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Do you think that doing a degree, should be for the aim of working in that related area? Or could just be for the fun an enjoyment of it ?

(56 Posts)
Lardlizard Wed 06-Mar-19 15:02:34

Say like dancing or wildlife conservation or something arty

TwoRoundabouts Thu 07-Mar-19 19:20:26

The main issue I see now is pupils particularly poorer ones are encouraged by schools to just do a degree without thinking what type of job they can get from doing the subject. They are frequently encouraged to do subjects where you need to have parents who can support you afterwards if you want to have a career in the area.

Myself and a few of my peers were actually told by a teacher in each of our schools not to do certain degrees due to the limited career options arising from the subjects. I think in mine and one of my friends' cases the teacher who did this found we were good in more than one area and pushed us towards the better paid area. (We went to different schools in different areas of England.)

So while I think people can do any degree, people need to be aware of how they may be limiting the careers they can go into by doing a particular subject.

bookmum08 Thu 07-Mar-19 18:54:32

Alles I do value education. There are so many things I would love to learn and experience because I 'enjoy' the subject but the cost is just too much.
If you have a spare £30 000 to go to uni without having a specific goal then fine (that's what I meant by 'idle rich' - maybe I was a bit extreme there) but if you don't have the money then a debt that big hanging over your head is terrifying. While we have people paying so much for 3 years of being at uni to end up at the bottom of a low paid job as they weren't aiming for a specific goal it just seems daft. So many people are relying on loans - the governments money - and most will end up not being paid off. I would rather the government uses that money for housing, proper apprentiships and training schemes and money available for those who go to uni for something that will lead to an actual job (ie Doctor). Of course we need people to learn history and culture and politics etc so we have a society that has this knowledge. This is important. But as a country we simply cannot afford to 'loan' someone such a massive amount so they can study a random subject that they think 'that might be fun' because they feel they have to go to uni because still have no clue what they want to be /do in life.

AllesAusLiebe Thu 07-Mar-19 13:17:23

bookmum08 to me, your username suggested that you may be well read therefore I found it difficult to reckon with your argument that university was the domain of the ‘idle rich’. Your username suggests that you value reading and therefore education.

I work in academia and hate the fee system with an absolute passion, but what I hate more is the notion that as an institution, we have a responsibility to churn out automatons ripe for the workplace because that’s the only value in having a degree.

NicoAndTheNiners Thu 07-Mar-19 12:13:58

Well I must admit I breathed a sigh of relief when dd said she wanted to study architecture. Hopefully it will lead to a career/job. More so than a geography/history/English degree.

Though yes I totally get that those sort of degrees can open doors to jobs/careers even if they don't utilise the actual degree. I totally agree that education is worth it for the skills it teaches people, critical thinking, communication, research, etc.

When I retire I'm planning on going back to uni to do a history degree for my own enjoyment safe in the knowledge I will never have to pay the tuition fees back!

yearinyearout Thu 07-Mar-19 12:00:55

I think it's dependent on your situation. Whilst I agree that it's more a tax on education than a debt, with the costs involved these days I probably wouldn't have encouraged my DC to do a degree just for fun. Even with the loans it has ended up costing us a lot of money to top them up with rent etc, which is fine as they've both worked hard and their degree will benefit their careers. If they'd wanted to go to uni simply to arse about drinking I wouldn't have been so happy to fund it. If you have the money to fund it yourself that's a different story, crack on.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Thu 07-Mar-19 11:55:37

Apologies, @Lardlizard - I read things into your post that weren't there.

"I personally think it’s a shame kids are steered towards what pays the most."

I agree with this. When our three dses were looking at university, we encouraged them to choose subjects they felt they had passion for - one went for Law, another for Applied Maths, and the third started doing a degree in Geography, but has switched to Urban Development. Two of the three have graduated and are working now - the lawyer is working as a quantity surveyor, so his degree is helping him with the contract side of his job - but it definitely isn't a logical career progression from a law degree. The second is teaching maths, so that is a direct route from his degree, and the third hasn't graduated yet, but his appears, on the surface, to be the most vocational degree of the three of them.

And then there's my sister, who read Music, and became an accountant. Her degree hasn't really had any influence over her career, but music is her passion outside work, and brings her immense joy.

MereDintofPandiculation Thu 07-Mar-19 10:55:07

University is the first place we see the genders separating with the boys doing the courses that point towards a lucrative career while the girls tend to go for the softer/less lucrative options. Not quite the first place. We already see it in GCSE choices, certainly in A level choices.

If ever student fees are removed in the future then they should only be allowed to take degrees in career-securing subjects. So concentrate your education budget on those who are going to be earning well in the future?

PinkSmitterton Thu 07-Mar-19 10:45:42

Also worth mentioning that the largest employer of graduated in the country is public services (obviously they are a huge employer generally and this includes specific medical staff, as well as teachers/social workers/civil servants etc) so society benefits from graduate educated workers.

