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University or University of Life?

Feel free to join in – go off on a tangent – change the subject – come back to the topic – lets just enjoy a round-the-table-chat with Restless ‘buddies’ 🙂

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    • Carol.L 1st April 2021 at 10:37 am

      I think both have their merits Gill. In the late 60s we were lucky enough to get a decent grant whereas my son left uni with a load of debt despite living at home. I would advise any young person considering applying to uni to take a gap year out first, to gain a bit more experience of the world, learn more about themselves and what they really want from life, travel and enjoy their youth. I also think that having a trade such as plumbing, electrician etc can be more useful than a degree in many cases although I realise that apprenticeships are harder to come by these days.

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 1:15 pm

        When I asked the question it didn’t even occur to me the issue of student debt (although the cheapest loan you will ever come by in your life unless its an interest free one). I guess as Uni/College education became more popular so the grant system was less affordable.

        I took the view at 18 that unless I needed a degree or educational qualification for a particular career path, I didn’t see the point in going. My only contact with college was going to stay with my sister when she was at teacher training college. It just wasn’t the life I wanted for myself so I went to work at 18. That was my personal choice and not one that has ever held me back either.

        I think the gap year is an excellent idea for any young person. Now that I might have liked the idea of, although I probably couldn’t have afforded it in truth. Not back then when international travel in the later part of the 70s was just becoming a thing. I think its the best opportunity you have to do some travelling – the only other time is when you retire, but health isn’t always on your side, and early retirement may not be an option.

        A course to learn a trade is a great idea, apprenticeships even better. I reckon there is probably a generation of people who could not benefit from apprenticeship schemes, and as you say they may still be very few places available for the number who might be interested.

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    • Colin in Kent 1st April 2021 at 11:36 am

      I tend to agree with Carol. I think the entire landscape has changed. When I went to Uni in the 80s only 3% of school leaving population went, because there was a great network of technical colleges and apprenticeships, and if you were practical minded or wanted to learn a trade there was a route for you. My mum was working class, a single parent bringing up two sons, and I could never have afforded to go without a full grant. Myself and my brother were the first and only people in my mum or dad’s families ever to go to university. But after the changes in the 90s to increase university entrance, which is now, what, 60-70% of school leavers, it only looks better superficially, because those kids are saddled with debt, and the route into apprenticeships is almost non-existent (along with our manufacturing and engineering base). And because most people then had degrees, employers took to requiring them rather than A levels. I had a friend turned down for a job in Waterstones in the 90s because her class of degree wasn’t good enough!

      Have to say, I think most ‘life’ education these days comes after university, when young people are suddenly faced with the cold harsh reality of getting work. Finding that access to top careers hasn’t become more egalitarian and that 70% of people having a degree simply means employers are only taking 3% of that 70% instead of all of them. I’d say if someone has a talent or skill towards learning a trade then they should go that route because those skills are always in demand.

      Probably the person living I most admire is my uncle, still going strong at 93. Left school when he was evacuated during the war, and worked on a farm from the age of 14 till he returned home. Then was a plumper all his life, only retired in his 70s when he could no longer lug a radiator up a flight of stairs, but he also had a huge belief in education and learning for its own sake. You could have a conversation with him on anything, from history to genetics. He can still reel off sine equations he took himself to night school to learn in the 60s to make himself a better plumber and learn about water flow and pressure calculations. Taught himself chess, was a champion rower and judo player, all from an impoverished working class family in south London.

      So university education *shouldn’t* be the be all and end all, but increasingly it’s what employers want simply as a basic requirement, which is deeply worrying I think.

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      • Carol.L 1st April 2021 at 12:28 pm

        Similar story with my dad Colin. Born in 1920 he was the oldest of 8 sons so despite being clever had to leave school at 14 to start work as a brickie to help support the family. After many years studying at nightschool he eventually qualified as a quantity surveyor. During WW2 he was in Sicily and fell in love with the country teaching himself Italian which he could speak fluently and returning many times on holiday after making friends locally. He loved opera, was a great reader, keen gardener and could turn his hand to anything practical. I think we had one of the first fitted kitchens around thanks to his efforts!

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        • Colin in Kent 1st April 2021 at 1:15 pm

          That’s what people did in those days I think – they got out there and improved themselves, and were self-reliant and self-confident. I think if you were smart you certainly didn’t need a university education, and in most cases you wouldn’t even think you should have one. I know my uncle did perhaps feel that he missed out on opportunities, but that was because of his class not his education.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 1:36 pm

          Well and because of an awareness of your class, it may not be that others looked down on you, it maybe that you don’t think you belong up there. So it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. I went to an all girls school with a strict headmistress (unmarried of course) who empowered us to believe in ourselves and our abilities. Great school. Never occurred to met that I might not be good enough to compete with those who had a better education than me.

          What a great guy your uncle is!

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        • Carol.L 1st April 2021 at 1:51 pm

          Despite having the skills and the knowledge dad would never have considered building his own house even though he completely transformed the house we lived in so we stayed in council property as according to dad ‘people like us don’t own their own houses’. What a sad reflection of the attitude and beliefs of the time that was.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 2:10 pm

          I know Carol.. Holding onto your roots.

          I think it still goes on too doesn’t it? I have a working class upbringing that was grounded in socialist principals. I’m proud of my parents and my heritage, but I wouldn’t want it to get in the way of achieving anything that I set out to achieve.

          Dad was most comfortable in his home amongst the people he liked to be with. Maybe he was scared of entering into a world that he was unfamiliar with – who knows. I bet he was proud of what you achieved though, and lived vicariously through you!

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        • Carol.L 1st April 2021 at 2:24 pm

          I had quite a dysfunctional upbringing Gill, certainly unusual for the times but that’s something for a different thread as your topic is very interesting.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 2:28 pm

          Ha ha .. we usually quite happily deviate off the subject, but I understand! Another time 😊 .. a shame though

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 2:29 pm

          I mean Carol a shame that it was dysfunctional .. not a shame that we can’t talk about it now lol! …

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        • Colin in Kent 1st April 2021 at 4:53 pm

          I went to an all boys school, I wish I could say the same. One or two inspiring teachers, but none that had a marked influence on my development, I think.

          Yes, my uncle is a great guy, he really stood in and helped when my parents split up. Even though he was my mum’s brother, and of course supported her to the hilt, I remember him taking me to one side and telling me that whatever their differences, it didn’t mean my father loved me any less.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 5:47 pm

          He was so right to tell you that too. Absolutely essential. A wonderful thing to do for you.

          My grandma over heard my two young step sons talking in front of her about their parents’ divorce. They were 8 and 10. The younger thinking that it was their fault their parents has split, because they were naughty sometimes. So sad because of course it was to do with a breakdown in the relationship between their parents. The boys did always know just how much both their parents loved them. Their mum still around of course.

