One Size Does Not Fit All: University

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

I am rapidly coming to the end of my 4 year undergraduate degree.  I have had a lot of ups and downs and my university journey certainly hasn't been a walk in the park, but overall I have enjoyed my time at university and I don't regret my decision to study for a degree.

I had always wanted to go to university since the age of 14, but after having a turbulent time in school and with A Levels, I didn't know if I would ever be able to go, and at one point I almost gave up on my dream.  I love learning but I always had such a hard time at school, so I didn't know if I would ever get into university.

I'm so glad that I've been able to go to university, and I have benefited from the university experience: I have been able to further myself academically, and I've had the opportunity to pursue my passions.  Moving away to university has given me a sense of strength I've didn't know I had: I've become much more independent and much more able to make my own decisions on how I want (or don't want) to live my own life.  I even want to go on to study a postgraduate course.

I admit, there were specific aspects of university that I didn't like, such as living with horrible flatmates/housemates, rubbish friends and the clubbing mentality (I'm not a fan of the typical student clubbing nightlife lifestyle.)

However, even though I have enjoyed university, I understand that it's not for everyone.  In fact, I've met so many people at university who didn't deserve to be there (as harsh as that sounds.)

I decided that I wanted to go to university at the age of 14 after going on a school trip to a local university in my home city.  I was completely sold on the idea, but I know that university is not ideal for everyone.

In my honest opinion, I really really really hate the way that university is portrayed as the "best" option or the "only" option, which is not true.  Not everyone should go to university and that is a fact.  I hate the fact that teachers at school are giving young people false advice.  A degree does not guarantee a job, and it's not a ticket to instant employment and a fancy lifestyle.  The sooner people realise that then the better.

I struggled to get into university straight after 6th form and a lot of staff members turned their backs on me, because I decided to take a year out, work, explore other options and reapply.  That was extremely hurtful - people should support you no matter what - but I don't regret my decision.  I ended up coming to a fantastic university, completing a foundation year and undertaking a degree programme of my choice.

There are alternative routes: apprenticeships, sponsored degrees, school leavers' programmes, competing accredited courses and training with a specific body, gaining professional qualifications, working, travelling, interning, freelancing, distance learning, starting your own business, taking a gap year, taking several gap years, undertaking a traineeship, etc.  Some of these options may not be right for some people and that's okay, but it's important to know that there are other options.  There may be hurdles and obstacles, and we may be in the time of the recession, but the world of work is a big place and there are plenty of opportunities out there.  Ironically, I know people who didn't go to university and they are doing alright for themselves, and I know people who have obtained degree but are struggling to get jobs or have only managed to get jobs that don't require a degree.

I'm not against university, and I think that if you want to go for the right reasons then you should, I'm against the idea that society dictates that university is for all.

University isn't the be all and end all.

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  1. I completely agree with this post. As I was very academic at school I was expected to go to a high level university and study an academic subject. However this did not interest me and when I told teachers I didn't want to go to university the didn't believe me and made me apply anyway. Trying to explain my actions was really difficult. I left school and got a job using other oaching qualifications. During the last 2 years I have worked full time and continued learning, but through different pathways. I have now made the decision to go back to university and study to be a primary teacher. The time out gave me a chance to earn, find out eactly what I want to do and gain different learning experiences. University is not for everyone, but also you don't have to do it stright from school.
    Wow, sorry that was a long comment!
    Kate xx

    1. I totally agree! I think sometimes teachers think they always know best but to be honest they don't. Also, some schools care more about their academic stats over what their students really want.


  2. I had two children the same age one went to uni and sucked it up like a sponge the other went and lasted 1 term and half of that term was spent on the phone until 5am saying "I've tried my best i want to come home i hate it"



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