If anyone asked me if I regret going to University I would answer “Yes”. I am all for education and kids have to stay in school and finish their education. But I wished I was encouraged to spend more time to figure out what my interest were and if attending University was the best option?
Is it enough to just go to University, get a degree and then set off to find a job? What did I know as an 18 year old? Nothing. I was blessed enough to have come from a wonderful family who provided me with everything and all they wanted was that I finish my education, take a law degree, graduate and work for a law firm.
Well, I got my degree but it was in Mass Communication and I ended up working for a company that sells stationery. As I sit here typing this post I am wondering why did I not spend enough time on my own just thinking, truly thinking what it is that I wanted to do? When I was 18 I struggled with wanting to gain my parents approval and trust by not letting them down and just go down the path they wanted me to take. But at the same time it does make me wonder what I would have done if I had the chance to do it all over again without having to worry about disappointing my parents.
First thing first, before deciding I would have volunteered more often. This would have given me the opportunity to try new things and gain experience in sectors that I wouldn’t have had the chance to do so if I didn’t volunteer.
Before I started on my studies for higher education I should have traveled. It doesn’t need to be an ‘around the world’ trip. Just travelling the interiors of Sabah and parts of West Malaysia would have been great. Taking the opportunity to get to know my own country in a way that was not portrayed in our history books, local television adverts and hearsay of other people. It would have been great to mix volunteer work with travelling. I always tell my family, why volunteer overseas when our own people needs as much help, our children need education, families need homes. Save that child in Africa but don’t forget our children in Malaysia too.
Skills Vs Theory
Back then I had no idea that you could attend school to be a hair stylist, landscaper, interior designer, etc. Granted I came from an Asian family who do not see this as proper careers…
If I knew there were options besides university to go and learn stuff and not solely from books I would have been pretty keen on that. My plumber and electrician earn heaps of money (I get charged exorbitant amounts of $$$ for their services) so an option to enter trade would have been interesting.
Checking out other options besides University is a must, you do save on fees if you pick the right course that suits your needs but most importantly, you save on time. Nothing can bring back time so it’s best to invest your time wisely. Pick an area of study that interest you even if it’s not a ‘degree’ go and find out if you want to be an accountant, a nurse, a landscaper, a carer, the possibilities are endless and I promise you if you take the time to think and plan, you will gravitate towards a course that will suit you.
With the transition from high school to university in progress I had a lot of free time. If I could do it again I would have spent my time networking and meeting new people. Volunteering would have enabled me to do this and get to know people from all walks of life. Having said that for me to meet new people I would have to be sociable and get out of my comfort zone but like most 18 years old, I knew everything and if I didn’t then I would hide the fact and move on to stuff that I had some knowledge of. In Malaysia (and I think everywhere else in the world) society is quick to judge and laugh at those who make a fool of themselves, which is sad because only from our mistakes can we learn and so-called ‘stupid’ questions need to be asked to gain knowledge.
To network one has to have some social skills to ensure success which leads me to my last ‘should have’. When I was 16 years old, I and the members of my debate team were invited to attend a session at our local Toastmasters club and at that time I was just looking at awe at all these adults making speeches and speaking beautifully and not so beautifully. It was an eye opener for me and I had no idea what was going on. But it was great to see all these people standing up in front of a crowd, some visibly nervous and other calm collected deliver a speech on a topic that they chose. I didn’t know then but I should have taken that opportunity to join the Toastmasters club and hone my speaking skills.
Only later did I realise how important it is to speak up and be heard. I was taught to be humble and meek, as a woman my place was to be silent and exude femininity. Instead of just saying hello to my friends’ parents and then politely rushing to her room. I should have sat in the living room with them and make small talk.
I use to moan and groan about the futility of small talk. How it was a waste of time and idle chit chat was the bane of my existence. I should have realised that idle chit chat and showing genuine interest was a lesson in humility and kindness. A lesson to listen, really listen and participate. If I perfected that skill I would have networked so much more effectively too.
I was young and foolish and if I could I would do these 5 things before I ventured off to university. I reckon I would have appreciated my studies more if I did.
***Just a quick recap, I joined a blog challenge called A to Z challenge where we write a post a day based on the alphabet.
My other posts for the challenge;