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        • Carol.L 1st April 2021 at 6:05 pm

          Speaking from personal experience the way a divorce is handled has a huge effect that can last a lifetime where there are children involved. It is vital that it is dealt with as amicably as possible so that the children are not left with feelings of guilt or unworthiness.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 6:32 pm

          Exactly. My husband was very non confrontational and was always civil with his ex. I knew them both before their marriage broke up – used to watch cricket together and played with the boys too. They were in shock when H brought me along to take the boys out one day.

          Anyway, H his ex, her H and I went to parents evenings together – we all got on. When eldest was getting married I suggested we all went out for a meal with DIL’s parents to show that we could all be civil together. We have become friends over the years, which I think was very generous hearted of H because the break up was very difficult for him, but it was difficult for her too. Who wants to split a marriage apart when there are children, but she wasn’t happy. They visited H before he died in the hospice and came to funeral. All water under the bridge. Haven’t seen them in the last year because of lockdown, but hope to if we get a chance to deal with H’s ashes this summer (couldn’t do it last summer).

          It was a tough time for the boys for sure, but we all did our best, and they certainly knew they were loved by all four of us!

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        • Carol.L 1st April 2021 at 6:40 pm

          That’s brilliant Gill, your stepsons are extremely lucky to have had you all only wanting the best for them.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 6:42 pm

          We are very close and been through a lot with their dad together too!

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        • Colin in Kent 2nd April 2021 at 10:16 am

          That sounds like a model way to handle it. However hard for your husband it was. Having children carries with it responsibilities, and acknowledging that is a mark of not only maturity but humanity. Sadly not everyone, perhaps even not most, take that approach.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 12:17 pm

          I think its very hard to separate out the personal issues between exes from the priority of the children. It is very difficult to let resentment go in place of giving opportunities for the children to have a relationship with both parents. Of course in our situation there was no anger issues, no violence, no abuse of any kind, just a wife who wanted to be with someone else. It happens. They made it work.

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        • Carol.L 3rd April 2021 at 3:49 pm

          My parents sadly mucked up big time regarding my brother and myself.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 3:53 pm

          It is sad Carol. They loved you, but they couldn’t see it from our points of view. Very hard. Its not an easy choice to make to break up a relationship.

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        • Carol.L 3rd April 2021 at 4:00 pm

          Oh you don’t know the half of it Gill, long long story but I didn’t see my mum for 32 years, it ruined my brother’s life.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 4:09 pm

          Oh goodness Carol that is just awful!!!! I am so sorry to hear that!

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        • Carol.L 3rd April 2021 at 4:33 pm

          As I said in an earlier post mum was 7 years younger than dad, very attractive , outgoing, sociable whereas dad was serious and rather staid, As a contracts manager he often worked away on projects for months at a time and I suppose the inevitable happened, mum started an affair with someone 10 years her junior. I was 14 at the time, brother 9 so I was old enough to know what was going on as I’d even seen him in bed in our house and was torn about letting dad know even though I loved mum. Anyway, it came to a head when dad came home and found them together, a fight involving knives ensued and dad threw mum out throwing her clothes out of the bedroom window after her.
          Derek and I were screaming in terror but the very next morning dad marched the two of us down to a solicitor’s and filed for divorce. I can still remember the clothes I was wearing that day.
          The case went to court and dad was granted sole custody of Derek and I, mum didn’t contest it. It wouldn’t happen now but from that day we were forbidden to have any contact with her side of the family. It broke my heart as I never saw my grandparents again and I had been born in their house and lived in their house till I was 5. Also cut off from seeing aunts, uncles and cousins. Dad would even come to collect me from Sunday school and Guides in case they tried to see me.
          Mum did marry this other guy although he died young of cancer and she was widowed in her 50s.
          This was in 1963 so very unusual to be brought up by a dad, I only confided in one friend at school and Derek simply told everyone his mum was dead. I think we felt ashamed and embarrassed of our situation.
          For a while my other gran came to cook for us at teatime but she died soon after so it was just the 3 of us.
          I had no- one to go shopping with for undies or intimate stuff, dad just didn’t understand so I did it on my own.
          Derek suffered more than me, I left home to study, then teach but when dad re-married when I was 21 and move to a different townmy brother was in 6th form and had to change schools etc and share a room with a stepbrother.
          To cut a very long story short after 32 years I met my mum purely by chance back in my home town, recognised each other and we were reconciled for a few years before she died aged 72.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 5:04 pm

          That is so very sad Carol and holds so many sad memories in your hearts. You were only young and to go through all this. So much loss for you and your brother to deal with, and so much responsibility on your shoulders. It had to have been so isolating and no-one else in your peer group was experiencing the same things, and so it became something you couldn’t talk about because no-one else would really understand. Also you would have felt a loyalty to both your parents. It was as bad for you as it was for Derek but in different ways. It is very sad.

          Moving away for college was probably a good thing for you personally, and gave you independence and an escape from home, and I guess no home to return to if dad had remarried.

          How amazing that you bumped in to your mum and yet recognised each other instantly and were at least able to have some sort of relationship for a few years.

          When faced with no choice, its amazing the fortitude that can be found to find a way to survive, and that you did. No-one wants to see anyone go through what you went through, and well done you for having pulled through all of that upset. That little girl in that photo had no idea what was going to upset her apple cart. Such fortitude!

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        • Carol.L 3rd April 2021 at 5:13 pm

          Taken after our reconciliation in 1999

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 5:30 pm

          That is a special photo and a beautiful picture of you Carol. I am sure it was wonderful for your mum to be able to see her little girl again, but sadly not her boy.

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        • Carol.L 3rd April 2021 at 5:33 pm

          Derek by then had emigrated to Australia but would have nothing to do with mum even though he knew I was back in touch with her.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 5:35 pm

          I guessed that was the situation. Its no wonder if he also felt abandoned by her.

          Have you been out to visit him? I know you mentioned going to New Zealand and the bungee jumping. Such a long way away.

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        • Carol.L 3rd April 2021 at 5:42 pm

          Been 3 times but sadly he is now divorced, no kids, and has stage 3 Parkinsons after being super fit and healthy all his life. Sorry this seems to be turning into a real woe is me pity fest and I really don’t want it come across like that!

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 9:40 pm

          No it doesn’t. You are smiling in your photo. Very difficult for you though to be so far away. Some illnesses are unpredictable and P is one of them. No real reason, unless sustained head injuries in the past (rugby or boxing). Thank you for sharing.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 1:33 pm

          Love hearing about your dad Carol and same generation to mine too, just two years old. Dad was also in Italy and Sicily during the war, but did not turn his hand to learning the language, but had started to learn german when he passed away. My sister and I picked up languages easily, I am thinking that may have been from dad, rather than mum, who thought if you shouted loud enough and waived your arms around a lot, people would understand what you were saying! Obvs she didn’t think that, but she did it anyway!

