- Monday, 29 June 2015 -

Is University for You?

Hello you lovely lot! Before we get stuck into todays post, I want to offer you all my sincerest apologies for leaving you quite high and dry this past while. Producing regular blog posts has proven quite difficult since I stated my little internship, but fear not dear readers, as you can't get rid of me that easily! It feels that from a very young age, children are coerced into attending university to extend their education in the hope of propelling their future prospects.

At an age where you barely know who you are let alone what university you want to go to, it's important to evaluate all the options available to you before plummeting head first into a decision you might end up regretting. Investing in your future is a scary prospect and my pathway to university didn't come without its ups and downs, so here's my story...

For me, university was always one of those things so far off in the distance that I could simply put it to the back of my mind and worry about it later. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family where as long as I was happy and healthy, that was all that mattered, however with the good comes the bad and without any pressure from my parents consequently came a lack of direction. By age 20, I still hadn't a clue what I wanted to do with my life and it was only when I took matters into my own hands and started scoping out possible pathways and courses, that I really found my feet.

Wanting to delve into something media-related (as I had studied a BTEC media course at college), I had applied to 5 Russell Group universities and had gotten accepted into them all. However, it wasn't until I realised that design is where my true passion lay, that the panic had began to set in. So, I tentatively took the decision to reject my offers and go through Clearing, which turned out to be the best thing I'd ever done. Clearing is infamous for being categorised as the stressful limbo between university courses which students flock to in desperation if they've been rejected from their chosen university of just want a change, like me. So, even in the darkest of situations, a ray of hope can light your way. So, in saying that, let me list a few reasons for you as to why people tend to go to university...

Because you need a degree to get a job: This is probably the most prominent misconception about attending university, whilst yes, it does improve your chances of gaining a job, it should never be perceived as your one-way ticket to employment. On the other end of the spectrum, some people who have specialised degrees don't always get into their desired field of work, or soon after leaving university, realise that it's not what the want to do at all. I've witnessed this first hand from a friends experience who obtained a degree in media, worked at a radio station for X amount of years making a steady salary, only to realise that it simply wasn't for her anymore. So, hellbent on achieving happiness, she went on to do a 10 week teaching course at a local college. After finishing, she went for her first teaching interview (to put into practice her new skills) and came out with the job! All because of her passion and perseverance, which is exactly why a degree should never be viewed as the be all and end all.

Everyone else is doing it: Did you know that almost 1 in 4 students drop out of university in their first year? Society drums in the prospect of university as soon as we start sitting exams as it appears to be the only route to becoming a successful human being. At the tender age of 18, can you really know what you want to do with the rest of your life when it just seems so much easier to follow the crowd and hope that you'll grow to like your course. However, I have many friends who became nurses, dental assistants, teachers and designers all without the help of a degree, and to be completely honest, I'd trade places with their steady jobs and debt-free lives any day! It takes an enormous amount of confidence and courage to go against the grain and do something different but always try to keep in mind that university simply isn't for everyone - and that's okay.

To experience the student lifestyle: As soon as September creeps around the corner, there's a distinct influx of students roaming the streets, prepping themselves for Freshers, otherwise known as a students quintessential rite of passage. University life is often linked to dining of nothing but beer and Pot Noodles as you squander your student loan, not so glamorous, eh? Although if you do come out alive at the other end, you will have gained a handful of invaluable experiences: like having met a colourful array of new people or learning the true value of hard work as you come out with that coveted 2:1. Leaving home for the first time can result in a mixture of emotions, it may be exciting liberating yourself from your parents, but trust me, it's scary as well. Migrating from the family nest can be a lonely adjustment to get used to but you'll soon find your independence as you get out there meeting new people and making memories.

Going to University - Pros: 
  The freedom of moving away from home for the first time
  Having a better chance at achieving your dream job if you have a degree in it
  Meeting new people and making new friends
  Experiencing Freshers i.e. the craziest time of your life
  Gaining more skills and growing your independence

Going to University - Cons:
  Facing the fact that you'll be in a lot of debt by the end of it all
  You'll be out of your comfort zone and in a new environment 
  Having a degree doesn't always equate to a job
  It can delay your experience of the real world
  It can be quite hard adjusting to the university lifestyle

  1. I start university in September so this was a really helpful and honest insight, thank you! I'm actually staying at home to go to university however, I just decided that for me it was a much cheaper option! x

    Toni x

  2. Con: If you're not fortunate enough to have support from your parents, money can be a real struggle. When I look back at Uni, it was the worst time of my life but also the best. It definitely taught me a lot of life skills and I loved my course. I also met my best friends there but I also made a lot of enemies haha xx

    Sophie Elizabeth

  3. I'm in the process of 6th form at the moment and they are already pushing us towards universities. It's something I feel that I should do because it will be good for me and to do the job I want I need a degree. So it's a no brainier really to go to uni but the idea terrifies me. So at the moment I'm just pushing to the back of my mind until the time comes to apply. Posts like this are very helpful in my case

  4. This is such a useful post! I wish I'd spent more time evaluating the pros and cons when I was 18. But I think the most important thing is to study something you enjoy, even if it means going through clearing! Great post :) xx
    Chasing Belle

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