Thursday, 25 August 2011

Uni or No Uni?

Last week, students around the country received their A Level results. I too was in this position just last year, and I remember feeling like the whole world was about to end. All of my classmates anxiously opened their envelopes, knowing that what was written affected the next 3-7 years of their life. For me, it was a slightly different story. These would be the results I put on my CV in order to get me a job. Now I know this is always going to be a debatable subject but I honestly believe that university is not the be all and end all.

For me, university was never an option. I always knew I didn't want to go, however I had to build up a lot of courage to tell people that. Having been known as 'the clever one' in the family (not bragging, in fact I hate it) I was always thought to be the 'one who would go to uni' so telling them was always going to be hard. Plus, I went to a private school, where most students (and teachers in fact) had a preconceived view that people who didn't go to university were a waste of a life.

Now don't get me wrong, university can be perfect if it's for you. You learn various life experiences, you meet loads of new people, you have fun, and ultimately, you get a degree in something you've enjoyed studying. Do I feel like I'm missing out? Not really, simply because I believe that life experience is just as good, if not better. After leaving school at 18, I wondered what to do next. Ultimately, I knew I had to get a job, but in what? I was fortunate enough to get two week's work experience in PR (and I wouldn't be blogging today if I didn't do it, as that's where I discovered this world!) and it made me realise I'd love to work in PR. However, it's not that easy to get in without a degree, although the woman I worked with didn't have one, so it showed me once more, that no degree doesn't necessarily hold you back, as long as you're willing to work extremely hard. In October, I got a job as a sales assistant. Now this is no life ambition of mine, but I have learned so much whilst being there, from simple things such as talking to customers and how to fold clothes perfectly, to understanding how a shop layout and lighting affects customers and learning targets and sales.
 Also, I'm meeting lots of new people, having fun and learning, doesn't that sound similar to the pros of going to uni?
A lot of you may think 'you didn't go to uni and now you're stuck in a part time retail job that isn't the career you wanted, how is that good?'. Well, first of all, look at how much debt most students will be in? I may not earn a lot but at least I'm earning something. I'm also not saying that you shouldn't study, I've actually signed up to get a qualification in Business Studies, as I believe it will benefit me, but this was my own decision, not the decision of everyone around me.

I've probably just rambled on and encouraged a lot of people to dislike me for slating university, but please note this is really just my opinion and my reasons for choosing a different path in life. Some of you may agree, some of you may not. But, all I'm trying to say, is a degree is not the be all and end all. I just feel that many young people feel pressured into going to uni as it's considered the next step, and those who don't get in feel like they have failed in life, which isn't true. Many people have become successful, and more importantly, been happy, without a degree. I felt a lot of pressure to go to university and I was the one person in my year who didn't, and I will always be proud of that.


  1. I 110% agree with you in this post! I was the 'smart one' in the family and i felt Uni wasn't for me, i wanted life experience and to be earning, i personally would rather work my way up (and hey i'm not in thousands and thousands of pounds of debt!) fab post x

  2. I agree... I was also described as the smart one, I was the only one in my family to go to college and stick at it. I didnt get fantastic grades at college but I am now in a fab job earning my money and have my own flat! Uni is for some people but not for all! :) x x

  3. Great post, Jess! My school pushes and pushes that Uni is the only way; how is £27000+ debt good for life?! x

  4. I did end up going to uni (similar experience of a grammar school so it was the norm) but I always knew it was for me. Plus I want to do law so you do have to have a degree (although I'm doing history right now). I think there are so many ways to learn about life though, and uni isn't the be all and end all. At the end of the day if it isn't for you it would be foolish to spend £20,000 working that out!

    Good for you I say :)

  5. Bravo to you - great post. No uni isn't for everyone and there are plenty of people who aren't very clever who go thinking that it will be easy to get a job afterwards. There is nothing wrong with working in retail, you do learn a lot and if you wanted to go into retail management afterwards you'd be better placed than someone who's been partying for three years.

    I hated being at uni and I've been several times both here and in the US and also studied accounting a few years ago. I've always preferred to learn on the job and I can say hand on heart I would never set foot in a uni/college/night school again!

    Here's to you chick! :D

  6. Hi hun,
    totally agree with you the 'university of life' is worth more than a degree. I think colleges and schools put far too much pressure on people going straight to uni when to be honest how many people know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at 18! out of all the people I know who did a degree only a couple of them are doing a job that uses their degree. Anyway most people only go to uni and drunk for 3 years!! these days - however you can always go and do a degree later in life. Look at me I'm 32, married, 2 children just done my first year at open university and passed with flying colours. At 18 I would never have done so well, and I would not have known that I wanted to do the job I do now. xxxx


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