‘When you’re at school, you look forward to graduating and you want to work – at least that’s how I felt. Most parents then say: once you start working, you’ll wish you were back at school! But how much truth is there in that?
Now that I am doing an apprenticeship, I can judge for myself. I have to say that I went to a very pleasant school: I had great friends, no particularly ‘bad’ teachers and my class enjoyed excellent solidarity where nobody was bullied. In spite of this, by the end I had simply had enough of going to school every day and listening to the teachers. In short: the closer I came to finishing school, the more everything there annoyed me. For that reason I greatly looked forward to the apprenticeship. And justifiably so: even the first day was great! I got on very well with my fellow apprentices and we cracked jokes and laughed a lot. After the first week, we were assigned to departments and to this day it has remained a lot of fun. However, an apprenticeship is very different to everyday life at secondary school.
Days are longer than at school
At secondary school, it was a long day if you had classes until 12.40 p.m. It was an extremely long day if you also had afternoon classes until 3.20 p.m. Now it’s an entirely normal day for me to be ‘at school’ from 7.50 a.m. to 5.35 p.m. I usually only get home at 6.30 p.m. However, the final three hours are voluntary lessons to earn additional qualifications for entry into a university of applied sciences. I do that so I will be able to go to university in the future. Even normal days at work are longer than school days.
Anyone who thinks that you won’t have to learn as much after leaving secondary school is in for a rude awakening: quite the opposite applies, at least when studying for additional qualifications. For example, the requirements in maths increase dramatically here. However, my friends who are now attending social sciences college are in the same boat. I earned my secondary school leaving certificate with good grades – even though I only studied half as much as I do now. That’s because you don’t repeat topics as often at school, due to the fact that you only have the class once a week.
Variety is the spice of life
It is great to have so much variety: I used to spend every day with the same people and the same subjects. Today I alternate between learning and work, and there’s always something new.
For example, I am currently in the apprenticeship department. Other apprentices and students are always arriving here, who you then work with. It is also greatly different in that you are not just together with people of the same age.
Another aspect which I prefer over school is the high level of independence: you are given a task and a certain time frame in which to do it. You can then plan when you want to do it. Of course, you also receive apprenticeship pay which allows you to stop being so financially dependent on your parents. Since starting the apprenticeship, I have no longer had to stay at home due to a lack of funds.
More money for going out – but less desire to do so
The only thing I miss about secondary school is that I no longer see my friends as often. That’s because after work, I’m often too tired to go out. Even at the weekends I now prefer staying at home.
Despite this, my conclusion is unequivocal: The decision to start an apprenticeship was not just the most important decision of my life – it was also the best one.