By Orsi Parkanyi, published in Shoestring Startups on July 11, 2012
Since when being smart and educated have become something to be ashamed of, while dropping out of uni and being unable to solve basic maths have become something to be proud of? What did I miss?
I am seeing a change in the entrepreneurial space lately that is far from appealing. As much as I can appreciate the struggles universities go through to keep up with the strain of fast progressing technology – and many fail – I disagree with those who advocate that getting a university degree is useless and unnecessary. And there seem to be a growing number of them!
Personally, I’m extremely supportive of educating young people on entrepreneurship and life skills, but being an influence (or acting like one) is a huge responsibility that is often overlooked. Education should be all about choices. Hearing the great advice “don’t go to uni if you want to be a successful entrepreneur” from somebody who dropped out of uni, well, does stink a little bit to me.
The other day I came across with a very basic math problem on Facebook. It goes like this: 2×2+2×2+2-2×2 = ? To my biggest surprise, finding the solution to this primitive exercise proved to be rather difficult and challenging to many… When I got into the conversation and established that there was only one answer to this equation, which was 6 – obviously!! – I was told off by another (high profile!) woman business owner, who was struggling with the exercise as well, that my mindset and thinking was ‘wrong’! “There is never only one correct answer Orsi. The solution depends on how you read it”
Without trying to judge anyone based on their capabilities to add up basic numbers, this surreal experience really made me wonder. The suggestion was insulting: I should feel bad about being good at maths, or having spent 10 years at several different universities around the globe and getting many degrees? I have a “wrong” mindset? I should be ashamed of enjoying studying and learning about all the beauties Science has to offer? It is easy to say to people “don’t go to uni” if you have never attended one, but I know (having attended many) that you are missing out on some great experiences, powerful knowledge and amazing connections buddy! Having said that, I understand that going to uni is not the right path for everybody, but it is worth looking at both sides of the coin before we make our decision.
Not everybody is lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family or a great country like Australia! Some of us are pushed to find other ways to break out and one great way is though education! If it wasn’t for university scholarships, amazing professors who were role models and my upbringing that thought me to value studying, good grades and competition, I would not be living in this country now, and I would not be becoming a successful entrepreneur. I would have missed out on a life that I treasure so much over here, and Australia would have missed out on ‘Orsi Parkanyi’ too.
University scholarships gave me my chance to see the world and gave me freedom to be somebody who can understand and deal with complex issues in the world such as politics, environmental issues or poverty. I know that living the life I always wanted and my deep desire to empower people will enable me to change the World one day for the better! Getting a university degree is an amazing accomplishment you should be proud of! Thinking is powerful. Getting and sharing the knowledge is powerful. Don’t ever let anybody stop you from being proud of your unique, amazing mindset, your achievements and being smart & educated!