I’ll be 29 in a few short months and yet I still receive emails about University alternatives I must have signed up to more than 10 years ago. I thought I would share my non-university experience for those who are struggling with their decision not to go right now.
You think you should go, everyone makes you feel like you should go.. well let me tell you, 10 years ago it was even worse. You were assumed to be ‘staying on’ in school and the only question was which degree you were aiming for. Now I’ve never been mega ambitious, I tried sixth form (as I understand it this is now mandatory? *snooze*) but I wanted to get out there and earn some money so I opted out earlier than your average. I then went on to have a baby at 19 (she just turned 9, scary stuff!) so really further education was never going to be on the cards for me.
Over the years I’ve tried various courses, open university, ICS, work based NVQs and the like.. there’s always opportunity to develop yourself if you’re interested, you don’t HAVE to spend years at ANOTHER learning institute unless you actually require a degree for your chosen career path.. since I had no chosen career path or really any ambition to speak of I definitely didn’t fall in to that category.
I think the worst stories are those of people who spend all that time and money earning that qualification only to decide that’s not what they want to do after all.. so the degree ends up no more than a very expensive piece of paper. That would have eaten me up inside. 18 is NOT the time to have to commit yourself to one job for the rest of your life if you ask me (and you didn’t but you’re still reading so I’ll continue) – I don’t think I would agree with much my 18 year old self thought or said 10 years on and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted her to choose my job for life.
Don’t get me wrong, she still put me in a nice amount of debt and did make the occasional good decision (babies? yes, husbands? not so much) but I have changed so much in that time. I have never regretted not going to university, I feel like it would have just delayed my life.. I’ve had so much more real life experience because I didn’t go and all I really missed was a lot of drinking .. lets face it, I still did that.
I’ve had a real mix of jobs and in my experience a lot of it comes down to confidence and pure dumb luck. The job I have right now is with one of the top paying employers in my area (if not the top), I’m working alongside graduated earning no less than them and working only 2 days a week I’m now earning the same money I used to full time. I was a very low paid temp for years with the same company, opportunities arose for permanent employment and promotions and I went for them. Even my GCSE results weren’t amazing so nothing I have right now is thanks to education.
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t wait around for something to happen for you, although a lot of what I have now is thanks to some bouts of good luck I believe that you at least in part make your own luck. If you sit around with a negative attitude it’s unlikely anything is every going to change, be proactive and go out for what you want.. even if you’re not sure what that is. I meandered for a long time but I don’t believe a University experience would have given my any more direction.
My blog was born from a period of unemployment, I was bored out of my mind and discovered the blogging/YouTube community and decided to give it a go. It’s now a lucrative hobby which has led to so many experiences and opportunities I would never have had without it. I often think I’ve kind of grown up online, my 4 and a half years writing and filming bits and pieces of my life and thoughts about pretty much everything have been more productive than 4 years in a classroom could have been. I’m not suggesting EVERYONE needs a blog (although pretty much everyone does have one now, right?) but if you’re worrying that University was going to be the best experience of your life.. don’t. You have SO many years ahead of you.. and just think how much more you’ll be able to do with that ancome you have from WORKING rather than learning!
I know this was very anti-uni but I’m speaking to those of you who aren’t really interested.. if you’re an academic type/have a bright future ahead of you as a Solicitor/Doctor etc then have at it and enjoy your time doing it. This was just my 2 cents, it’s not the be all and end all.. much like the rest of your school life it’s a small period of time in the grand scheme of things and if you don’t think it will benefit you, don’t go.