Things I did and didn’t learn in school

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H E L L O

I’ve been back in the Netherlands for a few weeks to regroup and reconsider what I’d like to do career-wise. Writing down everything I’ve done and accomplished over the past couple of years made me realize a few things.
First of all, how little of what I’ve learned in school I  use in my everyday life.
Second, how many indirect lessons I’ve learned through school.

I want to start by saying I don’t hate school.
However, I do think the general education system has its flaws and is in need of an upgrade.
I think school is very important for a number of reasons, though.
In this post I decided to list a few things I did learn in school, and some I didn’t.

Something I did learn; How to make friends

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Spot the diva

Being exposed to kids around your age and learning how to socialize is probably the most important thing you’ll learn during your entire school career. I grew up in a big family, but interactions between siblings are not the same as interactions between kids your age who were raised with different values, with varying cultural backgrounds and under a different set of rules.
I learned what kind of personality traits I liked, and which ones I sure as hell did not.
I got into fights, I made people cry and people made me cry.
-dumb kid stuff, I wasn’t a bully-
Slowly but surely you develop into your own person.
I learned how to form strong connections with people. Some friendships have lasted me my lifetime- so far.

I wasn’t home schooled, but I can’t imagine how different of a person I’d be today if I had been.

Something I didn’t learn; Writing a resume and preparing a job interview

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This was just something I had to learn through trial and error.
I’ve heard of some Americans who do get a class where they practice writing resumes.
My school clearly did not give a flying F.
I just googled examples of resumes the first time I had to apply for a job. I made up a bunch of stuff because I didn’t have any work experience yet. The picture I used was not professional at all, and I listed my friends as references.
as if you never did
Resume’s are one thing, but job interviews are even more horrifying.
Especially that first one.
Again, I googled how to prepare and asked my older siblings for advice. Eventually I got together a few set guidelines.
Always research the company, find out who’s interviewing you, prepare to answer general questions about working there, for what term and have some questions of your own prepared.
Oh- and have a net salary in mind to negotiate.
I like to go to job interviews pretty regularly, even when I have zero intention of getting the job. It’s just something I like to train.
I wish it was something that was at least brought up in school, though. Would have saved me a ton of restless nights.

Something I did learn; How to study smart

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Hello Utrecht Throwback

In high school, I knew there was a huge pressure on me to graduate my senior year for a few different reasons.
I also wanted to get into med-school, which was based on a point system back then. The higher your final average, the higher the chances of you getting a spot.
Instead of focusing on the subjects that were hard for me (chemistry, physics, math) I focused on the subjects I was already naturally good at to get an even higher grade- therefore boosting my average.
Not only did it make studying a lot more pleasant, I also graduated with honors in both English and History.
I got into med school by screwing with the system.

Now- that sh*t didn’t exactly fly in university.

I did use Wikipedia during my entire university career, because I was too broke and lazy to buy any books after year 1.
Have to say; it worked out for me.
Just throw in some of your own ideas about the subject, support those ideas with research-backed arguments and you’re pretty much done.
Always conclude your essays by saying more research is needed.
Boom.

Something I didn’t learn; Actual preparation for adult reality

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I didn’t learn about taxes, how mortgages work or how to avoid debt while still getting an education.
In school we learn about certain mandatory subjects, so we get a good foundation of knowledge to build up from.
So- why don’t we also teach kids about the importance of discussing mental health, taking time off or actually teach them how to use their interests and talents to find a job that is both fulfilling but also sustainable?

A kid who excels in the arts shouldn’t hear that he or she will never get a job- because if you love what you do and you’re good at it you’ll find a way to make that work.

Granted, it might be more competitive or less financially stable- but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an option. Taking a not so desirable part-time job in order to invest in what you love is still an option.
Some people are very happy at a basic income, and not everyone wants to be a CEO.

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During my 25 years of life so far, I have learned most about myself from the years I spent at work.
I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted to be or do after I dropped out of med school, and I wanted as much experience from working the most random jobs I could think of.
From being a cardiac tech to a waitress, and from scrubbing kitchen floors to working in elderly homes.
I’ve worked every crappy minimum wage job you can think of.

Those jobs would then get me enough experience or confidence to try for another job, and I worked my way up that way.
Aside from modeling, I’ve worked as model booker, photographer and in production planning.
Just by doing, trying and teaching myself what I wanted to know.

But, that is how you meet a lot of different people. That’s how you find out what valuable real world skills you have. That’s how you learn to take criticism. That’s how you learn the real value of money.
And– if necessary- what formal education you’ll need to be able to do what you want.

Trust me; nothing will get your mind working faster about what you’d rather be doing, than scrubbing vomit off a nasty old floor.

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Or labeling buttons all day

I’ll end with this:

While I was studying history in Amsterdam, I expressed an interest in journalism.
I was shut down by my professor because
‘it’s not something you’re studying to be’’
I applied for an internship at a big magazine and got it anyway. I was excited, but my university wouldn’t acknowledge the credits. The internship didn’t align with my major.
I lost the internship spot, because the university didn’t want to think outside the box.

That stern mentality  is exactly why I decided I’d personally be better off spending my time working, and I dropped out.

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Dropping out of school is something I know I’ll mentally struggle with for a while.
I know I’ll have to work twice as hard to prove myself, but that’s ok.

I was also scared I’d never be considered for a ‘real’ job.

Since quitting, I’ve been offered multiple jobs.
The type of jobs you might say you’d need a degree for.
I was offered these positions not because of my university credits or the school I went to, but because of my extensive work experience and incredible recommendations from previous employers.
Because of my discipline, continuous eagerness to learn and just because of the person I am.
not to brag, but I am damn proud

Completing a degree is wonderful, but it’s not everything anymore.
Don’t let school define who you are as a person, or use it as an excuse to put off your dreams.
Use what you can from school, we all excel at different things.

Life would be pretty boring and repetitive if we all had the same interests- right?

One of my absolute favorite quotes to finish off this post:

‘Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.’

Thanks for reading as always, and much love

xo

Liz

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