I’m Rachael. I’ve been working with Cymbrogi Futures for eight months, alongside my studies and am writing this blog post about why everyone needs Cymbrogi in their lives.
I graduated from university with a BA in Spanish. Much like many fresh-graduates, I was left feeling lost with no clue what to do next and, frankly, conned by the education system. With hindsight, I was frustrated at my sixth form’s hammering of ‘academia-or-nothing’ attitudes. Their encouraging university seemed to stem from their desperation to boast about their "successful students" statistics, rather than what was the best path for the individual.
Luckily, I found a master’s programme (Sustainable Development) that helped me find the career path I'd like to take. I discovered courses such as this exist after hitchhiking through Europe the summer of graduation. I met bunch of climate activists and academics, all studying similar master’s degrees. Random, I know, which proves my point that this journey of self- and academic- discovery should be by design rather than by accident. Had we been encouraged to learn about real world problems; or received some guidance on how to introspect and find what’s important to us; or been around tutors that cared about the individual rather than the college’s stats, perhaps this journey could have been a little more straightforward, much cheaper and left me (and many others) better prepared.
It feels as though we’re on this conveyor belt of school-college-university, and to what end? We're left with crippling debt and unprepared for the jobs we’ll end up working. Indeed, 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist1. There seems to be a short-termism within the education system that fails to prepare us to face real-world challenges and for real-world careers.
This is why I truly believe that grassroots projects like Cymbrogi Futures are so important to the development of not just our pupils, but future society. Cymbrogi helps children learn about themselves, what’s important to them, and to be assuredly authentic. Cymbrogi helps open childrens’ eyes to the problems they will face, and equips them with the tools to be able to solve them. Cymbrogi teaches sustainability and circularity. Cymbrogi nurtures creativity and innovation; mindfulness and wellbeing; resilience and confidence.
A recent conversation with an old school friend, who is now going through her teacher training, reminded me of how much times are changing. We left (a relatively progressive) secondary school just 7 years ago, and already recognise how outdated much of the content was and discussed the lessons we wish we’d have learned. From mindfulness, creativity, climate change, to resilience and self-worth.
I could go on, but countless "things I wish I knew when I was 15" blogs already exist. Which goes to show tonnes of people are desperate to communicate these inspirational messages. It frustrates me that these very teachable messages are not communicated widely enough in schools and this is why I believe we all have a Cymbrogi-shaped hole in our hearts – Cymbrogi brings together teachers and practitioners who are equal parts frustrated and inspired. Cymbrogi equips the pioneering teachers to be the change-makers in their individual schools and teach these future-shaping lessons.
Finally, with stakeholders such as the School of System Change, London Interdisciplinary School or Schumacher College, the consistency is there. A path is paved. The transitions from schools to colleges, from colleges to universities, make more sense. "To what end?" is answered.