The UK has one of the longest and richest political histories on the planet, and so it is easy to see why there has always been a strong amount of students studying Politics degrees there. With Brexit and its many complexities, British Politics remains in the public eye.
Politics is drastically rising in popularity and awareness amongst young people. This is largely due to social media and the ability to share information. Young people are becoming more informed about social injustice, and so turn to politics to help change the world they live in. Voter turnout is higher than it has even been before within the younger demographics, with the UK leading the way.
What are the best UK Universities to study Politics?
What qualifications do I need to study Politics in the UK?
Typical International Baccalaureate requirements: 34 points
Typical A-Level requirements: ABB
Typical IELTS requirements: 6.5 overall
We had an interview with Aaron Duncan, a recent Politics and International Student, about why you should study Politics in the UK.
Tell us a little about yourself
“My name is Aaron Duncan, and I have just graduated my Politics and International Relations joint honours at the University of Sussex. I have recently undertaken full-time employment as a Senior Operations Resourcer at a tech company in London, in addition to working with a UK political party.”
Aaron Duncan, Politics and International Relations graduate, University of Sussex
Why did you choose to study Politics?
“I picked Politics as I want to leave my mark on the world. Politics shapes everything from health and science, to business and trade, to civil rights, and power relations. I wanted to gain perspectives from others, as well as enrich my own understanding of how and why the world works as it does. As a young adult, the decisions made by the government of today will affect my life tomorrow. There is nothing I find more exciting than to play my part in the momentous changes to come; both domestically as well as internationally.”
Why would you recommend studying Politics in the UK?
“British politics is the most interesting to study regardless of your background, age, or gender. Studying politics in the UK offers incentives that are simply not available in other countries. It’s rich political history provided by controversial leaders (such as Thatcher, Churchill, Blair, and even May) not only gives one the chance to appreciate the changes the UK has endowed onto the world but how it has also provided global political and social norms in doing so. The UK sets the precedent in terms of how the world now views socio-democratic values. For example, Brexit was a decision never seen in political history. This offers those studying Politics in the UK, such as myself, perhaps the most unique opportunity to analyse, debate, and forecast such an event first-hand.”
What experience do you have with Political work experience in the UK?
“The majority of my political work experience comes from working with UK political parties and local councils. Experience within UK Politics is as accessible as you make it. However, planning your career paths within this area is possibly the most important aspect. In other words, think of your end goal and work backwards- and start volunteering! That’s the key to getting your foot in the door of the field.”
Careers in Politics range from the local, national, and international government. As well as a wide range of other professions as well as teaching, media, advising, finance, and banking.
If you’re interested in studying politics in the UK and would like to know more, visit Study International UK for a free consultation.
Ready to procrastinate? Here are 6 movies to inspire students at university
Need some inspiration? Look no further. Our list of top motivational movies for students will keep you going while at university.
We all know studying is a lot of work, and it can be difficult to stay motivated. Whether you’re new to university life or smashing it in your third year the same rule applies: don’t spend all of your time studying. Taking a day for yourself is just as important for your mental health, and let’s face it, we all deserve a little ‘me time’ every once in a while – and a good film makes everything better.
We’ve ranked our top 6 inspirational movies to keep you going while at university. So put your comfy clothes on, grab your favourite snacks and enjoy! If you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here.