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        • Carol.L 1st April 2021 at 1:45 pm

          Yes, I think I inherited my love of languages from my dad and probably my practical nature too!

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 2:18 pm

          How could you not .. I get my practical nature from granddad I am sure.

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 1:30 pm

        One of the things that I am not happy with is the fact that a university degree is required when the job doesn’t demand it. That in itself then becomes an issue because those people expect and want a fast track to promotion and if it isn’t available, they don’t stay long. It seems that there is a lot of movement from job to job amongst many in their 20s. I wonder if its driven by the fact that promotional opportunities don’t exist, and with a degree there is an expectation that you are entitled to earn a lot of money. It it running before walking? Depends on the person and their capabilities I guess.

        Is the requirement for a degree led by someone who obtained a degree regardless of whether the job really warrants one comes?

        I have heard those advocating university that it is what helps you grow up. However who knows who is the most mature by the age of 21/22? The person who went to work and may even have left home? or the person who went to university? I certainly know who was the most mature at 21 between my sister and me!

        I love the story of your uncle. My dad (born in 1918) had no education save for basics I guess, and left school at 13 because he needed to work. He was a bright man, intelligent buy may be not intellectual. He was self taught in many things, but he only had a position as an Accounts Clerk when he died at 52. My mum had the better job but not equal pay in those days. That came a couple of years later.

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        • Colin in Kent 1st April 2021 at 5:14 pm

          I’m not certain university helps you grow up. I *do* think that since the great equalisation of the 90s, whereby all polytechnics became universities, and the Government declared its target that all school leavers should go to university if they wanted to, employers have certainly set degrees as the minimum. It doesn’t help, it just shifts the goalposts. Employers that once required a degree because the job requires an education to that level now require a top degree, or (as the Forensic Accountancy did where I worked from 2010-2019), simply bring in their own tests on top of that.

          My father never had any qualifications, and I can’t remember ever having a conversation with him about university (he left home before I applied). I think his feeling was that you left as soon as you were able and got a job. But as long as I can remember he went from one job to another, usually something involving driving, which he loved. We only ever rented our home, I didn’t buy somewhere until I was 40, it was always something that seemed out of reach to someone of my background.

          In terms of maturity, it’s hard to say. Also, I think there are different ideas of what that is. My brother, older by eighteen months, always assumed authority over me and my lifestyle. He wore a jacket and tie to every social occasion, always listened to classical music, and was a complete contrast to my long hair, denim and leather, and heavy rock. Teachers always drew unfavourable comparisons. He worked hard, I didn’t, and skipped lots of school from 15 onwards. He had a long career in the police. But maturity? I honestly don’t know about that.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 5:53 pm

          That used to get me with my sister being 20months older, but I see my daughter in law put the older children in charge of the younger, loading on responsibility which the younger may resent when she gets older. A fine line.

          I wonder which of the two are happier though .. maybe your brother was just trying to meet everyone’s expectations and so was a conformist .. who knows!

          Comparisons can be quite destructive and unhelpful!!

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        • Colin in Kent 2nd April 2021 at 10:47 am

          I think my brother has envied me all my life, and that is one of the things which I have to factor in at his occasional acts of spitefulness and constant jibes.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 12:03 pm

          Well that has the hallmarks of an insecurity right there. Put others down so that you make yourself feel better! Maybe resented the freedoms you had and he didn’t (or didn’t allow himself) – hey what do I know .. could be any number of things. Sad though.

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        • Deleted User 1st April 2021 at 5:19 pm

          I agree with your comment about jobs saying you need a degree when you don’t. Years ago I couldn’t get on a well-known supermarket’s management programme as I didn’t have a degree although I had years of retail experience at the management level.
          My dad left school with no qualifications, sent up his own business when I was born with a very good turnover.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 6:02 pm

          That seems very harsh Kitty. I may be wrong by I always suspect that decisions like that are made by people who have a degree.

          Well done to your dad!

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        • Marica 1st April 2021 at 11:43 pm

          Reading all this , I would say that most of the links I had with friends or children or work colleagues who were a university varied tremendously depending who was in “charge”. By that I mean that I worked in a large London firm when 19 and we had a series of graduates come through the various offices and sections. With the ones I had in the office, i showed them some of the routines we were doing concerning inventions and corporate insurance, they could not get the basics, I was shocked! Apart from one guy who I got on with and was very down to earth , the rest were not street wise as I put it . Yet the CEO had his little group of graduates that he took every year and put them into jobs, one of them being the job I was supposed to get promoted to!! My boss kicked up a stink about it but she was verbally beaten down because each graduate had to have a position there and the one who took my promotion job knew nothing about the work at all. Beyond that, I have never seen how degrees have helped people . My daughter has psychology degree but could not get a job in the psychology industry . Many people are better leaving school and becoming apprentices. I had a place at college to study personnel but decided to go straight into the job market at 18 and learnt so much from doing so. I would not put anyone off going to uni but I really do not think it offers the panacea of life that people think and is not guaranteed to get you a job unless you worked for the industry I was in with the biased CEO!

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    • CAAS 1st April 2021 at 3:32 pm

      University of Life every time. There is nothing a University can teach you about the ups and downs that will happen to you in your life, they can not teach you how to be a parent, how to get over a broken Marriage or the loss of a Loved one.

      I’m reminded of a story I either heard or read. That they was a chap who applied to be a verger, however didn’t get the job as he couldn’t read or write very well. So he educated himself started his own business and became a Multi-Millionaire in the years that followed he was interviewed and asked What would you have been if you were able to read and write? A Verger was his reply.

      Now days it seems all Universities preach left leaning Marxist propaganda agenda, what these people don’t realise is if a Marxist or Communist government ever did take over this country, they would be the first to be taken down a dark alley, stood against a wall and shot.
      Rant Over.
      If this is not what you wanted Gill, by all means get it removed.

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 5:20 pm

        Hi CAAS – not at all – thank you for commenting. We are never all going to be in agreement about things, but we should all be able to express what we think and feel, and have our views listened to so long as they aren’t offensive. So thank you.

        I like the story of the multi millionaire / would be verger. Well done to him for identifying his limitations, doing something about it and achieving big style.

        I don’t think it matters whether you choose to go to university or the university of life, none of us are prepared for the challenges we face in life: bereavement, relationship breakup, parenthood, etc that arise as part of our human journey. We all struggle at times with the potholes along the road, and learn the hard way, by living through those experiences.

