When contemplating undertaking a course or further study, most people consider what jobs they’ll be eligible for or careers they can pursue at the end of their course, and how much those jobs will pay. While these factors are well worth evaluating, there’s a lot more to be gained from study than just employability and a higher earning potential.
Education enriches your whole life, and that of those around you. Study doesn’t only teach you technical skills and knowledge, the benefits extend much further: promoting quality of life, assisting personal growth and your ability to survive and thrive in the ever changing world. In this post, we discuss how study benefits your life and not just your career.
Study Skills are Life Skills
There is a point in everyone’s memory, where you’re bent over a sheet of trigonometry homework wondering what the point of studying trigonometry is. You argued with your parents that you’d probably never use trigonometry again in your life after school. But the point of studying complex mathematics wasn’t, and still isn’t, really that you’re going to need trigonometry on a weekly basis. Instead, it’s a cognitive workout, the practice of applying rules and theories, systematically and consistently, to challenging problems. It requires accuracy, concentration and perseverance, but the reward is improved cognitive function – i.e. brain power!
In the same way, further study continues to improve your ability to understand and analyse the world around you. It’s important to draw a distinction between the technical skills and soft skills that we may gain over the course of our education. For example, one of the technical skills a Diploma of Business Administration teaches you is the ability to lead and manage team effectiveness. But much more than that, you’ll find that the soft skills you pick up while completing your assignments - such as creative thinking, multi-tasking and time-management - will be applicable in all aspects of your personal and professional life. The work ethic and organisational skills you develop as a student make things like organising an overseas trip, paying bills on time, hosting an event, choosing a credit card and doing the weekly grocery shop faster and easier. As you progress through your studies you will be challenged by situations you’ve not encountered before; maybe a group assignment receives a poor mark due to a lack of teamwork between you and your fellow students. The next time you encounter similar circumstances, whether at school or in your personal life, you’ll find yourself better equipped to assume a leadership position, get your team on track and achieve the results you were aiming for.
Problem Solving in a Technology Rich Environment
We live in a society saturated with information that is being communicated across a multitude of platforms. We can browse the internet on our phone, our wristwatch, our TV or the treadmill at the gym. The challenge this luxury presents is to be able to process and analyse information rapidly and concisely. The OECD explains an individual’s capacity for Problem Solving in a Technology Rich Environment (PSTRE) doesn’t refer to their computer literacy; it refers to their ability to use all sorts of modern technology in problem solving and the completion of complex tasks. And it’s a cognitive skill that adults in today’s social and professional climate are expected to have.
For example, when the ATO transitioned to online submissions of tax returns, a person with strong PSTRE would have navigated the process quickly and instinctively, with little to no assistance required. This is not because they have a background in accounting, it is because they have the ability to adapt to new media platforms. A person lacking PSTRE skills would have moved through the platform slowly, pausing to read the ‘Help’ page, or ask a friend for a hand.
So, how do you improve your PSTRE? At this stage it’s not an easily quantifiable skill. The good news is the Australian Bureau of Statistics analysed data assessing Australian Adults Competencies found that the higher the level of non-high school education completed, the higher the PSTRE level of the individual. So, the further you study, the greater your ability to navigate new technologies and information processes is.
Confidence in Yourself
Study is sure to throw hurdles in your path that you never anticipated. As time passes, you start to figure out that dedicating time and perseverance to a task produces results. Whether your studies come really easily to you or not, unless you put your head down and do the work you’ll never finish. So you do. It’s not always smooth sailing, but at the end of your course you reflect on accomplishments you never thought you could achieve by yourself. When you graduate, you take this knowledge with you and it empowers you to navigate life with a greater confidence in yourself and what you have to offer the world.
So, have you got the Skills to Pay the Bills?
And if you needed any more convincing, here's Four Reasons Why It's Never too Late to Return to Study