To Uni or not to Uni?

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If you had asked me when I was a child what I wanted to be when I was older, I wouldn’t have known what to respond with. If you had asked me when I was a teenager, I wouldn’t have known. If you ask me now, I still don’t know.

I feel as though most of the blogs that I go on have something to do with going back to university, whether it be tips for Freshers, organisation hacks or studying techniques and since I am 20 years old and haven’t been to university, nor am I deferring a place, I sometimes feel a bit left out.

I absolutely adore education; I love learning and studying and filling my brain with the intricate details about how the world works, so why aren’t I at university?

 

I’ll let you into a little secret: I actually applied for medicine when I was 18. I went to two interviews (despite receiving invitations to three) and had three rejections before I pulled out and decided to have a gap year. I got a job and had every intention of going to university the following year, but I felt so worn down by sixth form that I simply wanted a break from education so ended up not applying for university again.

I absolutely detested my time at sixth form. The school itself wasn’t a bad school it just really wasn’t what I was after and as a result, I ended up hating my time there which I feel impacted my results negatively and meant that I was unable to have the best sixth form experience possible.
I had been very unsure about making the decision to have a gap year as education was my life but I decided that, ultimately, it was the best decision for me.

As it stands, my friends are now entering their third year of university and pretty soon, they will be graduating with a degree and getting the jobs that they love (I think I’ll be deactivating my personal Facebook in May/June when that happens!).

While I love science, writing and learning, I don’t know what degree I would want, if any. Most of the time I console myself by thinking about how lucky I am that I don’t have a £30,000 debt and an unused degree, but sometimes it doesn’t feel enough.

The job I am in isn’t where I see my future but the truth is, I don’t know in which job I do see my future. I want to be able to provide a decent life for my family and not constantly worry about money, which I doubt will happen in my current job even if I progress up the career ladder.

Being honest, I have to say that that makes me want to find a degree I like so I can get a job I enjoy to provide a good life for my family. However, at the same time, saving for a mortgage and seeing my pregnant sister start her family make me want to settle down now. Can I really put that on hold to go to university? Can I afford not to?

99% of the time I am strong enough to realise that it was right of me to avoid following the norm and going to university when that wouldn’t have been right for me but the fact that I don’t know where my path leads – if anywhere – does make me question whether it was the best decision at times. I used to have my life planned out for me on a map – high school, sixth form, university, job, husband, child – but now that that has been completely demolished, there are times when I feel completely at a loss of what to do next. I have time on my side – after all I’m only 20 years old – but I have already been in my job for three years now and if I don’t do something to change it, pretty soon I will be celebrating my five year anniversary, and then my ten year anniversary and then my twenty year anniversary with the same company.

So what about you? Did you go to university? Do you use your degree or did you never need one?

– Taisie ♥

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3 thoughts on “To Uni or not to Uni?

  1. Ah, this is a topic I feel very strongly about!

    I went to university myself. I went straight out of college at 18. The reason I went? Because I didn’t know what else to do with my life, and because I was always one of the “brighter” ones at school, my whole life I was farmed towards going to uni; I wasn’t really given any other option.

    Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely loved my time at university. It was my first time living away from home, being who I wanted to be, making new friends and finally feeling like I mattered. If I had to do everything again, I’d probably still choose to go…

    BUT I’d never really advise anyone else to go.

    Aside from three good years with friends and some memories I’ll always cherish, I haven’t really got much else to show for my £18k (and growing) pile of debt, besides a piece of paper that says I’ve got a degree. I did my degree in Film and Television studies, and now I work in business support in a law firm (go figure). To be fair, I knew very early on in my degree that I was not going to get a job in media, and I wasn’t bothered, so I didn’t try to.

    You’re still young, so you have plenty of time to go, if it’s *really* what you want. But… you’re already settled with your boyfriend, so the same social element probably doesn’t appeal to you. You already have a job, and you’re already building a life for yourself. You say you still don’t really know what you want to do “when you grow up” (neither do I!). In this day and age, I think the only good reason to go to university is if you know exactly what you want to do, and do a vocational course that will lead you to being qualified, i.e. nurse, social worker, vet, teacher. Degrees are so common these days, so having some kind of random subject pretty much means nothing. I think being on your own two feet, getting work experience and figuring out exactly what you want to do is by far the best thing you could do. It’s quite a sad fact, and contrary to everything we were ever told at school, work experience counts for so much more than education. Apprenticeships and on-the-job training will be much more valuable in building a career.

    Just because it’s what everyone else seems to have done, doesn’t mean university is right. If you think once everyone has graduated in July they’re going to be straight in the job of their dreams, think again! Out of all my friends who graduated with me, not one of us is in what you’d class as a “graduate” job. We’ve all been unemployed and claiming jobseeker’s allowance at some point. It’s not worth it!

    Apologies for my ramble 😉 x

    • Please ramble on – I liked it! It is nice to hear someone who has similar opinions on the matter 🙂
      I was exactly the same – I was one of the ‘brighter’ students and I felt like I was really pushed to going to uni and not-going wasn’t ever even mentioned in my school!
      It is hard sometimes. I’m not overly happy with my job (it doesn’t fulfil me really) and sometimes i feel like uni would provide me with the opportunity to get out of that job and get into one that is more fulfilling and satisfying. I know a lot of people don’t end up in jobs that they actually have a degree in but ironically, two of my closest mates who graduated uni this year both already have graduate jobs using their degrees! Sometimes I do want to go to uni for the educational aspect, the social (society) sides of it and the desire to have a more fulfilling job, but the fact that I am settling down kind of makes me not want to go haha 🙂 x

      • Ultimately, only you can decide what’s right for you! There’s no real right or wrong answer – you’ve just got to go with your gut, and do what you know deep down you want to do. You don’t want to end up missing out and then regretting it later on in life, if it’s what you really want. I just don’t think, in this day and age, it’s that useful in progressing you, career-wise – unless, like I say, you do a finite subject that’s going to 100% lead to a qualification. Just whatever you do, if you decide to go, make sure you think carefully about your subject! 🙂 x

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