Feel-good. Adventure. Romance.Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) realises that her life isn’t making her happy. With a high-powered job, she struggles to find love and feels stuck in the same routines. Fed up of feeling lost, she sets off on a personal quest to give her life more meaning and goes wherever it takes her. Italy. India. Bali. The ultimate goal is to ‘find herself’ and find happiness. This is the perfect comfort-film for any international student feeling lonely or lost. Uplifting and inspiring, we can all learn something from this film – from following your heart to trusting the kindness of strangers, learning to love yourself or finding joy in spending time alone. Watch the trailer:
History. Biography. Thriller. This is the real story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team of cryptographers as they try to decipher the Enigma Machine, used by the Nazi’s to send encrypted messages during World War II. This is a remarkable and gripping story of man vs. machine in a real race against time. Working for the British Government, Turing proves that anything is possible and he is an inspiration to us all. If you’re looking to get truly lost in a film that will make you laugh (and cry) then this is it. We especially recommend this movie for maths, computing, history and politics students. Watch the trailer:
Comedy. Drama. LGBTQ+ This double Oscar-winning film tells the true story of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), and his journey to becoming California’s first openly-gay elected official in the 1970s. Using a mixture of real archival footage and newly-filmed re-enactments, this is an important and inspiring story about the fight for equality. It will motivate you to stand up and fight for what you believe in and offers a unique insight into an under-reported part of American history. This film is a must-see. Watch the trailer:
Feel-good. Biography. Musical. If you’re feeling down, The Greatest Showman is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. This feel-good film follows the life of Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman) as he tries to go from rags-to-riches and make it in the world of show business. With a wild imagination, he creates a spectacular travelling circus show that’s wonderfully unapologetic and unafraid to be different. A great story of family and friendship with singing, dancing and an incredibly-catchy soundtrack – what more could you want? Watch the trailer:
Biography. Drama. History. If you don’t already know the story of King George VI, then you’re in for a treat. This historical film is based on the true story of King George VI (Colin Firth) as he struggles to overcome his stammer with the help of a speech therapist. Set in the late 1930s and with War approaching, King George VI must find the courage to address the nation. This film is heartwarming, funny and sends a strong message about accepting who you are and facing your fears. Watch the trailer:
Biography. Drama. History. This remarkable film tells the previously untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). These three brilliant black women worked for NASA in the early years of the Space Race and became some of the most important figures in America’s fight to send people into space. This film is an inspiration and plays an important role in recognising the role of remarkable black women in history. Watch the trailer:
Studying abroad could be one of the best and most challenging experiences you’ll ever have. Between settling into your new accommodation, opening a student bank account, and trying to keep on top of the workload, there is plenty to keep you busy. While exploring your new city is key to making the most of your time abroad, it’s important not to forget the reason you’re there in the first place – to learn!
To help keep your mind focused, here is NatWest Student Banking team’s list of 6 of the most inspiring movies for students to remind you of the value of learning and to encourage you to work hard at your studies. Everybody has their off days when studying and we think that these films will be just the thing to inspire you on one of those days.
Robin Williams is on top form as the iconoclastic John Keating, the unconventional English teacher who uses his love of poetry and classic literature to break down barriers at the oppressive Welton Academy. Keating inspires his young charges to ‘seize the day’, challenge the school’s strict rules, and truly be themselves.
The film is packed with emotionally-charged, touching scenes but the one that won’t fail to make the hairs on your arm stand up is this one where Keating’s students demonstrate what he means to them – “Oh Captain, My Captain…”
2. The Pursuit Of Happiness (2006)
The Pursuit Of Happinessis the amazing real-life tale of Chris Gardner who, with the power of hard work and perseverance, takes himself from sleeping on the subway all the way to the millionaire founder of his own brokerage house.
Never missing an opportunity and studying hard, after a few years, Chris works his way up the career ladder from medical equipment salesman to financial hotshot. If there’s one story that demonstrates that you should never give up, no matter how bad things get, it’s Chris’.
3. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Matt Damon masterfully plays the eponymous role of Will Hunting, a 20-year-old mathematical prodigy with a rough past, a tendency for street fighting and run-ins with the law. The film shows how an underachiever can turn things around.
Some of the most inspiring scenes are during Hunting’s therapy sessions with psychologist Sean (Robin Williams), where as shown in this clip, we finally see his defenses come down and the genius within begins to shine.
4. School of Rock (2003)
In this movie, the irrepressible Jack Black plays a down-on-his-luck musician who makes use of a combination of creative interview techniques, Led Zeppelin riffs, crazy love for music, and a ridiculous amount of ‘winging it’ to transform a class of upper-class unhappy kids into a real group of tiny rock Gods.
