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It’s a tired sentiment that moody teens think they know everything and that adults actually know best. Of course, it’s a trope for a reason and kids do make a lot of mistakes (because we’re supposed to) but there are also moments when adults have been immensely, unequivocally, and irreparably wrong and given us some terrible advice.

Realistically, parents and other so called ‘responsible’ adults are operating from a place of genuine emotion, the only problem is sometimes that emotion is fear. Or the facts and experiences they’re drawing from are outdated and only relevant to them when they were at school. Or they haven’t actually done any research. Okay, maybe there’s more than just one problem.


Here’s a few of the worst pieces of advice we heard in high school, and why they’re terrible advice:

1. University is the only path to success

A lot of the time we’re only given one option for what we should do after high school, and it’s to go to university. This is despite the fact that academic pursuits are simply not what we’re all best suited to, and getting a degree isn’t completely secure any more; it’s costly and it doesn’t guarantee you a job.


2. If you take time off you’ll never go back to studying

The amount of times I heard this said to students who wanted a bit of time off to work or travel is insane. While I can understand where it’s coming from the truth is if you really don’t want to jump straight into a course or degree after high school, you shouldn’t force yourself to do it just because you’re scared of losing your momentum.

Either you’ll work/travel/take some time off and decide that studying is something you want to go back to (and then you can enrol in something). Or, you decide that you actually really enjoy not having to stress about assignments or exams and would like to do something that doesn’t require you to hit the books again (there’s plenty of options). This one ties into the ‘uni is the only path to success’ but once we realise that this is total nonsense, and there’s plenty of other pathways out there, we can see that studying isn’t the be all and end all of everyone’s life and it’s okay if you never step foot in a ‘formal’ classroom again.


3. Gap years are a waste of time

Going through 12 consecutive years of school is seriously tiring, and we deserve a break if we want one. Unfortunately, parents are still scared  when it comes to time off and there’s this overwhelming sense that their kids must be failures if they want to travel for a bit before carrying on with life. In reality, gap years are no longer really ‘gaps’ in personal development, in that young people grow in ways that are near impossible if you just stayed at home and went straight into further study. You learn to take care of yourself, to figure out what it is you want in life, get some valuable work experience, or even learn a language. Plus, research has shown that it can even improve your grades.


4. Apprenticeships are for ‘dumb’ kids

We know that some of you who are doing apprenticeships get a lot of slag about it. Some of you are getting it from friends, or parents- sometimes it’s your teachers that are pushing you away from the apprenticeship pathway.

But if you do a bit of research into it (and trust us, we’ve done a lot) there are a heap of high paying jobs and cool careers you can get, by going down the apprenticeship pathway. While these pathways involve more practical and hands on learning – it doesn’t mean the people doing them are any less intelligent or that they’re ‘dumb’.


5. We need to stop taking social media so seriously

This goes for anything computer or technology based. How many times did our parents tell us to get off our devices and to do something that was actually useful for our careers? As it turns out, social and digital media has become absolutely ubiquitous in our lives, and is one of the fastest growing industries in the technology sector. There are jobs that exist today that could not have even been conceived of when our parents were young, and a lot of them are to do with that one skill we’ve been developing since we developed Twitter fingers: getting those likes.

At the end of the day, our parents do have our best interests at heart, but everyone has to recognise that the job market and social landscape has changed so much since they were going through what we are now. Listen to them and love them, but know that sometimes their advice is not hitting the target!