The Whirlwind came back from school last Friday and put a piece of paper in front of me. "It's about what subjects I do next year. I have to talk to you and my Dad."
"Well you know about things like this, maybe more than he does and anyway he will tell me to talk to you too."
I read through the information. It is alarming. There is apparently a need to start making subject choices that will affect your career choices even before you reach the tender age of twelve. It is not a huge choice at this level but it will still mean choosing. In two years time there will be very big choices to be made, choices that will set the path to university or not university and then science, languages or the arts.
The school the Whirlwind attends has an excellent range of subjects but I had not realised you had to make a choice quite so soon. Does she continue with French or start Japanese? Does she do Special Maths or just Maths? Does she continue with Latin or do more Science?
For the Whirlwind that answers are simple. She loves French and is learning Italian. Japanese does not appeal in the same way. Maths is not her favourite subject. It is tolerated rather than enjoyed. Latin wins hands down over more Science. Science is "okay but messy and smelly". She is definitely a languages and arts student and always has been.
On Monday night, because her father was on one of his frequent trips to Canberra, I talked to her at school. She had passed in her subject choices for next year and her form teacher had apparently asked if she was sure about them.
"She asked me what I would do with them when I leave school and I told her I want to go to university. She said that was all right but what would I do with them after that. I still don't know. Does it matter? It's what I like. What's going to university for if you can't do what you want to do?"
It's a big question. What is university for? Nowadays it seems to be all about your future career rather than about learning.
I told her not to worry and she can talk to her father when he comes home. I also said there were a great many possible careers for someone who is very good indeed at languages.
But the question remains, what is a university for? Would any reader of this blog care to enlighten me?