Career counseling · Old blog

Career counseling #7: what education can and cannot do for you

I have a good friend. Let`s call her Anna.

Anna got a few years ago her Bachelor degree in Public Administration. An interesting field of study, with even more interesting things to do after…if you don’t want to get a job in public administration. But let`s get back to the subject.

She had a few small jobs, nothing really related to what she studied. After a while of doing this, she decided that it`s time to emigrate and find something better, that “American dream” (but in Europe). Anna has been in that country for almost two years now.

She started studying the language and got pretty good at it, reaching an advanced level on the country`s own scale of evaluation. That`s what she did in her first year there. In her second year, Anna started studying at one of the country’s best universities. Right now, she`s taking her first exams there.

Here`s the catch: some professors told her that she won`t pass her exams because … she can’t speak the language of the country as good as other (native) colleagues. Those professors also told her that she knows the subject better than those (native) colleagues.6a00d8341d417153ef010534d6e12c970c

From a legal point of view, that is discrimination (I believe).

From a personal point of view, I believe that she should carry on with her studies. Sometimes, it`s not the diploma that counts. It`s the knowledge that you get and the way it shapes you and your mind.

Let`s see her case: she studies public administration in two different countries and speaks a few languages. She can see (even if she doesn’t realizes it yet) the similarities in the public procedures, the way in which these can be used by an individual or a company.

If I would be her, I would first get my things together, finding out what skills I really have. I would look around and see those that my friends have. I would look to see what my friends studied, what are they good at.

Even if they studied, let`s say, agriculture…or marketing…or IT…or electrical engineering. All these fields have more to do with one another that a person would think.

Just a thought: the engineer could make some…thing (a motor, a new machine or something etc.) for agricultural works, based on the guidance of the agronomist. The IT guy would program the “thing” created and the marketing friend would promote it. The public administration person can guide all of them through the procedures (that awful paperwork) and through partner/clients relationships.

And all of them together can have greater success that they would have thinking they can’t do anything “meaningful” with their studies or their knowledge. Anna and her friends should just be more courageous.

Education can give you the knowledge, but the skills you need to put into practice that knowledge you can only get from actually trying.

Aesop said “united we stand, divided we fall” more than 2500 years ago. He was definitely right.

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