Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Choosing what to do between 2023 and 2073? #CAO

Image source: Oblong Media.
Leaving Certificate schools students are just back to class and are already being inundated with advice as to how and what course to choose for College, beginning in September 2019. These students will graduate in 2023, and retire in 2073 (assuming they will retire at 68 years of age). Choosing a course today - what a difficult decision! 

Something to think about - in 2001 Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within a few years, their business model was gone and they went bankrupt. In 2005, YouTube did not exist, and the iPhone made its first appearance in 2007. These three years mentioned here were about the same time as today's College applicants started out their lives. 

It is probable that graduates in 2023 will end up working for companies and using technologies that do not exist today. It is almost unfair to ask them to choose a College course today. Clearly, if a students chooses a course like medicine, nursing, law, or pharmacy - there is a very strong likelihood that they will work in those professions for the rest of their lives. But choosing business, arts, or science (like I did) does not put you in a profession straight away. Courses in computer science did not exist in 1978 when I first went to College - I had no idea what I would end up doing. 

Based on my own experience with students I know that many will choose the wrong course for themselves - they will go to the wrong College, struggle at subjects they don't like, wish they had chosen something else, and possibly drop out. What seems the right and appropriate choice today may not be what you will end up doing - but that's OK.

My only advice is to choose (if at all!) something that you are good at and that you like - not because of where your friends are going, or where the College is, or which will generate the highest salary, or which will be easy, or which will be fun. You can always change your mind, or come back to College in later years!

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