After Compulsory Education, What Next? - A Reflection
A conversation with Gavin - Uwem Mbot Umana
Gavin looked at his GCSE result for the 10th time. He had done well in most of his subjects. What else could he have asked for. For the core subjects of English math and science, he had aced them.
There was celebration in the air and of course for those students who did not do too well, they were disappointed. History was made in England. This was the first time that students had gotten their GCSE grades without a formal written exam. The voice of teachers spoke for them. Their past achievements spoke for them. Since GCSE had evolved from course work to purely 100% exams output, most students had sort of taken things for granted. Some had even felt that prior to the exams they would step up their game and make it in the finals. Alas, unprecedented times arrived and altered earlier thought processes and the assessment system had to rely on prior data, which reminds me of machine Learning. Machine Learning is all about using prior data and a lot of data to predict or forecast outcomes to very high level of accuracy. So, the more and richer data, a machine is exposed to, the higher the accuracy in predicting outcomes. The GCSE results was based on all the previous data of the students - mock results, class assessments, termly assessments, teachers’ sense of professional judgement, etc. The richer the data input, the more accurate the prediction. In fact, even attitude to learning was considered. A student may have been ill when a mock exam was written but in other assessments if he had done well, that student would not be in a state of disadvantage.
Gavin sat under the Oak tree and kept peering into space when I walked past him.
“Hey Gavin, how did it go?”
“I guess alright” he responded
“Why just alright? “
“Well, because I'm not too sure what I want to do now. “
“You wanna go to college?”
“Not really. College is not my thing.”
“Well, what’s your thing then?”
“I want to make money. But I guess I'm just a little worried about the fact that I don't really have much support. Don't get me wrong my foster parents have been tremendous.”
I walked closer to him.
“Can I have a look at your result?”
Gavin passed the paper over to me.
I spent about a minute looking at the document and could not understand why Gavin wasn’t looking that great.
“But this is an awesome result” I said to Gavin.
“Yes, I know.”
“So, what's the problem about going to college then.”
“That's exactly my point. I don't wanna go to college.”
“Okay, what do you want to do?”
“Like I said, I want to make money. But don’t know how.”
“I tell you what.”
“Why don't you take a gap year. Work, get some experience, make some money, and then try to figure out what you would like to do. If you really want to make some money, then you don’t need to bother about going to uni and if you feel like, you know what, I want to go to uni, there is still ample opportunity for you.”
“Going to University these days is awfully expensive, especially when you think of the student’s loan and all other expenses. It all adds up and if you happened to do a course, you probably didn't like, you would end up regretting it, in addition to having to pay all that money back.”
“Makes sense. Makes total sense. I would definitely consider that Mr. Umana. Thanks a mill.”
“Another thing is? For you to be successful in making money. What you need is idea. If you can ramp up a couple of ideas up your sleeves, then you are on your way to success.”
“I have got a couple of ideas. But no one seems to care about my ideas. They dismiss it.”
“That makes it even more authentic. Because it is your idea. It is not their idea. You own it. You are the driver. When once you take ownership of the idea, you find out that, that is exactly what you need.”
“I see. But where do I start from?”
“Do you have a phone?”
“Yes, I do. That is where you start from. Search your ideas. Look for information about your ideas, see how you could churn your ideas into money, into revenue. Look at companies, look at people who have had that line of idea before and see how they were able to convert the ideas into business opportunities and replicate the model for yourself.”
“Mr. Umana, what you said has made so much sense to me. Thanks so much.”
Reflections on the conversation
In design thinking when business analysts are solving problems, there is what they call the ideation stage. This is the stage where ideas are ramped up from different stakeholders towards solving an existent problem or creating new opportunities for generating revenue or improving business. The ideation stage is so important because it forms the raw material for creating the different options for the solution. The greatest raw material ever needed is ideas. That is what has produced the greatest feat in life today.
Everything always starts with a thought, an idea and from there, it expands, grows, and evolves. If the Wright brothers were awakened from the grave today. They would be in total shock at what their initial idea of wanting to fly has produced. Man has shot into space, man has sent unmanned craft to mars, supersonic planes have been built, military jet fighters have been built, big jumbo planes that can carry up to 500 people have been built, Antolovs have been built from that simple idea of man wanting to fly. You could take a bath in the sky, watch TV, talk to someone on the ground, etc. phenomenal!
Like Mark Zuckerberg once said, an idea is not fully formed when birthed. Give room for your idea to unfold and grow.
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