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February 26, 2018 | by  | in Editorial Opinion |
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Editor’s Letter

You should drop out of uni.

No really though, should you? I’m asking you now, while it’s still early days and you haven’t sunk too much time into tri one.

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to stick around. Free healthcare. A socially legitimate occupation. License to get drunk on weeknights. Participation in a noble institution that acts as the Critic and Conscience to society. And it’s true, you get an nice education that sets you up for a nice job and a nice middle class lifestyle – that’s actually a pretty big boon to be honest. We’re privileged to be here. I know that in the age of the precariat even a university degree doesn’t insure against unemployment. However, according to the Ministry of Education, median hourly earnings in 2016 were 55 percent higher for people with a bachelors or higher qualification than for those without a qualification so a degree’s still worth quite a bit.

Uni’s also s’posed to teach you how to think critically. Which means, if it’s done its job right, you’ll be thinking critically about lots of things, including what the fuck you’re doing here.

I mean, I know so many people (myself included), who went to uni because they’ve finished high school – having been told what to do pretty much their whole lives – and faced with the first life decision they’re confronted with, decide on uni because society tells us that it’s valuable and good. We go to universities to learn stuff because learning’s supposedly good for us. But uni teaches, and teaches us to value, a very specific kind of intelligence – the academic, thinking, writing, memorizing kind. Other kinds of intelligence – emotional, social, etc., are just as necessary to succeed in life & work. And having your intelligence, therefore worth, constantly determined by an external arbitration system and influenced by factors outside your control, isn’t particularly good for your health either. Not all the jobs out there are writing and thinking type jobs. NZ needs more tradies. I’d also love to see more women in the trades. So if you’re a woman maybe you could take up bricklaying to humour me.

Or you can stay in uni if you like.  Fees free is a pretty convincing argument to hang around, party, procrastinate, and incidentally learn some social theory. A well-educated populace means a more informed democracy after all. Just remember that once your three years are up, Real Life Decisions are patiently waiting. And it’s your agonizing privilege, living where and when you do, that you can simultaneously decide on a dream career, (“reach for the stars!”) but at the same time struggle to scrounge up a hospo job to make rent.

I don’t just mean “drop out” in the read-too-much-Beat-literature, fuck-the-system, time-to-hitchhike-across-the-country kind of way. Though hitchhiking across the country’s kind of fun. But I mean it more in the “dropping out is an option that’s available to you” kind of way because having a sense of agency is important for wellbeing, and it’s good to make life decisions with intention and spend your time doing things you care about because you’ll feel vapid and unfulfilled if you don’t.

Or maybe I’m just an indecisive little shit trying to convince you to doubt your choices and be more like me. Who knows.

Stay critical, kids.

Xoxo your editor

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