5 Myths I used to believe when I was 18

1. Money will make you happy
This is not the case – certainly not in and of itself. The research is showing us that there is a correlation between money and happiness, up until a certain point – i.e. until basic needs are met, and with a little surplus (this has been reported as, on average, $75,000 in the US, and £40,000 in the UK). Above this threshold, money makes little – if any – difference. What has been shown to be more important is how you manage your money, and what you spend it on.

2. Having a high-powered job will make you happy
Somewhat tied in with the previous point. Having a nice corporate title in just any field won’t make you happy; though if it’s in the right field, it just might. The key is the right field. Not necessarily the one(s) that society and everyone around you is following. (e.g. Law, Finance, Medicine)

3.  You should definitely go to university
As an 18 year old, there are a very small few who absolutely know for sure what they want to do with their life. For the rest of us, the truth is that we simply have no idea whatsoever. Previously, university provided the perfect opportunity to spend 3 years away from home and indulge in all the fun in the world; at £9,000 per year in fees alone, and so at least £30,000 of debt by the end, this is now an incredibly expensive way to spend 3 years having fun. Another irony is that then we are then faced with grabbing any reasonably-paid graduate job that comes along, to begin paying this burdensome debt off. In a field that we might end up staying in for several years, or even the rest of our lives…

Scott Dinsmore: “I mean, you spend more time picking out a dorm room TV set than you do picking your major and your area of study.”

4. Go to university, and you’ll get a job at the end of it (especially if you have a 2.1)
At one point, this was true. In 2015, this couldn’t be further from it – just ask anyone who’s graduated in the last 10 years. So now, £30,000 (or more) of debt later, you can’t even find a job with this prestigious degree from that reputable university. Not even a job you can blindly ‘fall into’ and haven’t given much conscious thought to…

4. After your education (whether secondary/further/higher), you’re a fully-fledged being and ready to go and live a remarkable, happy and healthy life doing the work you know that you were made for.

Or, for the last 10-15+ years you were put through a system that has:

A) Subjected you to a pressure-cooker environment of constant tests and exams (contributing to the mental health problems growing year on year)
B) Failed to even mention that there are, in fact, multiple forms of intelligence (not just the one) – let alone actively develop these
C) Spoon-fed you with information in a factory-like manner – the vast majority of which you will never use again (even with ‘bells’ ringing throughout the day, just like they used to have in the good ol’ factory days) 
D) Failed to teach you any crucial life lessons – e.g. around money management, emotional intelligence, living in the real world…
E) Taught you little about wellbeing – either psychological (mental) or physical
F) Cared largely for it’s own reputation/‘performance’/‘league tables’ – rather than you and looking after you in the best way possible.

We’re now living in the 21st Century, and the world has moved on a long way from when schools and universities first came into existence. Something is clearly going wrong here – this old model isn’t working.

(PS. There are some outstanding teachers and educators out there. I was privileged enough to have been taught by some of them. The above is aimed at the system as a whole, rather than pointing fingers at individuals in particular.)

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