While drinking my coffee this morning, reading William Shakespeare’s biography, I caught myself thinking how great it would have been if I have had the opportunity to enroll in English literature module in my university. However, since I study Tourism and HRM I am rather restricted in my choice of optional modules, which as I feel, in some way suppresses my curiosity and intellectual cravings. I do not want to turn this post into a complaint against the educational system or in any way into a criticism against my university; I just want to present an idea of mine, born from my own experience and personal searchings.
I think it all started when I finished high school and had to decide what I want to study in university. It was one of the most terrifying moments in my life as I felt as if that decision would determine my entire future, and to be honest I was not mentally prepared to make it. The thing is, after 12 years of education I was still not sure in which field I wanted to advance since at the same time I had (and I still have) interests in Drama, Journalism, Literature, Travel and Tourism. The idea of choosing only one side of my personality seemed horrible. I was torn between “Theatre studies” and “Tourism management” months before applying, wondering whether to sign out for something that I am passionate about but I am not sure whether I have future in or something I found secure yet not as appealing as the other. I do not think now I have made a wrong choice since it turns out I consider my program quite suitable for me, yet as I said in the beginning I would love to have a chance to receive some academic knowledge in the other fields I am interested in.
That is how I came up with the idea of the optional “Discovery year” in the higher education. During it students would have the chance to enroll in modules from the different study spheres they are keen on in order to be able to make up their mind. This way they would be able to base their decision on deeper academic experience, which is different from the hobby side of things. Nevertheless, I say optional year because I suppose for most people 12 years even less than that were enough for them to decide whether they want to save whales, run companies, write computer codes, protect the innocent or simply search for a cure for AIDS. Yet there might be some curious and confused souls who as me want to give it a try to more than one thing before settling down in one subject. It is almost like the love life, some people find their true love in 1st grade, other go through a couple of relationships before meeting the one.
Since I am not an expert in running a university or creating programs, I am not quite sure at what lengths my idea is possible in practice, yet as the old English proverb says “If there is a will, there is a way”.