I recently overheard two young women, both around 19 years old debating between themselves whether they should apply to study next year or continue doing the promotions work they do.  They love the promotions work because it pays them more than they know, around R3,000.00 per month and they feel they can earn more as they position themselves to become influencers.  They were watching a YouTube by a South African influencer who was sharing how she earns more than R50,000.00 as an influencer, these two young ladies went crazy at the thought that they could earn such “easy” money just by building a following on Instagram by looking good, looks easy right?  They missed the part that this particular influencer has a Bcom degree.  An interesting tidbit, quite a few of the successful influencers we see on Instagram actually have degrees.

I wanted to jump in and say “young sis, please stay go to school!”  Even Kim Kardashian is studying towards a Law Degree because she wants to be taken seriously, and she is already worth at least $300million and moved from being an influencer to being an owner of a brand!

It is mid-year and around the time when universities will be closing soon, have you decided what you will be studying in 2020?  Or which skill you want to learn in 2020? This could be a new design programme you will learn over YouTube, or learning to DJ so you can do gigs over the weekend and flex your love for music even though your day job keeps you in a stiff corporate environment.  In this day and age we need to multi-task not only to make more money but to be happy and do the things we love that keep us inspired.

I have a degree and I have been working in the media sector for a couple years and I am still studying part-time towards my Honour’s Degree in Media Studies at UNISA and I plan to study towards my Master’s Degree! I think it is safe to assume that a Master’s Degree is the new degree in the competitive work environment, well at least in some sectors.  I also write on the side to earn more money and to do something I really love, which is to write and express my opinion.

The University of Cambridge, Oxford University, Harvard, Berkeley, Yale. These are some of the most Influential, well-known and excellent universities in the world. These are some of the universities we strive to go to, well I am still striving towards. I read about how most of the people I admire, who are amongst the most well educated people in our country and around the world, have attended these universities and they are today some of the most well-respected people. Universities like these speak of class, excellence and a certain kind of education we can only dream of, but importantly going to a good university gets you access and gets you into a network that makes moving up in life easier.  I myself have the hopes and dreams of entering institutions like these. However, none of this can be achieved without a good education or rather foundation.

It doesn’t matter where you start from.  This is a journey which begins in pre-school, and continues through to middle, and high school. It may not seem like the value of education is much right now, but every step of the way counts on the road to being a successful individual who is in control of their destiny. Education plays a vital role to a productive and good life. It improves your value and  and adds meaning to life. A good education, especially in the South African and African context, eliminates poverty  and the trappings that come with poverty, especially in a female lead household where you would be the main bread winner. This is a high likelihood in South Africa.  By achieving a good education, you can get a good job which pays you enough to be able to live a satisfactory life. The education you gain coupled with experience makes it easier for you to climb up the ladder of success, whatever field you choose.  Education is an important tool for total emancipation for women.  Women have to work twice as hard as men to climb up the corporate ladder and black women have to work thrice as hard, and this is easier if you have an education.

Achieving an education also plays a role on you wanting to be a good parent. Research has shown that mothers who have gone to school have healthier, better-nourished children, who are most likely to succeed.  Also, most successful women who go through school and end up having a successful career including marriage have fewer kids, therefore have improved parental care. Education augments the ability of families to handle health issues and as an educated female you are able to advise your family on health concerns.

Education can open opportunities especially for women, this means women have the power to climb the work environment ladder one degree at a time. It does not always happen that way though however women who are educated stand a good chance in being recognised. It’s kind of sad that women always must prove themselves especially in the workplace and always must work twice as hard to be recognised but this is the society, we live in. Which is why we can never stop striving to being on top, we can never stop learning, growing and most importantly educating ourselves, especially in this work environment where technology is always changing and new knowledge develop.  Being educated means it is easier for you to learn new things and new ways.

Education also gives you confidence and provides us with the things we need to partake in today’s world.  I love the example of Nomzamo Mbatha who still worked towards completing her degree so that she can be respected as a business woman and also get into other ectors and not just entertaiment.  Education makes us more independent and aware of what is going on in the world today, along with the awareness of opportunities and rights. It offers a greater understanding and power which we need to carry on. It gives us a sense of confidence to go for what we want.

Further education is a fundamental element to ensure success in one’s life. Having some sort of education be it a certificate, a diploma or degree is a huge achievement on its own but don’t let it stop there. I have always had this conscious feeling regarding studying further. When I finished my BA in Corporate Communication a lot of people around me advised me to carry on, they advised me not to take a gap year, now let’s be clear our situations in life are not the same. Be sure of what you want to do and if you are not sure what you want to study, do take the necessary time you need to figure that out but do not delay too long.

Some stats and research by the department of business innovation skills shows the different reasons of why people decide to studying further such as  the main reasons for embarking on further education are economically related: 40% of learners (44% of men and 38% of women) cited economic or job-related reasons for wanting to study further . Of this number, more than seven in ten (72%) undertook further studying to either improve their job prospects or gain a new career; while 15% of these suggested that the primary reason related to improving their ability of education is because their current job. 23% mentioned a personal interest in the course, while 16% of these mentioned that they were undertaking the qualification in order to progress onto a higher level of education and training.  Less than 3% of all learners mentioned ‘meeting new people’ or ‘building self- confidence’ as the primary reason for engaging in further studying.

As stated above there are many more reasons why people decide to study further. Studying further doesn’t always mean enrolling in a formal degree, you can improve skills and education by learning on YouTube for instance.  My argument is that it is important to keep learning and improving your skills to not only remain competitive but also for your own freedom.  In the growing gig economy where we can be free to choose the work we want and work from anywhere in the world, it is even more imperative to keep your skills and knowledge set up because we now compete globally and not locally.