Are you aspirational?

June 6, 2019

… are you aspirational?

“having a desire to reach your full potential”

Schools out, and the summer beckons; now you are thinking about what comes next. The options seem obvious, a long break hanging out with your friends, a family summer holiday then, perhaps, University - or even a gap-year to really recover from the trauma of 13-years full-time education.  What other options could there possibly be?

The answer to that question lies within yourself and hinges on two main factors; are you “aspirational”, and can you bring yourself to widen your horizons to help you decide what your aims in life might be?

Of these two, and at the point of leaving school, going to the slight effort and inconvenience of widening your horizons should sensibly come before deciding on your life aims.  Otherwise, a 2017 Push-Doctor survey indicates that around half of all adults become unhappy with their early choices, and as many as 40% put time, effort and cash into higher education that does not line-up with the job they end up doing.  That represents a lot of people from whose mistakes you can easily avoid!


… avoiding the pitfalls …

So, unless you aspire to lead an unhappy life, or do jobs for which you are neither trained nor enjoy, what is the solution?

The chances are that you will not be short of well-meant and sound advice on what to do next from your friends and school, and from your parents; and if that advice lines-up with your own aspirations, all good and fine.  What, however, if you are finding it difficult to make-up your mind based on the facts available to you?  The answer is surprisingly straightforward.

In this digital age, it takes only an evening or two to research key information about various jobs and professions, what they pay (a factor likely to play a key role your future life), what they involve you doing (enjoying your job is vital), and how you need to go about getting into them.  Again surprisingly, although academic achievements will have a part to play, getting into a job/career you want and will enjoy, is mostly about you, namely your understanding of what the job entails, coupled with the skills, personal qualities and enthusiasm needed to do it.

… widening your horizons …

Short of joining one of the armed forces for a few years, gap-year style travel around the world is one of the best ways of broadening your horizons; spending time in new environments and cultures will certainly add a new and valuable dimension to your outlook.  The downside?  Research shows that “switching-off” for a year, particularly immediately after leaving school, has a highly detrimental effect on the retention of the knowledge hard-won over the previous 13-years.

The key then is to make sure that whilst gap-year travelling your mind continues to remain active, ideally in constructive ways that will add value to the travelling experience.  Fortunately, modern technology provides a great opportunity in this respect, with more than 50% of all higher-education course/qualifications now being available online.  This means that alongside the social and cultural benefits of travel, it is now easily possible to keep your mind ticking-over by taking online courses – pitched at every academic level up to PhD – aligned to your aspirations.

… a helping hand …

Combining travel with online learning is the business of the Global Grad company which can encourage and support you every step of the way by provided expert advice on the pros and cons of online learning, how to plan your studies, and where to source appropriate courses.  By travelling with Global Grad you have the additional security and support of other like-minded travellers, plus the expert support of Global Grad managers at each location.

High-quality local work hubs are also provided to give reliable high-speed access to your online study materials, hubs which also bring you into daily contact with local entrepreneurs and business start-ups.  This experience will give you a wealth of material to discuss with potential future employers or admissions officers, who will be extremely impressed by your well-rounded interpersonal qualities, by what you have done, by where you have been, and by what you know.

Find out more here!

About the author

Terry Nash is an adviser to the Global Grad initiative.

He is a former Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Royal Aeronautical Society, and the British Institute of Management.

Terry is a “generalist” who started his working life as an engineering apprentice with the British Oxygen Company, subsequently serving in the RAF before holding senior posts in the public, private and “third” sectors.

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