Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  Their attitudes and beliefs are what you are around most and you start to think the same way they do.  So it’s hardly surprising that Brunel University research says that if you’re the first in your family/group of friends to go to University, you’ll influence those around you. You become a role model. It’s related to beliefs.  You hear people saying, “I could never do that,” or “people like me don’t …,” although there’s no good reason why not. Once someone near you has done something it becomes more achievable.  So what does your son or daughter inspire others to do? Imagine if, instead of becoming a car mechanic, your son aspires to be an aeronautical engineer? What would happen if your daughter decided that instead of leaving school to go straight to work, she chose to get a degree in business studies and start her own business? How about your games-obsessed son deciding to take it a step further into a degree in computer aided design and games graphics? The sky is the limit – if your child dares to dream and is prepared to do the work to achieve that dream.

The domino effect

It’s not unusual when the eldest child in a family wins a university place, the younger siblings follow on, even if the parents have not been to university. The eldest child paves the way and other family members follow.  In fact, it’s not unheard of for the success of a student to inspire a parent to revisit their schooldays and get the qualifications to go to university (or Open University) as a mature student!

How can you support your child?

If your child has dreams, encourage them to turn them into reality.  Let them build a future that will influence their younger brothers and sisters (and perhaps close friends and cousins too). Talk to them about their aspirations and provide the support they need to achieve the qualifications they need, to lead the way for others.  You never know, if you didn’t do a degree, you might even find yourself hitting the books and opening up a new future too!