As a university student who has recently undertaken work experience at BRS and fast approaching the end of my degree, I speak to a lot of recent graduates who lament the uselessness of so many of their courses:
“I don’t use any of that stuff anymore!”
“Why couldn’t they have taught us what we actually need to know!?”
“None of what we learned is actually useful in the real world!”
We spend a lot of our time approaching the concept of learning as a means to an end: we recognise that we don’t know something, so we commit to learning about it until we have the understanding required to move on. But that is usually where we stop. This is because the education system teaches us that learning is about passing tests, not a way of approaching life. Go to primary school and learn your times tables. Go to high school and learn how to write an essay. Cram as much knowledge into your brain to pass your exams. Get into the real world and… What now?
Frustration results as we struggle to adapt to a post-education lifestyle because there is so much we cannot know upfront, but there is also no one around to spoon-feed us.
The one thing that differentiates universities from primary and high schools is that knowledge is their business. Universities are driven by seeking out new ideas and a deeper understanding of the world, and imparting that to the next generation. And, just like a business, they commit to continual improvement and review.
What we forget is that this approach to learning is not solely applicable to academics, but something we must all embrace if we are to grow and progress through our lives. Lifelong learning allows us to be flexible and more responsive to changes in our environment. The quicker on our feet we are, the more creative and innovative we can be, solving today’s problems for a better tomorrow.