I think it is important to be honest about what a degree can provide- whether that's enjoyment, development and often increased employability.

I work in a university and I sometimes talk to students who think a degree is enough to get them a good job (it often isn't on its own) or that doing a master's will open up a whole raft of "better" options (again, usually not)
And that's fine, I did my MA for enjoyment and learnt a lot. I think it did help me get my current job because I talked about it at interview- but plenty of people at my level have Bachelors only.

I do think many young people would benefit from more information whereas in the current system many people assume that university is the next step without really thinking about why (I did!)

Londonmummy66 Thu 07-Mar-19 10:42:39

This why people need to learn Latin! Without Latin, it's impossible to access medieval source material and carry out medieval research.

Actually someone who is good at Latin will have quite a few transferable skills. Facility with its grammatical structure will mean that they are good at reading legislation - a lucrative career in the law might therefore await them. Also, they are likely to be very good at computer coding - when he was working my DF was so impressed with a couple of classics graduates that he had a rule he would always interview someone with Latin A level for a coding job. They'll also have the ability to research a subject and write an essay to a deadline - a useful skill in many fields, a grounding in the principles of philosophy - helping them to think around a problem - again a useful skill for life.

I doubt many people go to university to read classics with that in mind - what they want is the mentally enriching experience of studying a civilisation that still underpins much of our daily life. (BTW I did not read Classics myself.)

AnnaComnena Thu 07-Mar-19 10:21:09

Oh, come now - if that's all they do, who on earth will preserve our knowledge of medieval history?! The more philistine this country becomes, the more important it is that people are encouraged to acquire the skills that may prevent us from losing all claim to being civilised ...

This why people need to learn Latin! Without Latin, it's impossible to access medieval source material and carry out medieval research.

But we are approaching a time, if we're not already there, when so few children are learning Latin at school that there will not be a big enough pool to supply the Latin teachers and medieval specialists of the future.

Some years ago, a record office I knew wanted to recruit an archivist who could read Latin to look after its medieval records. They couldn't find one.

Alsohuman Thu 07-Mar-19 10:01:30

Surely a degree is an indication of a trained mind, ability to research and use initiative, regardless of subject. To say a humanities degree is pointless when so many of us have them and have built successful careers on them shows a complete disregard of facts.

GeorgeTheBleeder Thu 07-Mar-19 09:50:31

*Is medieval history a career-securing degree? Doesn't seem like it on the face of it, but may well lead to a good and useful
job in civil service because of transferable skills.*

Oh, come now - if that's all they do, who on earth will preserve our knowledge of medieval history?! The more philistine this country becomes, the more important it is that people are encouraged to acquire the skills that may prevent us from losing all claim to being civilised ...

Absurditi Thu 07-Mar-19 09:36:58

I'm doing the OU Psychology Bsc. I do not have the mental energy at the moment to do a full-time course. Honestly, I have always just been interested in psychology, and at one point I did want to go down the MSc/Stage 2, or the Doctorate route to becoming Chartered, but I really do not see that happening TBF! So you could say it's useless in that sense, if you like.

I suppose I hope that I will gain a lot of transferable skills. I've now got it into my head that if I receive a good undergrad degree, I can progress into a MSc/PGDip in Occupational Therapy or Speech/Language, possibly Social Work or Nursing. Sure, I do not need psychology go do these, but I think it's a good background to build on. Also, I know I could just go ahead and do a Bsc in any of those courses now go be qualified, but as I'm struggling with mental health right now, I cannot commit.

GregoryPeckingDuck Thu 07-Mar-19 09:32:22

So long as you pay for it you can do what you want. But taking out a government loan that you don’t pay back Fira hobby degree is wrong.

corythatwas Thu 07-Mar-19 09:26:17

If ever student fees are removed in the future then they should only be allowed to take degrees in career-securing subjects.

And do you feel qualified to decide what is a career-securing subject? Is German a career-securing subject? No? But can we afford to have a nation that doesn't train a single person with a high level of skill and understanding of German? Probably not.

Are biology and biochemistry career-securing subjects? Evidently not, knowing how many graduates struggle to find work in the field. But we're not going to get any advances in medical research if we don't train any biochemists. My SIL who is a biochemist didn't walk straight into a job after her degree. But she is now doing cell research that may have a knock-on effect on the development of future cancer treatment.

Is medieval history a career-securing degree? Doesn't seem like it on the face of it, but may well lead to a good and useful
job in civil service because of transferable skills.

