In Year 11 somebody told me that the content I was studying in high school was irrelevant; what’s important is the ability to pass the exercise. You need to show you’re capable of passing.

The content of your studies in high school, either by time, method, or innovation, has been made useless outside of the classroom for the sake of educational practicality.

At this point every student deserves to ask a question. If the content is irrelevant, then why is it important to pass the exercise? Why would I want to learn knowledge to regurgitate it? In my experience, the ‘why’ sentiment is a common feeling students have towards their studies. How you’re dealing with, or have dealt with it, shapes your attitude. It deserves to be answered.

However you dealt with that question; through answer, evasion, disillusion… it has a lot to do with the condition you find yourself in at University. If you weren’t aware of it then, I’m sure you will encounter it. The act of asking yourself why is going to occur relentlessly throughout your life.

For instance, my degree.

I was advised before I went to university to learn what the central questions of my discipline were and to apply them to life. Obviously, if you’re a forensic accountant it’s not good to approach personal relationships with a such a critical eye. Your personal relationship may be improved though if you can accurately explain to someone what you do, how it’s different from other accounting specialties, and why it’s needed.

All of these things will be made clearer through knowledge of your disciplines questions. Knowing and understanding the central questions that govern your discipline will give you simplicity. Answering someone simply is what’s best for all parties involved. An employer may ask what service you provide to them, you need to say what you do, what that is and why it’s needed.

This is an example of a question that you’ll have to face. You are more likely to walk away from these interactions feeling validated if you’ve related your skills simply. Save the complex answer for more complicated questions. The reason you do things are best when they’re simple.

I think this sentiment can also be applied to your life. As I become an adult, I begin to see which ways I want to live. Without being too systematic, I think that if you’re aware of the questions you commonly ask of yourself and the people around you, your life may become less of a mystery. Again, being able to explain why you feel a certain way in simple terms can alleviate immense pressure.

I relate all this back to what I said at the beginning. The content of what you study at school wasn’t the most important part. University is different. The exercise isn’t to regurgitate knowledge. At university I’m taught to apply.

If you immerse yourself into a university, you not only absorb the content (hopefully relevant), you challenge the thoughts you already had. You get better at expressing your ideas to people and listening if your ideas aren’t required. You get better at reading situations and reading what your normal responses are to them.

A University, if it’s used for its intended purpose, is a training ground for humans still learning to apply.

By Oscar Dobbs

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