Advent is a time of preparation. As the days count down to Christmas, we do well to get ready--mentally, physically, spiritually--to receive the gift of Immanuel: "God with us." In Australia, while people are preparing their hearts for the birth of Christ, students are also waiting, hoping, making decisions and preparing for the future.
But what sort of future?
Yogi Berra was an all-star baseball player for the New York Yankees who died last year. (And, yes, the cartoon character Yogi Bear is believed to be named after him.) Berra is also known for his sharp wit and clever one-liners. Here’s a Top Ten list of my favourite Yogi Berra quotes:
10. I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
9. It aint’ over ‘til it’s over.
8. You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.
7. Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore, it’s too crowded.
6. You can observe a lot by just watching.
5. Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.
4. Always go to other people’s funerals otherwise they won’t come to yours.
3. It’s déjà vu all over again.
2. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
1. The future ain’t what it used to be.
That last one is worth pondering, especially for those planning to go to university in 2017. What, exactly, did the future used to be?
A generation or two ago, the future used to be one in which a student could graduate from uni and expect to work for the same company until they retired. That is, students used to be able to anticipate a career—one occupation and perhaps even just one job for life.
That is not the future that today’s graduates can expect.
Statistics show that today’s average school leavers can expect to have five separate careers and 17 different jobs over the course of their working life.
The question then becomes how a student best prepares for the reality of that sort of flexible and ever-changing job market? Is the typical Australian pathway of specialising in only one discipline immediately after high school the wisest choice?
For those who don’t want to find themselves stuck in a single-career track, the liberal arts offers a strategic alternative. Through studying subjects like logic, philosophy, history, and literature, this time-tested approach teaches students how to think and cultivates within them valuable “transferrable skills.” Critical thinking, effective writing, persuasive speaking, problem-solving, analysing, and translating raw data into a coherent argument—these are skills that foster success in almost any career. The liberal arts is thus not a tool for any single job but a key to unlocking many.
A liberal arts undergraduate degree also allows students more time to identify their interests, passions and strengths before choosing a specialty area at the masters degree level. It can thus help them to be confident that the area they specialise in is right for them. Because many students jump into a career pathway immediately after high school—which they had to begin choosing as early as Year 10—they often end up changing their minds part-way through their studies. One in five uni students drops out or changes their first-year course.
That reminds me of another Yogi Berra quote:
In this season of preparation, it’s worth thinking seriously about the kind of future for which students should be preparing. It ain’t what it used to be. To find out how a liberal arts education at the Millis Institute can broaden your options (and shape you as a thinker), see details about CHC's Next Steps event below.
Make a Difference for a Millis Student
In this season of giving, would you like to help a student strategically prepare for the future?
The Millis Institute does not receive government funding, which means we rely on the generosity of individuals who value this unique kind of Christian education. We're seeking partners who are willing to invest in the lives of young people studying at the Institute.
A gift of $25-$50 can help us buy books or continue special traditions like hosting a lecture series and regular “formal hall” dinners.
A gift of $250 or more can help make a liberal arts education more affordable for students in need.
A special gift of any amount can also help a deserving student participate in a 5-week intensive at Oxford. (We have students who would like to represent the Millis Institute at Oxford, but who cannot afford this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.)
May I ask you to consider joining with us by making a tax-deductible gift to the Millis Institute? You can give quickly and easily online here. We greatly appreciate any support you can provide.