃ Rankings aren’t everything. Choose wisely.
Likewise any country, Italy has its own University charts, which are uncovered every year with great uproar. Likewise any country, even though top-ranked Universities are public, institutions play the business game. I think it’s unwise to endorse any University just because of its ranking. What you’re going to do there is what really matters.
⁃ Universities’ glamour, endowment and stage opportunities become especially relevant at Master’s degree only.
Be careful not to apply for physics while planning to master in cognitive psychology. But do not travel 800km to join a Faculty just because you’re planning to attend their Master Program. Things might change a lot faster than you think.
and remember: “Hope is a function of struggle” – Brenè Brown
So what about me? I’m applying for Minerva, San Francisco CA. Cheers! 🙂
This article has been featured in "Student Voice" Medium publication. https://medium.com/student-voices