While the movie was never going to challenge for the Best Picture Oscar, it’s a fantastic offbeat example of how education can inspire really positive change amongst the most unlikely looking people. Watch Jack Black teach utilising the power of song. If you were a fan of the movie when it first came out then you may be interested to see this photo – taken when the cast recently reunited for a 10 year anniversary of the movie’s release:
5. Freedom Writers (2007)
Coming in under the radar in 2007, this film tells a true and inspirational story based on the success of Erin Gruwell, a teacher who came up with a unique style of teaching that took a group of underachieving inner city kids to the heights of academic achievement.
Erin is played by Hilary Swank, who does an impressive job of portraying a woman with a single-minded drive and passion for education. It’s wonderful to see how the lives and fortunes of her class are completely turned around when they finally get into studying.
6. Stand and Deliver (1988)
Another inspirational film based on a true story, Stand and Deliver tells the story of Jamie Escalante who leaves his job to teach maths at a school with a reputation for rebellious students and a focus on discipline over education. Over the course of two school years, Escalante takes his students from struggles to successes; the high point comes when the students all pass their advanced calculus exams.
Stand and Deliver demonstrates that academic success is not out of reach just because of their background or their current struggles. The story demonstrates the possibilities open to anyone no matter what they may have been told in the past.
This list of 6 most inspirational movies that will help you with your study motivation has been provided by the NatWest Student Banking team so that next time you feel yourself becoming disillusioned with your course or you’re finding the workload too great to bear, take some time out to watch one of these movies and maybe it will remind you why you chose to study your subject in the first place and inspire you to study.
To keep your motivational levels high up, i-STUDENTglobal provides you with an additional list of 10 must-see movies that can provide many forms of inspiration – art, literature, comedy and even studying. Here are some of our team’s favourite films that will inspire you – like they have inspired us – to get further in your education.
1. The History Boys (2009)
An unruly and charismatic class of boys work alongside their two eccentric teachers in attempts to get into Oxford or Cambridge University. The boys eventually learn that their unruly personality is what makes them unique and a perfect addition to their impending university.
2. The Social Network (2010)
Two friends from Harvard decide to put the entire university experience online in an attempt to get in with certain social groups at the university. Instead, they become targets of the people they tried to get involved with. In all, never underestimate the power of social media.
3. Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
A nun reprises her role in the music scene by joining a Catholic schools mission to take their choir further in the state championships. The lesson in this film is that any student can find their place with the right encouragement.
4. Educating Rita (1983)
Rita is a young wife who decides to finally complete her education. In doing so, she meets a teacher who expands her interests and her new educational background begins to cause issues at home. Rita understands that you are never too old to finish your education.
5. Starter for 10 (2006)
First-year Brian attempts to get through his time at Bristol University without any bumps or bruises. Set in 1985, this isn’t going to happen for Brian. He learns its better not to cheat at university…
6. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Five students from different social groups meet in a Saturday detention. As the day goes on learn they have more in common than they thought. Differences are often only skin-deep and stereotypes can be based on as little as fashion choices.
7. Monsters University (2013)
This prequel to the 2001 contemporary Disney classic, Monsters Inc. explores how two friends, Mike Wazowski & James P Sullivan (Sully), came to meet whilst studying at Monsters University. While we all know them as best friends, they originally started as arch-nemeses. Monsters need a bit of education too.
8. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Tom, one of the most intellectual minds of his generation, changes his life direction after accepting a job position at the Department of Defense rather than as a professor or researcher. This change shows Tom that success comes at a great cost.
9. 21 (2008)
MIT students learn from a teacher to count cards in Las Vegas in order to pay for their university education. Things take a turn for the worse when the students get in too deep in their deceptions. Maths can have its’ uses.
10. The Theory of Everything (2014)
The personal story of Stephen Hawking as he sets his legacy while studying at university. While studying, he develops motor neuron disease, which alters the course of his life forever. A fantastic story proving the mind does conquer all.
I have spent much of the last three years talking to people who work in international education about the need to cut down how much they travel because of the damage that flying does to the environment …. I suppose the lesson here is to be careful what you wish for as the COVID-19 crisis bites and forces much of the planet into lockdown.