        I too chose to go to the university of life, so I have no personal experience of what it is like other than seeing some friends and some friends’ children go. None have been indoctrinated in any one particular political persuasion, and all are lovely special caring human beings whom I am proud to know.

        To me, generation after generation of young intellectuals have in time immemorial been inclined to seek out the alternative view to the populace , justify why it might be the right opinion and campaign accordingly. I don’t know what is taught at Uni, but I am sure not all degree courses cover the teachings of Marx or communism or any other type of political regime. I remember some learnt about those things at A’level as part of history or political studies, and quite rightly so. Its important to learn about all sides of the political spectrum from left to right. To evaluate for yourself the good and bad in all types of policies, and learn of the real difficulties experienced in the Countries that followed both left and right extremist policies. I’m not sure that any of that balanced teaching is anything to do with propaganda.

        To me, there have always been students who are campaigning about something or other that may be controversial in the eyes of many. In the 60s students were campaigning for Ban the Bomb or free Vietnam for example. I expect it will go on, generation after generation, young people wanting to stand up for something or other which some of us may agree with, and some of us may not.

        Thank you again CAAS for putting forward your view point.

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    • Deleted User 1st April 2021 at 5:16 pm

      I didn’t go to university, my step mum took me to one side and explained that my dad would not pay for it. I wasn’t brave enough to ask dad if he would and know now that he would have quite happily. I really wanted to become a teacher and rules had changed that meant you needed a degree. When I eventually worked in a school and took on HLTA status, all my colleagues said that I would make a great teacher and was a natural teacher and the best cover that the school had.( we had a lot of cover at that time) Some of the best teachers I worked with had only gone to teacher training college, it’s shame that they got rid of those colleges.

      My son was told he was an ideal candidate for uni but didn’t want to go, a decision that I fully supported, he spent a year at college after A levels before landing himself a job. ( i has one rule, you don’t have to go to uni but you are not sitting on your bum doing nothing)

      My daughter needed to go to uni to enable her to learn her craft ( acting) but has worked in summer jobs since 14 so had got life experience and uni experience!

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 6:05 pm

        What a shame your step mum mislead you. Great that you found your true vocation some other way – and actually it saves you all the admin doesn’t it?

        What job did your son go for in the end?
        Good luck to your daughter, she will love the course (when lock down is over at least) and hope she can make a career of it too!

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        • Deleted User 2nd April 2021 at 8:26 am

          Unfortunately, I had to give up my job in a school to look after my daughter when she was ill, then couldn’t afford to go back as most roles are now term-time paid only.
          My daughter has her head screwed on re the acting and knows it could take years to get a job but happy to work in other roles till she gets a break. My son went into accounting but is now thinking he wants to be a teacher.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 8:37 am

          Well teaching appears to be in his genes if he does decide to switch career. That will presumably mean going to Uni of course. Its so difficult to really know what you want to do when at school, and make those life choices before you have experienced life.

          What a shame that you haven’t been able to continue the teaching assistant job. Maybe one day you will be able to afford to go back to it, or combine it with another job. My niece has taken up a teaching assistant post but its only 20 hours a week – and she really does need alternative work to supplement and pay the bills.

          I have a friend in the USA whose daughter is set on film work only. She is now at uni and decided to do an education degree and a minor in theatre studies (they don’t call it that) on the basis that she will be able to do both, the film work in the school holidays. May not be possible, but better to have a plan and see where it takes you!

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      • Marica 1st April 2021 at 11:50 pm

        I do think that many people find their college feet if you like sometimes in their last 20’s , 30’s or 40’s. I took a NVQ5 equivalent to a degree in Heath And Safety when I was in my late 40’s . Plus some Psychology exams working towards a degree but my divorce got in the way of that as I had to find a paying job. I think it is about when you are ready to study that is the criteria. Of course, at the age of 18-22 , you have nothing else to think about other than studying so it is a good time. But many are not ready even then to do a degree. It is about time, not age

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        • Deleted User 2nd April 2021 at 8:24 am

          I have studied into my 30s but knew that if I went into teaching I wanted to do an education degree and couldn’t afford to give up work to do that. I think a lot of youngsters don’t want to go to uni at 18 as they have had enough of studying and want to get out into the world.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 8:49 am

          Can’t blame them Kitty – and the gap year is a great idea. Hard to get back into studying I would imagine. I admire anyone that goes for adult studies. I haven’t needed from a job point of view, but I also not sure I have the inclination either. I admire anyone who does though!

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    • Josie The Black Country Wench 1st April 2021 at 6:01 pm

      It never ever occurred to me that I could go to University, it was for rich kids who went to grammar school. Those children who passed their 11+, the academically clever ones. I was a working class Black Country girl from a council estate, I went to the local Secondary Modern school and learnt how to run a home, raise children and be a good wife.
      My parents attitude was that everyone had a place in society and that was how society worked and that a woman especially should not get ideas above her class. My dad told me that I had three choices, work in a shop, hairdressers or an office. I was told to find a good working class Black Country lad and settle down to married life. He was horrified when I got a job in London and left home at 17. I just could not fit into the life he wanted for me. So for me it has been the university of life all the way. I have learned so many things, been to so many places and lived a good life with very few regrets. In the end I did marry a great bloke(a Londoner), successfully raised to wonderful children and my husband and I are still together to this day.

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    • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 6:35 pm

      I am sure your dad would have been proud of that too! You were brought up to be independent so it is unsurprising that you did what you did. Amazing. Glad you found your own path in life Josie rather than conform to what someone else wanted for you!

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    • Itsgoodtotalk 1st April 2021 at 7:00 pm

      I fully believe one should only go to university if they intend to use their chosen subject in a future career. Alot of people go either because of their friends, to use the time to socialise or to simply get a degree for its kudos value and leave doing unrelated work.

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 8:05 pm

        Of course for some they are also expected to go to university by their parents, especially if the alternative is that they don’t have a job to go to or they don’t actually know what they want to do after uni.

        There are of course some excellent post grad training programmes in business and IT for those who have a degree, although the degree doesn’t have to be directly related to the programmes they can enter into. I worked in IT for many years and the organisation I worked for ran such a scheme, using post grads to become programmers and analysts which was extremely successful. However it was very rare that anyone had IT qualifications, they had a diverse range of degrees.

        There are other career paths that follow a similar vein such as Marketing, PR, Insurance Broking, Underwriting, Banking and HR where core subjects like philosophy, history, english, psychology, sociology, can get them into good jobs on a post grad or fast track recruitment scheme. Or for maths to become accountants, actuaries, auditors, etc. So those that end up doing good main stream degree courses, can find themselves being able to go into a specialist career path because they have the qualification, when they may not specifically be thinking of taking that path when they embark on their degree.

