age career and education

This is a month old, but looking at Marketing Magazine’s ‘Top 30 under thirty‘ I can’t help but feel a weight tugging at my brain, leaving me slightly despondent. I shouldn’t though because it’s for the Canadian Marketing industry, and it’s something I have very little interest in. I suppose the most obvious thing about it is what gets under my skin. I’m 29 years old today.

Granted, this isn’t the first batch of game changing youngsters out there. I’m sure you can look anywhere on the internet and find an equivalent. The point is, that these are stories about young adults that are doing something significant at their age. They exist, they are fascinating and that is perfectly fine.

I suppose it’s the nature of these lists that makes it feel as though there should be more expected of me. Sometimes people 6 to 7 years younger, have had such a through-way for what they want their entire life that they get there, before thinking about anything else. But I’m reminded that even though there’s all these young upstarts, there’s just as many people 10 to 20 years older, that have finally found their niche.

I seem to sit in some sort of weird middle-ground (or purgatory) where I know what I want out of a career, but the problem is if ‘I have the patience to get there.’ Who’s to say how long that’s going to take? Human beings are capable of anything. There are those that zero-in on the one thing they want to master, then there are those that want to be capable of much much more. When you’re a Jack-of-all-trades though, you have the unfortunate reality that you’re a master of nothing. Most people develop that kind of nature when they’re conflicted with what they want to do, and being told what they’re supposed to do. Wether it’s parents expecting their child to take over the family business, or a group of friends all going down the same career path. They’ll want to please everyone before they realize that they’d rather please themselves.

Then those people end up developing at a much slower pace. With the success of everything else around them, and society idolization of an accomplished youth, the conflict becomes greater for the unsure, and there will soon be other things to worry about.

But I’m starting to believe that at an earlier part of the education process, the child should be allowed the freedom to learn the tools for what they want to do. After I graduated from Hapnot Collegiate, I moved to Edmonton to figure my life out. It was there, where I heard about Victoria, a K to 12 school of the arts.

An entire school dedicated to developing your creativity just as much as your knowledge, was something that a person of my skill set could have benefited from. Hell, Creighton Elementary had enough musical instruments for a Band class, but stuck to choir. By the time I reached Hapnot, I realized how many of my other friends knew a musical instrument because of their curriculum in the other schools.

Today I caught wind of this article on Salon.com written by Peter Grey, who is a Research Professor of Psychology, at Boston College. In this article, Peter presents the origin and ideals of school and why it no longer works in today’s society.

School is a place where children are compelled to be, and where their freedom is greatly restricted — far more restricted than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades, we have been compelling our children to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there is strong evidence (summarized in my recent book) that this is causing serious psychological damage to many of them.

The article highlights the studies conducted with various students over the years, from A grade to failing grade. Research and experiments to study the behavioural pattern from the inside and outside of their institutions. It simply points out that the old ways of education aren’t evolving in a way that they should. Suggesting as if it’s a blueprint; a product of history that will never change. It stays under-developed while each new generation of children evolve the ways they learn. You can applaud President Obama for putting emphasis on the needs for more education, yet there should instead be more of a push to the ways children could be educated.

But what does that say for me now? Obviously, It’s too late for me to ask for the education that I could have wanted instead. There’s nothing inherently wrong with everything I’ve learned, it up to me to figure out what I want to do from there. Any education I’ve missed, I’ve made up for in gaining the experiences on my own terms. The only problem, is that the flaw of the education system is just as bad when you get older, You learn much more arbitrary things in Universities and Colleges to earn the right to say to a business that you know how to do something. It’s a double edged sword, because you need just as much experience outside of school, applying the things that you’ve learned, before the businesses that hold your career are willing to accept you.

It’s a set-back for most people, and I’m inherently one of them. At least I should feel happy to know that I did everything in reverse. I have all the experience I need to prove what I can do, I just need the paper that makes it official. So let the Marketing industry revel in their youth! I’m happy with doing things at my own pace, because I’ve accomplished much more outside of a ‘career’, and that’s only for me to care about.

After all, age is just a number and should never be a reference point for what you can accomplish.

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