This week I was mildly amazed at a story that more people had applied to go on the latest series of Love Island than had applied to Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The actual score was 85,000 to Love Island and 35,000 to Oxbridge!
My first thought was that we were now living in a parallel universe or that life had become one big reality game show. But the more I thought about it the more I wondered if it was because we had failed our young people or if the young people knew more than we did.
It is not our young people but manipulating adults that have tried to convince the public that appearing on a reality show can lead to immeasurable fame and fortune.
What they don’t tell the young people is that the winners have probably already been found before the auditions and will either have had significant previous exposure or be related to other successful stars. The reality auditions are for show and to find the silly ones they can reject in order to make good TV.
Equally, it is adults that take the winners of these shows and, because so many people watch them, sign up big advertising and endorsement contracts with them.
So now adults have created an image where anyone (!) can be a TV star and have sex in front of millions of viewers before earning an absolute fortune, get invites to events and become a success (!) without ever having any talent other than their ability to attract someone of the opposite sex.
But what about the other side of the equation? What about the lower numbers of people applying to Oxbridge? Could it be that young people have wised up to the fact that university is hard work and doesn’t guarantee a good job at the end of it; that university creates debt and that post university jobs often don’t require a degree.
Do these people realise that, although their non-university friends may have got a lower paid job at 18 years old, by the time they too reach 21 years old they have experience, have been promoted and may well be supervising the graduate!
So, although I started with the idea that two statistics were connected, perhaps there is no correlation at all. Perhaps the first one is simply the result of gullible young people responding to the lies of adults. Perhaps the university statistic is more about the foresight of young people when planning for a 21st Century future.
Perhaps the only real connection is that young people only accepted on of the lies!