        It may be more challenging to come out with an average degree in a traditional core subject, or a degree in one of the more obscure subjects at university may find it more challenging to find a suitable position unless they have other attributes on their cv such as working whilst at uni or voluntary work, or are somehow involved in their community such as running scouts, guides, a youth club, helping at a school etc.

        So I think it helps to know what those options are before embarking on a university course, and know what standard is expected by those prospective employers, so that you don’t fritter those years and come out unqualified for the sort of jobs they hope to go for.

        Personally if it were a teenager asking me, and they really weren’t sure what they wanted to do afterwards, and there were job opportunities for them to embark on a career at 18, I’d be encouraging them to go for that instead – maybe after a gap year if that is affordable just so you can have some experience of live. You are a long time stuck working if you really aren’t suited to office work for example.

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    • susan693 1st April 2021 at 7:37 pm

      I suppose it depends on what you want your outcomes to be. I went back into education at the age of 48, after only having CSE’s, I started at level 2 and then did 8 years of study up to Masters degree…my outcome..a qualified counsellor and I now teach counselling…was it worth 8 years absolutely…I love what I do, this is blended with my life experience and being human and experiencing all its many facets

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 1st April 2021 at 8:11 pm

        Well done. It just goes to show that just because you aren’t considered by the school to have enough aptitude, there is intelligence in there that can be brought out of its shell to blossom. Of course you did the university of life first and then a hard slog for 8 years (or actually it seems like it may have been longer than that). Out of curiosity when you embarked on that journey, did you know you wanted to do counselling at the other end?

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      • Marica 1st April 2021 at 11:52 pm

        Exactly my point , Susan, you did this when you knew you were ready despite having the children and did an amazing job to study and bring up a family . well done

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    • susan693 1st April 2021 at 9:18 pm

      I started a level 2 counselling course to find out who I was, as I had gone through various life events…then by the time I had completed level 3 I was hooked…went to uni for 3 years, then did my teaching degree, then masters in positive psychology…all developing me as I went and continues to do so

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    • susan693 1st April 2021 at 9:33 pm

      Absolutely…it is very growth enhancing ….and humbling..the buzz you get when either a client or a student gets themselves is the best thing ever

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    • Aqualady51 1st April 2021 at 9:43 pm

      Another great thread Gill. I have to say one of my happiest moments was walking across the stage at the Barbican to get my degree five years ago.

      I had been offered a place at Warwick to study history when I was 18, but due to a family situation (terminally ill Dad) I felt I couldn’t take it up at the time and I got myself a job and life took over and a career developed.

      Fast forward 30 something years, married, three kids and a full time job I felt like I needed a mental challenge so with a whiff of madness and a bit of trepidation I enrolled on an OU Systems Theory course. The rest as they say is history, I loved it. It was hard work, studying with kids around wasn’t easy, most nights it was start at 9pm into the wee small hours, sometimes all-nighters if a TMA was due!!

      I don’t think I would have managed any of that without a few courses from the University of Life first!

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      • Marica 1st April 2021 at 11:53 pm

        That is wonderful, Aqualady . You got something you always wanted and I take my hat off to you for persevering

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 6:51 am

        I love that Aqualady. Well done you. Amazing sense of achievement too. Trying to balance every day life with study to do a degree is way harder that going to uni full time (which isn’t really full time)! I would certainly get a better grade in my english Alevel now!

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        • Aqualady51 2nd April 2021 at 2:36 pm

          Thanks Gill, never one for the easy route!! I had one manager who was very dismissive of what I was doing, saying it wasn’t like ‘real’ university. I moved roles so he was no longer my manager purely off the back of the additional study. Having been through the experience I’d employ the OU grad every time due to the skills et and mindset required to achieve their qualification. It’s a perfect blend of Life and study!

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 4:42 pm

          Absolutely. As I was replying before, and thinking about what you had to go through to achieve your degree, I was thinking how hard working, diligent and dedicated you were to get there! Sadly, sometimes people can only see the world from their perspective best off away from that manager, a wise move.

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    • LeighS 1st April 2021 at 11:02 pm

      I am a graduate of the University of Life, although maybe I haven’t graduated, as I am still learning!

      My boys have, both due to circumstances first achieved University of Life education and now actual university. Both have gone as mature students. Eldest decided to take his Master’s degree over two years, but due to the current situation, has chosen not to continue and is instead working.

      Younger son, around May of last year decided to apply to one of our local universities. He was offered a place to study law. What he didn’t anticipate was that he would be doing all his studies at home. This is where his University of Life experience has come to be very useful, he has been able to cope with the situation better than some of his fellow students.

      I do feel for the students. It hasn’t been an easy year for any of them. The financial aspect is one, but there is also the emotional toll that the pandemic has taken on some of them. Even my son has struggled and was considering deferring his second year but now has decided with the pandemic situation improving, he will continue. We are both hoping that in-person classes will take place come September.

      As I said at the beginning of this post, I am at the University of Life. Thanks to my son living at home and due to the current situation, studying at home, I also improving my knowledge about law as my son does share what he is studying with me 🙂

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    • Deleted User 2nd April 2021 at 9:49 am

      Only school qualifications and an NVQ from my early work years.
      Befitting my laid back ( almost vertical) approach to life my work life has just sort of evolved along the years with opportunities presenting themselves and me following those paths.
      Only once did I make a big decision to take an alternative career path and that worked well, I’m comfortable where i am now so cant see any major changes soon.

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    • Colin in Kent 2nd April 2021 at 12:59 pm

      Many people go to university now, taking ‘soft’ degrees, because they want to enjoy the social life and opportunities being a student provides. But to say – as people here are – that it’s university of life every time, and having a degree never helps you cope with life. That you’ve never seen how degrees have helped people – well, I wouldn’t want to be operated on by someone without a medical degree, or for someone to construct a building or bridge without an engineering or mechanical engineering degree. My cat’s life was saved by a veterinary surgeon specialised in neurosurgery. To be a pharmacist you need to undertake a four year degree. I imagine everyone who has worked on producing the Covid vaccines have degrees in biochemistry, epidemiology, genetics. Starting businesses can be the path to success, but it’s just not the same as being a research scientist, or any one of a whole host of careers degrees in various science and maths disciplines. Climate and environmental science, food science. Putting satellites into space so that we can look up a route on Google Maps. Inventing Google Maps. The internet. Almost everything we have in the way of science and technology was developed by people with degrees! My daughter’s degree in Computer Science has led to her career in the NHS IT world, and them sponsoring her to do an MBA. There are TONS of careers for which degrees simply aren’t optional.

