Waste of time? Here's why you really need to go to school

It may be a drag but formal education is vital to achieve success

12 January 2020 - 00:00 By Nikki Bush
It's necessary to get formal schooling to get a matric and pursue interests you like.
It's necessary to get formal schooling to get a matric and pursue interests you like.
Image: Keith Tamkei

The new school year has just begun. For some kids it's exciting, for others it's a yawn, but for many it comes with a hefty dose of anxiety. What's it for you? Is school a waste of time, something you're forced to do? Here's the thing though: you still have to go.

The "system" requires you experience formal schooling to get a matric which will give you access to something that will finally interest you. That's not going to change soon. Instead of seeing school as a punishment, try see it as something that's on your way, not in your way.

Have new experiences with different people. Engage with different content to discover your interests, strengths and weaknesses (different subjects, sporting or cultural experiences). Have different experiences (sitting in a classroom, working in a laboratory, standing on a stage, being part of a sports team, going on school camps or tours, making friends).

School also gives you opportunities to learn more than you already know, to understand how the world works, to set goals and achieve them in a safe environment and to learn how to socialise, live in and adapt to a system.

And it makes you numerate and literate, a necessity for employability - if you can read, anything is possible. Being employable requires effort and sticking to the task at hand (even those things you don't like or enjoy).


Success is based on three things: developing skills, doing the work and having a kickass attitude.

Success is a personal choice - only you can make you happy and successful. The earlier you understand that, the better.

On a positive note, being back with mates is fun - use it to learn how to get along with others. Be interested and interesting because your net worth in the future will depend on your network. We choose to do business with people we know and trust.

Build a network of friends, family and professionals who you can talk to if you feel anxious - a real social network, not the online variety. When we need emotional support it's best to connect face-to-face with real people.

Embrace a new beginning and the new adventures that come with a new year.

The author of this article, Nikki Bush, is a human potential and parenting expert, speaker and bestselling author of 'Future-proof Your Child for the 2020s and beyond' (Penguin Random House, 2019). 

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