The coronavirus pandemic is understandably absorbing everyone’s attention right now but unfortunately, the underlying problem of climate change has not gone away. Maybe, just maybe though, this strange new world we have entered offers us a new window of hope for how we might resolve it.
But first, let me go back to the beginning to talk about how global student mobility contributes to the climate crisis and then how the international education sector might serve as a catalyst for positive action.
The Scale Of The Climate Challenge
The world has warmed by roughly 1°C since the time of the industrial revolution in the mid-19th century because of human activity. This temperature rise is already causing stronger storms, more erratic weather, dangerous heatwaves, longer droughts and extended fire seasons. At even a 1.5°C temperature rise – the lower end of the Paris Agreement targets – this trend will intensify and be accompanied by large-scale disruption to climate systems, infrastructure and migration patterns.
If we stay on our current emissions trajectory, we will see warming of more than 4°C by the end of this century which would mean that many major cities in India and parts of the Middle East would literally become lethal on some days due to extreme temperatures and heatwaves (Mani M, et al. 2018), and whole regions of Africa, Australia and the United States, as well as parts of Asia and South America would be uninhabitable as a result of direct heat, desertification or flooding.
We still have a little time – around 10 years – to prevent such a catastrophic outcome according to the UN report (IPCC 2018). To do this, the 15 largest economies must cut their carbon-dioxide emissions in half over the next four decades. The scale of that task is immense, however.
According to Vox Magazine in 2014,
“to put that in perspective global emissions declined by just 1 percent in the year after the 2008 financial crisis, during a brutal recession when factories and buildings around the world were idling. to stay below 2°c, we may have to triple that pace of cuts, and sustain it year after year.’’
The COVID-19 situation means we have to update this current picture as normal life has closed down for a staggeringly large part of the world’s population. This has pressed pause on our greenhouse gas emissions which up until the pandemic had still been rising.
So, we have a little room to breathe, and a chance to reflect on how the world works and how we might perhaps remake it a little differently once the current threat of the virus has passed.
Pursuing a study abroad dream can be very challenging, and many people may need assistance with finance. It is worth researching the types of available funding that can give you this opportunity to discover the world.
Explore the top 5 government funded scholarships for international students that allow you to pursue your dream.
1. Chevening Scholarship
Started in 1983, Chevening has provided scholarships and fellowships to more than 50,000 people from around the world to study in the UK. The scholarships are funded by the UK government. The aim of this scholarship is to provide opportunities to emerging leaders who have ambition, leadership potential, a strong academic background and are ready to experience a global journey.
Australia has always been one of the best destinations for international students with its good education system, multicultural community and many cities voted among the “most liveable” in the world. Every year Australia offers scholarships for students from developing countries to study at top universities in Australia. These prestigious scholarships recruit students from Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East and provide holistic support for the duration of their study with the aim to help them make the most of their time in Australia and contribute back to their home countries post study.
The Fulbright Foreign Student program provides a wide range of opportunities for graduate students, young professionals and artists from overseas to study an academic program or participate in a fellowship in the United States of America at U.S universities or institutions. Approximately 4,000 students receive these highly competitive opportunities and thrive in different fields. Like other government funded scholarships, Fulbright scholars are required to return to their home country after studying.
All applications are processed by bi-nation Fulbright Commissions or U.S Embassies. Therefore, foreign students must apply through the Fulbright Commissions or U.S Embassies in their home countriesusing theircountry specific websites.
What is included?
return economy flights
4. Erasmus Mundus Scholarships
Funded by the European Union, Erasmus Mundus Scholarships are awarded exclusively to students coming from both EU and non-EU countries who have been selected to attend one of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Programs at Master or Doctorate level and other different programs including:
Each program has a different set of key selection criteria which are available in the Erasmus+ Programme Guide. Make sure you read through the Guide carefully and allow enough time to prepare your application.
