Just last weekend was the weekend that my little brother started his final year at university. I couldn’t believe it – I hadn’t registered that he’d got any older since he was 12 years old, yet here he is being a grown up, off into the horizon (in the direction of Medway. I don’t know how I feel about that but he chose it I suppose) to study the thing he might end up doing for the rest of his life. He’ll have a student house. He’ll have a student loan to take care of. He’ll actually have to wake himself up for lectures.
University was absolutely the right choice for me. I’ll never regret it – the reason I went in the first place from a school where about 5 out of 30 sixth formers went into higher education came down to 30% wanting to study journalism, 70% wanting to get out, get independent and take to a life in the city.
But then, I really liked school and I liked learning. Most of the girls (I went to a same sex school) I spent my secondary years with girls flew out of the classroom door never to be seen again when their last GCSE was over. Another lump of them dropped straight out after AS, and many of those who got through the final year of A Levels had either done it to buy themselves more time or simply didn’t get the results they wanted. That’s cool if this is helping you decide what your next steps are, but if you’re worried that your conclusion doesn’t mean a stint at university, it absolutely does not matter a jot. Here’s why:
You’ll have to work hard. So what changed?
When I say don’t worry about not going to uni, you know you’ll have to get the hell up and work your ass off still right?
Whether you go job hunting with a degree or without one, it’s still really bloody difficult. Clearly, you’ll be going for different levels of jobs in each situation, but don’t be fooled by what people think happen after uni. Gaining employment anywhere is still hard as hell, and to some degree there’s more to be said for not having a bunch of half-arsed qualifications on your CV. So if you’re not feeling for uni, don’t force yourself. Essentially, we’re all facing the same tests in the end. Instead, get stuck into working your way up.
You’ll be in a better financial position
It’s maths time!
Do you know how much student debt I currently owe? £25,000. Look at that colossal amount of money. Will I be paying that off before the age of 90 on a journalism degree? Highly unlikely.
I went to university when the fees were still only £3,000 per year. They are now up to £9,000 per year. For a three year degree that is a total amount of £27,000, plus the average amount of £3,500 per year in maintenance loan (for those studying entirely without help from the bank of daddy) which amounts to £10,500. So £37,500 for a degree. Again, those who want to experience university will pay this and never regret it, but if you want reassurance on your choice not to go take a good long look at that number.
We haven’t even covered the fact that that sum will gain yearly interest added on top, the student overdraft, bla bla bla bla bla.
Fact is, if you go off into the big wide working world you probably will be skint for a while. But then so are students, and you’ll get a job if you put the work in… without a mountain of debt at the end.
Experience counts for more
As I’ve already mentioned this week, it really is debatable how much we really need a degree when employers look so hard for experienced people. A BA in Public Relations doesn’t mean you know how to make someone look good to the press – having that gift of the gab is very dependant on the kind of person on the end of the phone. A degree doesn’t necessarily prove a talent, that’s why people skills are such a prominent part of a job description. So if you don’t think you want to continue with your studying, why not get to work on the bit that seems to matter more and more?
Not every successful person needs a degree
…And that goes for a huge amount of industries. Our burlesque babe crush Miss Polly Rae never did formal dance training before she catapulted onto the burlesque scene and wound up as a West End star. Sam’s good husband Mr Sparrow worked his way from his role as a charity fundraiser all the way up to his current job as director of the super awesome Old Spitalfields Market in East London – not a university certificate in sight. This was all before he reached the ripe old age of 28 by the way. Other successful household names in this category include Abraham Lincoln (former US Prime Minister), Charles Culpeper (CEO of Coca Cola) and David Karp (founder of Tumblr).
When it comes down to it, what’s happened has happened. If you worked hard to get to university and got in, then hence forth and have the time of your life as you envisioned. If you didn’t get in, or you’re unsure, it isn’t the end of the world. Everything is exactly what you make it.
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