University and the HSC are not all they are made out to be. Claire Ince busts the myths that everyone seems to believe during High School.
Amongst university students, it is widely understood that the Higher School Certificate takes the cake for the Department of Education’s worst creation. As the exams begin each year, we all shed a tear on behalf of the next generation of first years as they jump through flaming hoops in the hope that they’ll get to where we are now.
When I look back, I can think of a multitude of reasons why the HSC was horrific, but by far the worst was the way in which the school system groomed us all into believing that uni was the only ‘acceptable’ pathway for us to take post-high school.
Now, of course, having access to such a high level of education is nothing to complain about; but the problem is there are so many myths out there. Let’s squash them.
1. “Getting a degree is the only way you’ll make good money”
If the only reason you want to get a degree is so you can make your dream of making it rain from a helicopter over your private island a reality, you may want to hold your horses.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2017 ‘Characteristics of Employment’ report, the median weekly earnings for each qualification level are as follows:
No non-school qualification: $423-$1155
Certificate III/IV: $1035
Bachelor Degree: $1280
Postgraduate Degree: $1500
On top of this, “when comparing median hourly earnings, employees with any kind of non-school qualification earned an extra $8 per hour than those without a non-school qualification”.
That’s right fam. An extra $8 per hour. And you’ve got a gnarly HECS debt.
2. “Your ATAR is very important”
Once you get in, your ATAR literally means nothing.
Nobody has ever asked for mine, nor do students sit around comparing their HSC results.
3. “This homework is nothing compared to what you’ll get at university”
‘Homework’ does not exist after high school. You just have to read a lot and do your assignments.
4. “The expectations are higher at university”
University is nowhere near as serious as you expect it to be.
Your lecturers/tutors expect you to put in a lot of work academically, but they don’t expect you to move mountains.
5. “University is very formal”
Every university is different.
UON is formal, but friendly banter also exists. Not to mention, you can go to the toilet whenever you want.
6. “You’ll spend every minute doing what your professor says”
University is pretty self-directed.
You are given all the tools you need, but you get to choose your own schedule and use the methods that work the best for you.
University is really a diamond in the rough when it comes to education. It’s a place where all walks of life come together and learn the skills they need to take on the world.
If your dream is to walk these halls, don’t let anybody scare you off.
But if you know post-school study isn’t for you, don’t feel like you don’t have a voice or other options.
Feature Image: Claire Ince