      What people talk about when they think of ‘going to university’ seems to be the huge numbers of arts and humanities degrees that have become inflated to reach the Gov’t’s targets of university entrance, because however much you sugar coat it, getting most science degrees involves hard work and brains. I don’t have a problem with people who go to uni to pursue an interest (it’s what I did), but getting a degree in Eng Lit or Geography should not be confused with designing energy efficient generating systems, or using biochemicals to reverse the effects of pollution, or undertaking heart surgery.

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 1:53 pm

        Maybe we haven’t acknowledged the specialist degrees enough Colin. I certainly wouldn’t say that. Nor would I say that non specialist degrees are a waste of time because, with good results, they open doors to some excellent career opportunities where a specialist degree isn’t necessary, but having a good degree is. I also think we do need to have graduates with non specialist/career oriented degrees.

        I don’t even think that going to university for the social scene is necessarily a bad thing if they can afford to do it. In the days when grants were publicly funded, then I might have had a different view of things, I don’t know, but that isn’t the case anymore.

        Of course we don’t know why people have chosen ‘university of life’ but it might be because they were considering their own life and their own career path, and weren’t thinking as a general principal. We just don’t know what drives the answers any of us give, or even what people’s interpretation of the question is. Its a very open question for people to put their own spin on it I suppose.

        Actually, the question was posed because a couple of years back I heard the argument for pro university and recruiting people with degrees as being ‘because people are more mature having been through the uni years’. I can’t argue that point because I don’t know whether I would have been more or less mature at 21/22 had I gone to uni. Similarly though, they can’t use it as an argument because they don’t know what they would have been like if they had not gone to uni. I would say this though, when people from university of my age came to work with me, there was very little difference except that I had a mortgage and they didn’t, and I knew about workplace expectations. That didn’t make either of us more mature than the other.

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 10:50 am

          Yes, I totally agree that the idea that university matures you is ludicrous! I think the idea that uni is some sort of life training camp has grown somewhat insidiously over the past twenty to thirty years as a means of encouraging school leavers to want to go, to obscure the fact that there are so few opportunities around. The apprentice and trade system should be expanded far more. That was the idea of technical colleges and polytechnics, but somehow they came to be looked down on. I think, like everything, it should be acknowledged tyat people learn in different ways and different forms of education suit different people.

          I’m afraid a lot of the time when I see people ‘university of life’ on profiles or facebook it’s driven by resentment and having a chip on one’s shoulder about posh kids or social inequality rather than a measured and rational analysis of the disparate opportunities provided by either. If you never have the chance to go into higher education, it’s very easy to sneer at those who do and pretend you can get everything you need at the ‘school of hard knocks’. And then there are those who see the value but didn’t get the chance and decide to take up one of the opportunities in later life, either to pursue an interest or learn new skills. For instance, my own motivation in taking on a degree in my late 50s isn’t because I couldn’t track down the information myself, it’s more to take it up in a more structured form, but also provide myself with the necessary legitimacy for writing non-fiction and articles in that area.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 2:32 pm

          I agree Colin re the need to have all colleges named as universities. I take your word for the reasons this might be, could boil down to money somewhere along the line too. No matter, the quality of the education and appropriate courses and curriculums are more important, provided there is some consideration as to what employers actually need pupils to be able to do when they join the workforce.

          Its sad that anyone should have a chip on their shoulder, and then we see what I would call inverted snobbery about it. I am not sure I would have survived university tbh, and in fact I would only have managed to get into a poly I expect. I am beginning to think this was more to do with my lack of expectation and confidence in myself, and therefore not meeting my absolute true potential. I limited myself, but I didn’t see that at the time, firmly believing that I wasn’t that bright having gone to a secondary modern school.

          I think its great that you have taken up further study in a subject you love, and then to be able to write about it or even talk about it (notwithstanding the fear of doing that of course!).

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 2:56 pm

          Yes, I have to say, I wouldn’t much have liked talking, but my present job has certainly taken me out of my comfort zone with regards that. In a way doing it all remotely has helped, a lot easier not to think how many people are on the call!

          At the end of the day, I think if I could change one thing it would be not so much that everyone can go to university, as everyone should not feel that avenues are closed to them. There are things I would have done, but growing up felt that it simply wasn’t an option for people from my class and background. And school’s career advisors were part of that system, you were either university material, or you were advised to get a job in a bank. Nobody was told ‘you can do anything you want, these are the paths you need to take, and the qualifications you should be aiming at’. It was just about channeling the vast majority into a route that was preselected for them from a young age. I don’t have much time for the public school system, but if it does one thing well that’s instilling an unshakeable self-confidence in people. Neither of my cousins are particularly bright, one dropped out of uni and the other didn’t go, but after going through public school they simply believed they were among the leaders of society, and both ended up with high powered positions in the financial world.

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      • Aqualady51 2nd April 2021 at 2:26 pm

        I’ve worked on a graduate IT program, we had a vast range of interns and trainees who weren’t pure computer science grads, not everyone wants to be a coder and IT isn’t just coding. To be honest most of that was off-shored to India with excellent Maths and computer science grads. We were looking for people who studied a range of topics and consequently showed aptitude and ability for our workplace. In my experience it’s more about the people than the degree they studied. The issue we now face is degree inflation, meaning grads now have to have a Masters to differentiate themselves from others.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 4:49 pm

          Everyone would be up in arms if they made the Alevels and degrees harder to achieve, but don’t you run the risk of people being over qualified for the jobs on offer?

          I worked in IT as a senior analyst for a good few years, and was good at it and promoted. I was an internal transfer having being ‘spotted’ as a user doing some user testing. The manager whom I worked with could see my abilities and suggested I apply for a position in the department, and was given it. That is when I worked along side graduates. I loved that work, but my husband losing his job took us to the Midlands. I did go back as a consultant for a while, but working away from home was tough, and I eventually ended up switching careers completely.

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 10:54 am

          Agree with this 100%, which is what I meant by saying once simply having a degree was enough, then when everyone had degrees jobs which took people with A levels began asking for degrees, and jobs which required degrees began asking for higher classes or postgrad qualifications. The last place I worked, which was a forensic accountancy, accepted any graduate on their recruitment programme. They just needed to see you had the aptitude for advanced study and attention to detail. Specialist training and accountancy was provided after that. One of the Partners had a Classics degree, another Geography.

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 11:16 am

          I work for an IT company, although I arrived in the industry by a rather circuitous route, but I’ve always felt something of a fraud since I didn’t even pass Maths CSE, let alone get a Computer Science degree. I did put myself through an MCSE, which was the hot thing at the time, but will be eternally grateful to the guy who gave me that first interview with his IT consultancy. That’s why I would always consider the person rather than the specific qualification. Sometimes you just have to take a chance and recognise who is the right person for the job.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 2:36 pm

          Absolutely! I was given a chance in IT – I certainly had no idea I was so capable – but it was right up my street, and I was glad of that opportunity too!