Offering international students, a great chance to gain knowledge and the opportunity to experience an international life, the New Zealand Aid Program offers a wide range of scholarships to help developing countries grow their talents. Students may engage in an undergraduate degree or postgraduate study and all students must return to their home countries after finishing their study.
If you’re looking to work in the medical profession, you will no doubt be aware that this is not something that can happen overnight. Every role in healthcare, from nurses to consultants and everybody in between, needs to be highly trained to perform their job to the best of their ability, as often these professionals will be the ones making the decisions that will either make patients better or worse. Something that you might not be aware of is that in different countries, the same courses can take a different duration and by studying abroad, you may actually reduce the time of your training whilst also benefitting from taking in a new culture overseas whilst you are studying.
Here we take a look at how long it takes to study and train to become a doctor and a nurse in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Doctor?
Becoming A General Practitioner (GP)
A GP is a family doctor who should have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the human body and health. Primary skills required by a GP are those of diagnosis as a lot of the time they will be presented with a patient who has some symptoms but may not know the underlying causes. The skill in working as a GP comes in recognising early signs of potentially serious symptoms and knowing who patients should be referred to for more specialist care. The benefits of working as a GP include a good salary, potential for ongoing work at a single location and regular working hours. Many GPs also work ‘out of hours’ services and do home visits when required. Training to be a GP varies widely from country to country, ranging from 9 years in Ireland and Australia to up to 14 years in New Zealand.
How Long Does It Take To Become A GP?
In addition to the usual 5-6 years for studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), you will also need to complete two foundation years working in a hospital, known as F1 and F2, and 3 years of vocational training before you can be classed as a GP. In total, this works out at around 10-11 years to become a GP in the UK.
In Ireland, Medical School lasts for 5 years. Following this GP training is a specialist programme which takes 4 years to complete. In total it takes 9 years to become a GP in Ireland.
In America, Medical School is slightly shorter than the UK, with courses taking 4 years to complete, however, a bachelor’s degree is pre-requisite, which also takes 4 years to complete. Following Medical School, graduates must undertake an internship or clerkship, commonly known as a residency. A residency is usually based in a hospital and is primarily a practical role, rather than textbook learning in the first two years of medical school. This usually lasts from 3-8 years, depending on your specialism. Following this, fellowships are further training opportunities for doctors to specialise further. In total, training to be a GP or Family Practitioner (FP) as they are often called in the USA usually takes 11 years.
In Canada it is a pre-requisite for medical students to have undertaken an undergraduate degree prior to starting Medical School. This does not have to be related to medicine, although it may help your application if the bachelor’s degree is complementary to medicine such as Biology. Following at least 3 (typically 4) years of study for your undergraduate degree, you must complete 4 years of study at Medical School, followed by 2-5 years of postgraduate study as you focus on your specialism. Most specialisms last for 5 years, but Family Medicine is usually a 2-year programme, meaning that you can expect to spend at least 10 years studying to be a GP in Canada, although other specialisms could take up to 13 years.
In Australia, an MBBS can take between 4-6 years depending on where you study. Following this is a period of postgraduate study to focus on a specialism, such as training to be a General Practitioner (GP), which usually takes between 3-5 years to complete. This means that you could be a GP in just 9-11 years, but it is possible to be qualified in other specialisms after just 7 years of study and training.
New Zealand has only two Medical Schools, located at the University of Otago and University of Auckland. Medical School lasts for 6 years in New Zealand, however, during your 6th year you are working in a hospital alongside qualified doctors, and are able to earn a small salary whilst in this position. Following this, graduates must work for two years as a House Officer. This is similar to an F1 and F2 in the UK, where the graduates work for 3 months at a time across different sections of the hospital. Following this, the junior doctors begin working towards their chosen specialism, which usually lasts between 4-6 years, taking the total time of study to 12-14 years.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Nurse?
Nursing is a great vocational degree with a high rate of employment after graduation. If you are interested in helping people and get a buzz off of meeting people from a wide range of backgrounds then nursing might just be the perfect career for you. Typical courses range from 3-4 years, which upon completion you will be entered to sit an exam with that country’s nursing council. If you pass this exam then you will be a Registered Nurse (RN) and will be able to be work as a fully-qualified nurse. Once you start working, you will learn a lot on the job, and there will also be opportunities for further development courses.
