Re: Kids today...
As a recently graduated "Kid of today" I'd like to add my tuppence to this (As I was taught I had the right to an opinion... haha). Throughout school, we were told what we should do, at every turn. The first choice I made about my future was which GCSE options I chose - and even then, the majority were automatically chosen for me. Then came A-Levels, and we were told to go with our highest GCSE grades, and which subjects we enjoyed.
Throughout A-Levels, we were consistently told that we were destined for university. If you didn't want to go to university, then you were met with a "Why not?" and given no further help in deciphering your options. I appreciate the need for having to work it out yourself, but seeing as you are not given that freedom AT ALL at school, then it's hardly surpising when people are at a loss of what to do - so they follow the flow, which leads to university.
Then you have the unenviable task of choosing your "future," which bearing in mind you probably have no life experience up to this point other than school, is rather a difficult situation to be put into. Throughout school, you're told to follow what you're told. If you ask too many questions, the answer you recieve is "it's not in the national curriculum. You don't need to know." Teachers themselves are usually straight out of university, and have no life experience either - something I have only just come to realise. Those who do have experience are a rare thing - and I am where I am today because of them, and grateful beyond words toward them.
Is it any suprise then, that we get huge amounts of students whose only task in life thus far has been to get into university, then 3-4 years later realising that the course they did is actually of very little use in the real world? We were told and promised that this was the way to get a good job. "work hard, go to university, and get a degree," "Graduates earn more over their lifetimes than non-graduates, government research shows." I'm sorry, but as a child who has been given no responsiblity, and even had responsibilities actively taken away by the H&S brigade over the last decade, what the hell were we supposed to do other than go with the flow? The education system is the one that is wrong, together with the current values of society that children are to be protected from making their own mistakes.
I was lucky. My "flow" led to engineering, and I did land a graduate job, having got off my behind during the first weeks of university (while my compatriates were getting inebriated) to get sponsorship from a company for my impending 4 year degree. I landed on my feet. My school friends weren't nearly so lucky, and a lot are languishing in the catch 22 of being overqualified with no experience - and in a slow jobs market, who is going to take on the risk of a recent graduate who might not be able to get out of bed in the morning and might be useless? They're working in sales, most of them, preferring that to the dole, which is their other option. Quelle suprise?
But whilst I accept that managing your own destiny is an individual responsibility, I question why we were never told this during our education, impressionable as we were, and I cannot accept that we are to bear the full blame for this. It's not like we had a vote in how we were educated, was it? Your good selves, on the other hand...
Regardless of blame, it is a problem which doesn't seem to be being solved, and that, for me, is the worrying part.