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Putting Education Into Perspective


Before we get into this post I just want to make one thing clear. Education is important, there's no doubt about that and this post isn't meant to detract from just how important education is. There are many children around the world who could only dream of having the access that most of us have to education so it's something I never take for granted. 

With that being said, today I wanted to chat about how school can be trickier for some people purely because they learn differently, and that sometimes the pressure and importance put on education can actually hinder us instead of help us. I chatted briefly about this topic on Snapchat around the time of the Leaving Certificate results a few weeks ago and a lot of people said they'd love to see a full blog post about it, so here are some of my thoughts.

We All Learn Differently

I'm sure lots of you reading this right now love to learn by doing, you love a hands-on approach to education and struggled with the text book format that most schools use to teach. Some of you may even learn best by speaking, for example explaining how a chemical reaction works helps you to remember it better. We all learn differently and that's okay, none of us are the same. 

I struggled with exams in school because I didn't have the ability to memorise all of these dates, facts and quotes. I knew girls who could bury their heads in their books and regurgitate just about everything they read for their exams, and I always envied them. Now I'm in college and the learning is much more practical and I have the freedom to learn in whichever way I choose, I find it so much easier and my exam results reflect that.

In the last few years there have been changes made to curriculums in secondary schools which is fantastic, and there has even been talk of introducing continuous assessment. I just wish that had been available when I was in school, because there was so many times where I just didn't feel good enough because I couldn't memorise all this information.

School shouldn't be about how much you can remember, it should be about how much you've learnt and the exams that determine our future should reflect that.

Everyone Has To Go To College, Right?

Wrong. I think there's awful pressure put on secondary school students in regards to going to college. In my last two years of school everything was about which college I'd go to, which courses I'd put on my CAO, how many points I needed to get in my Leaving Cert etc. To make matters worse, there was a lot of emphasis put on courses like nursing and teaching and not a lot said about technology and computers. It was just a few weeks before the CAO deadline that I actually found the course I'm studying today after a panicked search one day.

Growing up it was always a given that I'd go to college, that was just the done thing and here I am. Don't get me wrong, I'm so very grateful to be in my final year and even closer to my degree, but I think if I'd had a crystal ball, I might not have gone to college at all. 

Some of you might disagree with me, but I think that having a degree isn't the be all and the end all. Of course most employers require you have some sort of qualification, and particular careers need specific training but there is nothing more valuable than experience. I truly believe that if you're passionate enough about something, you can go out there and get it, degree or no degree, it just depends on how hard you're willing to work.  I know (and admire) plenty of people who actually dropped out of secondary school for some reason or another and managed to find their own path in life and have amazing careers doing something they love.

Like the title of this post suggests, we need to start putting education into perspective, instead of putting so much pressure on young people to get certain grades, or study a course that they hate for four years. Students shouldn't be unable to sleep because they're so worried about not getting into college. Education should be something we enjoy and look forward to.

I vividly remember the day I got my Leaving Certificate results. I opened them by myself in my room and broke down in tears because I was just a few points shy of what was required for my first choice. I thought the world was over, that I'd never amount to anything in life and that my parents were going to be so disappointed in me. Of course looking back now four years later I have a lot more perspective, I just wish I'd had it back then too.

My friend Niamh recently wrote a post called 'What I Wish Someone Had Told Me In School' and I related to it so much. One of my favourite quotes from that post is "No one has the right to tell you that you can’t and if they do, do it to prove them wrong but most importantly do it to prove yourself right." You can do anything you set your mind to, so if you don't get the college course you wanted, or spending 4 years in college to get a degree is your idea of hell, go out and prove yourself.

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Did you struggle in school because you just couldn't learn the way everyone else did? Do you think that college isn't as important as everyone makes it out to be? I'd love to hear any opinions you have on this so be sure to leave a comment below, or over on Facebook and Instagram.

Thanks so much for reading!

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