The Canadian Veterinary Medicial Association offers practical advice on applying to veterinary courses.
Preparing for veterinary studies
Students who are interested in becoming a veterinarian should select courses in science at the high school level and discuss a suitable preparatory academic programme with a well-informed guidance counsellor. Science courses such as biology, chemistry and physics form a foundation upon which further education will rest, but optional courses in the humanities and social sciences are recommended, as well as a strong background in mathematics. If working in a clinic upon graduation is of interest, students should consider taking degree courses in business administration, management or entrepreneurship. A student must also plan to gain practical experience by working with several animal species. Voluntary experience and employment with a veterinarian is helpful in gaining insight into the profession and references from these sources are part of the admission requirements.
Veterinary studies in Canada
To obtain a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree in Canada, a minimum of six years of university education is required: two years of pre-veterinary study at a regular university, followed by four years of courses in veterinary medicine at one of the five Canadian veterinary colleges (five years in the province of Quebec). Some colleges are adjusting their pre-veterinary requirements and introducing curriculum changes to reflect the changing face of the profession.
Guidance counsellors should be able to advise students regarding these changes. In Canada, the number of students that can be accommodated in a veterinary school is limited. Canadian veterinary colleges currently graduate about 400 veterinarians each year.
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Canada’s veterinarians are represented by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), a national professional association that encourages veterinarians to uphold high medical and professional standards and supports them in their practices. The CVMA promotes veterinary medicine to the public, advocates responsible treatment of animals and provides professional development opportunities. It also publishes two scientific journals and authoritative position statements on veterinary medicine and animal health and welfare issues. The CVMA administers the National Examining Board examination and oversees the Canadian Veterinary Reserve, a source of pre-trained veterinarians and animal health technologists who may be called upon in declared emergencies to supplement relief efforts.
Practicing veterinary medicine in Canada
Canada has over 11,000 veterinarians working in a number of different fields:
Private practice 75% of Canadian veterinarians work in small, large or mixed animal practices or in specialised practices dealing with one species or discipline
Government 10% of Canadian veterinarians work for some level of government
Teaching and research 5% of Canadian veterinarians are in teaching and research
Industry 6% of veterinarians hold various occupations in the veterinary industry
The remaining 4% of veterinarians work in other related fields.
Visit www.animalhealthcare.ca for more information on veterinary medicine in Canada. This article was written by Kristin McEvoy, Communications Officer, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Deciding where in Australia you should live and study? Here’s 5 reasons why Perth should be at the top of your list.
1. Cost of living
Not only is Perth a great place to live, it’s affordable too!
When compared to Perth, consumer prices in Sydney are 7.95% higher (this includes items like clothing and electronics), grocery prices are 4.82% higher, and rent prices are a whopping 91.32% higher. To put these numbers into perspective, renting a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney outside the city centre will set you back $1956.54 a month, while in Perth it will cost you just $1028.86 a month. While not as expensive, by moving to Melbourne you can expect to pay rent prices 33.56% higher than in Perth.
2. One of the world’s most liveable cities
Paying substantially less for every day items and rent doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a great quality of life. Perth was ranked in the top 15 most liveable cities in the world in 2018 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which ranks cities across five major categories including infrastructure, stability, education, healthcare and culture and environment.
Perth was also ranked the number two city in Australia in an annual survey on liveability and community values by realestate.com.au and market research group Ipsos. Residents ranked safety as the most important factor in determining a great place to live, followed by housing, high-quality health services and future job prospects.
3. Mediterranean climate
Perth enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. With more hours of sunshine than any other capital city in Australia (70% of the year you’ll experience clear blue skies), you’ll get to enjoy more time outside exploring your new home.
In summer, Perth residents cool down by heading to one of our 19 beaches, including the world famous Cottesloe Beach, which was voted Australia’s number 1 beach in 2019. In spring, you can head a few hours north from to check out the incredible wildflowers, in one of the most spectacular flower displays in the world.
