Head in the Sky

Thanks to the excesses and recklessness of my parents' generation (bankers, I'm looking at you here), my generation don't have a future. Right now there are 5.43 people applying for every job, and so us lot, with hardly any experience in the workplace besides a week making tea at the local shop, are screwed unless we can kiss enough ass to land a job based on connections rather than merit.

In recognition of this fact, schools and universities everywhere are trying to make courses "relevant", trying to get us to do ALL the work experience and make us into employable human beings, and generally preparing us for a life of practical white-collar tedium.

Boy surrounded by clouds
I have a bit of a problem with this. This is less because I secretly want to make Britain unemployable so that the Chinese can rule the world, or something stupid like that, and more because I don't believe the end goal of education is to get people into work, or even into higher-paying jobs; it's to get people to make sense of the world and grow as human beings. Scrapping that goal so that education is simply a preparation for people to make money just seems so sad to me, as if we'd all collectively decided that sitting in a cubicle for 40 years should be our goal, and anything other than that would just be preposterous.

Black and white picture of a woman whose head merges with clouds
Besides, my vision for the world involves eliminating capitalism and replacing it with a system where people actually share things instead of trying to amass riches for themselves.

Now, if people want to spend their lives doing practical jobs, that's all fine and cool by me. Hell, I spent a week doing work experience at Selex ES, a defence company. (They mainly do surveillance, electronic countermeasures and electronic support measures - the last two of which save lives - rather than actually making tanks and things, which is how I can justify working for them.) For a defence company, it's actually really nice and has a tradition of recruiting and mentoring people. And everyone's very supportive, too, and the work's pretty interesting. If all goes well, I might even go back for a summer placement next year and try to keep my connections with them. Always useful.

Man with his head engulfed in a cloud
But it's just too damn practical for me. I don't have anything against practicality - it's simply that my mind doesn't function that way. I don't just want to apply our current theories about the universe to problems; I want to test those theories over and over again and help formulate and corroborate new ones. I live to learn. It's a common phrase, but sometimes I really do live it.

Some people sit for hours watching TV or playing games. I do the same with research; every so often, I will get absolutely obsessed with learning about a certain area and forgo food and sleep just so I can read more. As someone who only needs books, nourishment and my forty winks (and the latter two are semi-optional) to survive, I'd probably make a half-decent academic.

Person with their head engulfed by cloud
Trying to grow as a person, to understand the world, is my life. It's not practical. It can't be turned easily into money (though I could accidentally invent something cool thanks to my research). And I love it.

I have my head in the clouds, in the sky, in the stars. And I'm proud.