The entertainment industry is a huge earner for the UK< both directly and indirectly through encouraging tourism. But it is not structured in terms of permanent stable careers. So should we not train any actors (arguably the best in the world) and just agree to ditch an industry that is valuable to the country?

ushuaiamonamour Thu 07-Mar-19 09:06:17

I fell pretty strongly about this as uni seems too often to be used as a glorified vocational school. The courses I took were all, except for the core of required ones, subjects I wanted to know more about, pure and simple. And as time goes on I'm more and more grateful that the year I entered, the university began offering a liberal arts degree, i.e. with no requirement to concentrate studies in one area. I got to take courses in mythology and 20th-century art and Chinese philosophy and Eastern European lit and so on and on. It was tremendously exciting, and I felt rather sorry for people who confined themselves to one field.My first job after graduating was waiting tables. And that was fine with me. So I'm probably unreasonable to look a bit askance at people who go to uni for anything except the sake of learning.

JessieCW Thu 07-Mar-19 08:55:16

I've had this discussion with various parents and friends of mine, I think that a degree should be in something that you will enjoy studying, at a place you want to study so long as you take on extra curricular opportunities and do at least have an idea of where you would like some sort of career to take you. halo

I actually encouraged my DD1 to enter this competition called The F Factor! I saw it on Facebook and twitter with a few celebs tweeting about it. If anything it looks good on her CV and gives her real life experience and something to talk about.

They’re offering kids aged 14-25 a £10k prize to turn a business idea they might have into a proper business. I have linked the Facebook post here for you. www.facebook.com/f.factor/videos/1987605298211578

Hope it helps somebody - I imagine this could really compliment someones studies and looks great on job applications! star

Foxyloxy1plus1 Thu 07-Mar-19 08:51:57

Whilst agreeing that education, learning and knowledge can be and are anend in themselves, there are degrees that mustbecareer specific, like medicine, veterinary science and lots of others too, no doubt.

But it ishould be about enjoyment, love of learning, life experience too.

GeorgeTheBleeder Thu 07-Mar-19 08:40:23

If ever student fees are removed in the future then they should only be allowed to take degrees in career-securing subjects.

Now, there's a dystopian future to look forward to!

JRMisOdious Thu 07-Mar-19 08:37:22

Depends who’s paying for it really. If you can afford to pay for it, do what makes you happy. Don’t think taking out student loans with a fairly good idea that you may not be able to pay them back to study something that is purely for personal enjoyment and probably won’t lead to anything that will directly contribute to wider society is responsible or fair in the country’s current economic climate. There are much more important calls on what in those circumstances is effectively public funding.
That said, of course something that starts out as enjoyment or purely self improvement for its own sake could end up as a career, you never know. Bit of a pesky grey area.

CoolJule43 Thu 07-Mar-19 08:37:00

As long as students pay for their degrees I think they should do whatever they want as long as they don't complain that they can't find work afterwards.

If ever student fees are removed in the future then they should only be allowed to take degrees in career-securing subjects.

The rest of society can't be expected to pay for degrees in, say, David Beckham or Media Studies if there aren't sufficient roles available for people with these qualifications.

However, there are lots of jobs/professions where without a relevant degree you will have no chance of securing that career.
e.g. Medicine, Vet, Solicitor

If it was me I would definitely study for a degree in a work-related field but then I'm sensible grin

corythatwas Thu 07-Mar-19 08:30:22

I also think we should be cautious in teaching young people that STEM is an instant entry ticket to a well-paid job. Plenty of people with degrees in STEM do low-paid jobs or struggle to find a job.

In fact, I'd say STEM and history are quite similar in that they provide a grounding, but the young person themselves have to be very proactive in finding the kind of job where this skill might be useful and selling themselves to the employer.

One thing I would say, though, is: don't push your young people into something they are not keen on because you have got it into your head that it is the path to a well-paid job. As a lecturer I spend a lot of time mopping up after such well-meaning but misguided decisions: this is where you get the plagiarism, the breakdowns, the mysterious absences from seminar, the essays cobbled together the day before the deadline. Remember, it's not enough to get in at a prestigious university, they have to get out with decent grades at the other end.

CardsforKittens Thu 07-Mar-19 08:29:34

I did a degree in a subject I found interesting but didn’t expect to pursue as a career. As it turned out, there were jobs I hadn’t considered at 18 but discovered I had an aptitude for during my degree. So I did end up using my degree. I studied my subject for ‘fun’ but it turned out to be a lot more than that.

Wanda1988 Thu 07-Mar-19 08:22:57

Unfortunately this attitude of “don’t worry about money, do something you love” is pushed on girls more than boys. University is the first place we see the genders separating with the boys doing the courses that point towards a lucrative career while the girls tend to go for the softer/less lucrative options.
I will be teaching my daughters to enjoy financial independence and to take realistic steps to have a successful career-years spent studying something for the fun of it would put them behind those who take a more pragmatic approach

Slowknitter Thu 07-Mar-19 08:20:47

Education is a good thing. If you have the time and funds to go and study something because you enjoy it, what could possibly be wrong with that? However, going into debt in order to study something which has little or no chance of leading to a career would be pretty foolhardy unless you have other job prospects, qualifications or means of future support.

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