4. Cosmopolitan culture
While we’re known as the more chilled out city when compared to our east coast rivals, Perth has experienced a cultural Renaissance in recent years.
This includes the opening of Elizabeth Quay, a new waterfront precinct on the banks of the Swan River featuring a water park and numerous world class restaurant and bars, the 60,000-seater Optus Stadium that has hosted everything from the Big Bash League and AFL finals to Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, and the $650 expansion of Crown Perth to construct Crown Towers.
By choosing to live and study in Perth, you’ll be based in one of the most biodiverse and picturesque states in Australia. With over 12,000km of coastline, world-renowned food and wine regions and more than 100 national parks, there’s plenty to see and do.
If you’re keen on exploring the rest of Australia, Perth is just a 3.5-hour flight from Melbourne and a 4-hour flight from Sydney. Perth is also the perfect destination to explore South East Asia from, as we’re just 3.5 hours from Bali, and 5.5 from both Singapore and Kula Lumpa.
There are many reasons people attend university. To achieve a lifelong career dream. To pursue a financially rewarding career. To pass a few years whilst they work out ‘who they are’. All legitimate reasons, but are they achievable? The outcomes of university may also seem self-explanatory: degree, employment opportunities, networks of colleagues for years to come. Realistically, though, the true benefits of studying are much less tangible. Measuring them can take a little more nuance.
Adam Grant did a TED talk about what he coins ‘originals’. Those individuals who break from convention and try something new. People who say ‘No,’ to traditional routes of learning in favour of breaking their own path. Seeing this video got me to thinking: is university really about the subject you choose to major in? Or is it, in 2019, more about developing relevant original thoughts and ideas to propel you into the unpredictable future?
Original thought is abstract as an idea
Throughout recent years, universities, colleges and schools have all attempted to distil such ideas through classes labelled ‘Critical thinking’ (an old Oxbridge favourite), ‘Reasoning’, or plain old ‘Study skills’. The aim: to encourage lateral and open dialogue, discussion and dissection of ideas for the promotion of progress. The reality: professors divesting themselves of a range of references to philosophy, scientific studies and psychological theorems to encourage students to reflect on their learning.
Grant, though, looks at the concept in a different manner. He describes one of his most productive and creative students and her exceptional talent… for procrastination. Instead of following protocols – like deadlines for essays – she forged her own way through. And Grant supported her to do so. He was inspired by her gumption and so they entered into a study into procrastination. As a result, they found creativity and procrastination to be inextricably linked and notes, with humour, the limitations of the study as unfortunately the chronic offenders were too lazy to complete the questionnaire! There’s a sweet spot between being lastminute.com and the early bird who catches the worm.
Procrastination for the win
So perhaps that stereotype of students who leave everything to the last minute (due to too much time on social media) as gamblers is incorrect. Maybe, contrary to long held beliefs, some people really do ‘work better under pressure’ from a deadline. Some of the most famous people in the world admit to it:
The Dalai Lama has admitted “Only in the face of a difficult challenge or an urgent deadline would I study and work without laziness”. He argues that he has seen the light now, though, and encourages a life of preparation so that “if you die tonight, you would have no regrets”.
Herman Melville (author of Moby Dick) was so awful a procrastinator he was physically chained to his desk in order to finish his magnum opus.
Bill Clinton – his aides reported that during his presidency, despite careful planning and plenty of notice on their part, he would often leave drafts/comments to the last moment with Al Gore referring to him as ‘punctually challenged’.
Maybe, rather than being a sign of weakness or disengagement, the lessons learned from having to accelerate uphill towards a deadline actually produces spontaneity and genuine moments of brilliance as Grant suggests.
Elon Musk has said that he has often started a project without any clue as to the likelihood of success. But, he argues, if an idea is important, there’s too much of a risk if you don’t try. That is surely the most valuable lesson any student gains from university: that risks are worth taking, and if you look at things in your own way you may just live to see them pay off.