You may be wondering about the title of this blog entry.
So, what are champagne dreams you ask?
Well, I came up with the term to describe the aspirations of my students. A toast often follows the attainment of dreams, especially those that may not be visibly in the initial stages of planning. The ultimate toasting beverage is champagne, which can be quite an expensive commodity to purchase especially if you reside in the Caribbean [inflation, price gouging and all].
Everyone has a dream school. Or to be more general, for those thinking about college/university, there is a school they would love to attend. It is natural to reach for the stars. In some cases, reaching for the stars takes us beyond what is visibly achievable or practical. Is that so wrong?
What I have learned over the years is that everyone’s idea of ‘dream school’ is relative. For example, Harvard isn’t everyone’s ultimate dream school. Ivy league schools may be ideal for some; however, a dream school is quite subjective and varies at the individual level.
While dreams are encouraged there is always room for pragmatism and logic. There are cases where the bigger picture should be at the forefront of decision making. In other words, higher education should make career sense, financial sense and academic sense.
I’m reminded of when a certain school in Washington D.C (and no, not Howard University), was my dream school. This school became my dream school because I stayed on campus as part of a summer program I attended. I loved everything I saw and experienced there. It became the dream. However, in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t the right fit based on my own circumstances. I did achieve my dream of studying abroad but it wasn’t at this school nor was it in Washington D.C. I attended a smaller school that was better known for the field of study I had chosen, where there were greater opportunities for internships and was one plane ride away from home. My parents were equally ecstatic when they saw it was significantly lower than the ‘dream’ choice. Looking back now, logic and pragmatism prevailed for me in the end without taking away from the bigger goal.
Education is a tool that should be used to gain knowledge and skills from which one can create a livelihood. These days, whatever knowledge and skills obtained should be versatile enough to allow someone to create different revenue streams. Therefore, an investment in education in education should bring equal and/or greater return.
Here are some questions in pursuit of your champagne dreams:
It’s the best way to describe the months following my last blog post. On top of a very crazy schedule, I was suffering from writer’s block. Trust me; it wasn’t that I lacked a topic to write about. It was the exact opposite. There were too many issues and matters that I wanted to touch and the overstimulation of multiple thoughts resulted in a long-term block. This year was not short of issues and matters that resonated with me. Many of which resulted in several internal mental discussions and in some cases full blown debates. One issue that stomped me on several occasions was the Barbados Secondary Entrance Examination, better known as ‘The Common Entrance’.
"Well my cousin in Canada said that……" or "My friend's son did this…and this happened"… are typical statements often echoed when discussing schools, programs and/or study destinations. . Usually, such stories are shared in hopes of achieving a similar outcome. However, quite often, these stories are relayed with little to no context.
One common scenario is the scholarship story; where persons heard of someone that received multiple scholarships. This blanket statement is provided with little to no supporting story lines. I have often found that there is always more to the story. For example, the student had a different citizenship or residency status making them eligible for more scholarships or the person was an athlete and the scholarships were worked out internally with the school or the scholarships were from different schools and were not full etc. There is always context. This has taught me that people are more attuned to the outcome but never well versed in the process.
With the new year upon us, the talk of change often comes as persons look to revive, revamp and/or renew. Right here in Barbados, change and reform has been part of the ongoing dialogue following the historic 2018 general elections. Barbadians are facing constant changes; some pleasing while others have been a hard to chew on.
"Have you visited the school?" is a common question asked by those seeking college/university counselling and placement support. Being able to answer this question positively helps to assure a student and/or parent as well as to instill confidence in the advice provided.
It is not possible to see every school in the world but as an advisor, it is important to have a high degree of familiarity with colleges and universities. What is also important, is having some familiarity with the country of interest, its education system, people, culture and customs to ensure advising is comprehensive and holistic.
The release of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination and the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate results across Barbados and other participating CARICOM Member States is a highly anticipated period during the summer holidays. Firstly, it marks the official end of summer for students (and educators) and secondly, students can now decide on their next steps. Be it, Sixth form, college, university, work or whether they have to go back to the drawing board.
Do you have questions about the college and university process?
Send us your queries.