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 2:59 pm

          I really believe people should be given that chance to do whatever they want. Either they’ll succeed, or fail. When I was offered that first job they emailed the job description to me as they needed an answer right away. My brother took one look at it and advised me not to take it. ‘You can’t do that!’ Was his advice. I thought – what’s the worst that can happen? Sink or swim. The only thing holding you back sometimes is fear, not actual ability.

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    • Vixster 2nd April 2021 at 1:25 pm

      An interesting topic Gill, thanks for posting. Growing up working class in rural Suffolk I saw education as a way out and studied at 2 Polytechnics and a German uni all on a full grant. We were quite worried about uni debt for our son but all middle class people didn’t seem to care and we took Martin Lewis advice to ignore it.
      Our son studied at Leeds and Brisbane and now has a scholarship to do a 2 year Masters in Stellenbosch SA so is using education to broaden his knowledge of the world. So unis for life and learning but we are all different and if you actually lived near any decent jobs then clearly you have other options.

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 2:20 pm

        Thank for responding Vixster

        I guess it is about options – and living 40 miles out of London on a main commuter train route, my options to find a good job rather than feel I had to study more were much greater without having to leave home (although I did then marry at 21). That said, the rail fares were horrendous – and I think an annual season is now about £6K pa.

        What wonderful opportunities your son has had for travel too.

        Regarding student loans, from what I understand (and do say if I am wrong, because its only what I have been told over the years):
        It is interest free; they don’t have to start paying it off until your earnings reach a certain level;
        The monthly sum is deducted from salaries just like a season ticket loan so you notice it less;
        It is a very reasonable monthly amount;
        It doesn’t affect your credit rating or your ability to get a mortgage (?); AND
        It is written off after 30 (?) years in any event (so if leave country, or remain on low income, or stop working completely the debt is written off).

        So its the cheapest loan anyone will ever be able to secure, and the ‘terms’ are such (if I am right) that there isn’t anything to really worry about. That said, I don’t know that it is particularly helpful to start out your working life with debt, as I wonder if it makes people more blase about any further debt they accumulate throughout their lives because they are so used to owing money. From that point of view its not such a great idea.

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    • Vixster 2nd April 2021 at 5:57 pm

      Yes you are right about the student loan Gill but as others have said, it is hard to put yourself in debt when you have no assurances that you can pay it back and for many it is a major cause of anxiety. I think my son owes about £50k and that can increase through an interest rate which is much higher than the standard one (about 6% at the moment).
      It is something we have to ignore but I totally disagreed with it’s introduction.

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 6:19 pm

        Ouch .. if it were interest free (which they definitely were at one stage) that wouldn’t be so bad. 6% is not good. A mortgage is cheaper interest rate than that! Someone is taking advantage. Borrowing is just so easy. I can understand your concern.

        In the USA student loans have interest and you have to start repaying 6 months after leaving university regardless of whether or not you have a job. My niece moved to Holland so I have never asked her if that means she can’t be chased or the loan.

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      • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 11:21 am

        Hi Vixster – I agree. My daughter has been saddled with tens of thousands of debt, which I’m sure she’s paying back now since she’s reached a higher earning bracket. I came from a single parent working class background, and there’s no way I could have gone to university without the full grant I got. I think my father once sent me thirty quid. The problem with expanding university attendance from 3% of school leavers to 80% is there’s no way the Govt can afford grants (although I believe Scotland still operates a grant scheme?).

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 2:48 pm

          Those who experienced the student loan scheme for the first time are of course now a generation who are parents themselves. I wonder how they will feel about their children going into further education on the same financial basis?

          Maybe they could do something about those tuition fees though!!

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 3:14 pm

          And I wonder how much has actually been written off by the Govt because the graduates never reached the higher income bracket by the end of the period!

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 3:44 pm

          I wonder. Its 30 years though – so maybe the first loans haven’t reached that time yet… Ah, googled (see below) – the first loans to be written off were probably 2 years ago (if my 30 years is correct which it may not be). Quick google I can’t find anything about govt write off, but they would have had to be accountable.

          “The Student Loan Co was established in 1989 to provide loans and grants to students studying in the UK. From 1990 to 1998 these were mortgage-style loans, which were aimed at helping students with the cost of living and repaid directly to the SLC. From 1998, with the introduction of tuition fees in the UK, the SLC instead began providing loans under an income-contingent repayment (ICR) scheme. From 2006, loans covered the cost of tuition fees in addition to living costs. Repayments for these loans are collected by HMRC via the PAYE tax system. The ICR loan scheme was replaced with a new ICR scheme in 2012 to include a longer repayment period following an increase in tuition fees.”

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 11:56 pm

          Imagine having that hanging over you! I wonder how many who have passed through Uni in that time think the cost was worthwhile?

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    • Vixster 2nd April 2021 at 7:12 pm

      My son has been told that whilst he’s in SA he won’t have to pay it back so your niece is probably safe too. The USA don’t like paying for anything in the community it seems – such a different approach to us and Europe and one I really hope we don’t move closer to!

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 2nd April 2021 at 7:18 pm

        That is true – they rely heavily on community based charities, but if there isnt one that can support your particular situation you are out in the cold – at least that was my take with those I met through a dementia page I ran.. An eye opener for me because although I was supported by charities, there is some funding provided by the local and county councils to help support the initiatives offered

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 11:29 am

          I had a lot of dealings with my American colleagues in my previous job, and visited enough times to know that, whilst it was a wonderful country in many respects, that was principally the people, not the social structures or organisation. In our Denver office people got 16 days annual leave, against my 30, and if they were sick it came out of their leave time. Actually taking your leave was a bad idea, as it was a black mark against you (unofficially of course), and a friend of mine there subsequently told me (after he was made redundant) that he had never recovered in the eyes of senior bosses from taking three weeks to raft the Grand Canyon. There was a five year waiting list to undertake the trip, and he’d put down years before he joined the company, and had saved up his holiday time to do so.

          I remember having a long conversation with a Somali taxi driver on my way back to Denver airport after one trip, and him telling me he was going back home, that America was a terrible country to be ill in, or to need education or not have access to vital services. He said Somalia was ten times more advanced in its attitude to social care.

          Yet the warmth, generosity and sheer friendliness of everyone I met there was simply exceptional, and I’ll never forget the kindliness of complete strangers, which seems inbuilt into their culture.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 2:59 pm

          My sister who lives in the states says that on some insurance policies you still have to pay for every doctor’s appointment maybe $35-50) so there is also a reluctance to go when we might otherwise do so. Sadly of course the changes to the health system were knocked on the head, but my sister did say that if you to have given anyone a check list of the scheme that Obama was trying to implement, but not give it the name of Obamacare which was a Trumpism, most Americans would be saying yes, yes, yes. So when they were glad that Obamacare was thrown out, many never realised what exactly was being rejected. I don’t know if that is true, and she lives in MA which is a blue state, so she the people she knows would have been biased against Mr T anyway.

          I had heard that about holidays and taking more than two weeks was frowned upon.

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 3:20 pm

          I think you’re right, and the whole ‘chasing after health insurance’, only wanting to take jobs that could provide it, and a marked reluctance to go to hospital. Even with insurance, I’ve looked at the fees for things that I or my family have had done, even quite routine, or the significant cost that would have been spent on my mum in the last couple of years, and I just thank my lucky stars we have the NHS. I also agree that most people in the US simply weren’t aware what they were rejecting. They are obsessed with anything that smacks of ‘Communism’, which any suggestion of social care does. The other big difference is that they have long since bought into the lie that ‘poverty is a choice’, and therefore people who have no access to healthcare, or education, or decent jobs, are simply the lazy, idle or criminal, and why should ‘decent Americans’ pay their taxes to support them. It’s a lie that has served the very richest in society well, and does here to an extent.

          What I find particularly ironic is the degree to which they see themselves as a religious, God-fearing country, yet will do nothing to promote what should be actual Christian values.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 3rd April 2021 at 3:26 pm

          Oh I know!! Church is a big thing out there in many many areas. It is extraordinary. It must have been a huge decision in this country when the NHS was started, and if it were being introduced, I wonder whether our electorate would go with it either! I am glad we did when we did, but we do take it for granted.

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        • Colin in Kent 3rd April 2021 at 11:51 pm

          I’ve heard it said the US is a religious state that pretends to be secular, while the UK is a secular state that pretends to be religious, and there’s some truth in that. Presidents will quite happily talk about their personal relationship with God to win votes, our PMs don’t discuss their religious beliefs as it will lose them.

          We definitely take our NHS for granted, and I’m very much afraid we’re sleep walking towards its destruction.

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        • Anonymous User (no longer active) 4th April 2021 at 10:41 am

          Victims of our own success – both in terms of care and medical advancement/living longer etc

          Interesting re secular and religion and yes how to win votes and influence people.. a lot of truth in that – if not entirely truth (but then nothing is entirely truth if its based on gut feeling as another piece of information comes into the mix to bend that truth slightly).

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        • Colin in Kent 4th April 2021 at 11:54 am

          I’m not entirely pessimistic about the future, but I do think it’s largely in the hands of the next generation now. As you say an ageing population will demand quality healthcare more than ever, and it depresses me that family are meant to bear the brunt of that, since plenty of people have no family.

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    • Chris S 5th April 2021 at 11:23 pm

      I went to university, mainly because I left school in the middle of the 80’s recession and there were very few openings for school leavers at the time. I enjoyed my time there immensely, made several friends who I remain in contact with to this day, did a joint honours in Economics and spent most of the next 20 odd years working in financial services and subsequently for a financial charity, so I feel that my degree was put to good use. However I also learned some very valuable life lessons in my 20’s and 30’s, mainly as a result of having to deal with setbacks, such as redundancy, being gazumped, coping with difficult colleagues and dealing with a family bankruptcy, something which no amount of formal education can ever do. I feel that my generation was fortunate in that we had grants rather than loans, and also that we didn’t have to pay tuition fees, so most of started our working lives at worst only a few hundred pounds in debt, rather that the thousands which most graduates are now faced with, much of which I fear will never be repaid. One thing which really does worry me about young people nowadays is that so many of them seem to suffer from mental health issues – when I was a teenager I hardly had a care in the world! Could this partly be due to worry about student debt I wonder.

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      • Anonymous User (no longer active) 6th April 2021 at 2:39 pm

        Hi Chris. Great response. Your qualifications stood you in good stead for a career that suite your strengths by the sound of it, although some troubled waters abs rocky patches experienced through life. Better to study than no job. Maybe that’s why further education happened to get the unemployment stats down (now I am being really cynical).

        I think there will be a number of factors that lead to mental health issues. Parental pressure. Peer pressure. Pressure to look a certain way. Unrealistic idols. Wanting to fit in and thinking everyone else is so much better/more beautiful/clever than ‘me’. Wanting to be successful and ‘make it’ before they have really hardly got out of the starting blocks (and I am still talking about at 16). Not wanting old things. Wanting labelled goods. Consumer driven. And yes – probably the unhealthiest thing of all – starting out your working life in debt – how do you ever become solvent! I don’t mean it to sound depressing – but it is a huge amount of pressure when all
        We all need to be is confident in our own individuality and uniqueness.

        Reply
    • Fluff 5th April 2021 at 11:33 pm

      Little from ‘A’ but more from ‘B’. 🙂

      Reply
    • Fluff 6th April 2021 at 4:15 pm

      Life skills are far more important in the society that we live in today,i.m.h.o, Gill. 🙂

      Reply
    • Fluff 6th April 2021 at 10:25 pm

      I’m not so sure, these days. My neighbour has a Bio/Science phd & he has not worked for 5 years. He only recently got started in a new job, due to covid & them he is only earning 20k a year !

      Reply
      • Chris S 8th April 2021 at 9:58 pm

        Perhaps he has struggled to find work because prospective employers would regard him as over-qualified for the type of role he has been applying for. Also, from experience a lot of employers nowadays regard being a good team player as crucial to being offered a position, and having not worked for five years, and presumably spending several years before that studying for a PhD, teamwork is not likely to be one of his attributes! However I am very pleased that he has found work at last and I wish him well in his new job.

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    • Poisson Bracket 11th April 2021 at 11:54 am

      If you are interested in an academic subject then studying it with experts at university is the way to go; just be sure it’s what you want to do. As for thinking that you need a degree to get a “good” job, proceed with caution. BA(Hons) in Something or Other Studies will hang around your neck like an albatross as will the tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt incurred in gaining it. It seems to me that the only purpose of some degree courses is to rinse maximum fees out of the students. Granted some careers are not possible without a degree but many have alternative pathways.
      The disgraceful behaviour of some parts of the qualifications industry, education no longer seems the appropriate name, with regards to accommodation charges etc backs up the impression that they are in it solely for the money.

      Reply
    • AKramer1983 12th April 2022 at 7:51 pm

      It seems to me that these two elements are interrelated. When you go to university, you get the theoretical knowledge you need to know. But life shows you the other side. Usually, theoretical materials are close to the ideal, but in life, everything is different. Ever since high school, I have dreamed of becoming a soccer player. So, after graduating from high school, I chose the soccer university here, https://footballcolleges.com/ , and began to study. We often study game strategies, but sometimes, we come up with new tactics when analyzing our old games.

      Reply
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