This time of year reminds me of that nervous wait for result’s day that anyone finishing A-Levels (or even GCSE’s) will be thinking about. Today I just wanted to chat about not going to uni, the pros and cons and why it is ok not to go!
I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I found this so frustrating as lots of people I knew did, and planned out a route to get there. So whilst doing my A-levels, I didn’t apply to go to uni. I took Psychology, Textiles and English Language and achieved grades that I felt really proud of. Textiles was always my favourite subject, but I had no idea if I wanted to commit to studying it at uni for 3 years.
So, I settled on doing an art foundation degree. If you are a confused, creative person, an art course is definitely worth thinking about. I had such a fun year – you take it in the direction you want to really, with no essay deadlines or exam papers to write. I did lots of textiles-based work and built up a good portfolio of work. This time around, I applied for a uni about an hour away from where I live to study Textiles. Everyone else on my course was applying so I did the same, so that I would have a place if I wanted it. I was given a place on the course but I knew my heart just wasn’t in it.
Whilst I’d had such a fun year being creative, that year had sort of filled the gap of wanting to study textiles. For me, the trouble was that for as many courses at uni that caught my eye, I felt trapped at the thought of having to stick with one for the next three years.
I actually took a gap-6 months after my art course. I was caring for a family member after an operation so I deferred my uni place for a year. This is a good idea to do if you are feeling unsure. Give yourself some extra time to really decide if you’d like to go. Do some travelling, try some temp work and simply see how you feel in a few months’ time. There is no real rush. I still feel in that mindset – some people start uni at 30 or even 50 years old. If I find something that I would really love to study one day, I’d definitely go to get a degree!
Why Uni wasn’t the right choice for me.
The lifestyle – The uni lifestyle just didn’t appeal to me. I don’t really drink, and so much of the environment is going out, drinking lots and that just isn’t me. I could imagine feeling left-out and lonely if all my flat-mates went out all the time. I am simply quite a homely person and being thrown into an environment completely outside of my comfort zone put me off the lifestyle. I knew I could have commuted in and out of uni but this would have meant a lot of expensive travel. So it would have taken a course I really loved to push me to go.
My personal situation – As it happened, I was needed at home during the year I would have left to go uni. I wouldn’t change not going. Sometimes, things do happen for a reason! If your personal circumstance means it isn’t the right time to go, then give it a miss. You might work for a few years and then go back to uni if you find something you feel real drive to study.
Pressure – There is a lot of pressure on young people today to go to study at university. Especially if you get good grades I think. More students are getting degrees than ever, so there is an uncomfortable feeling that you get, knowing that if an employer was deciding between you (the one without a degree) and a candidate with a degree, they are more likely to pick someone who went to university. Try not to worry about this too much. I know lots of people felt pressure from family to get a degree, but really, it is down to you! Put your foot down, and explain why it isn’t right for you at this time.
There are so many alternatives! Look at travelling, temp work to try a few different things or other ways of studying. An apprenticeship (which I do) is a perfect win-win situation, you earn as you learn. You can even get a degree whilst doing an apprenticeship, which shows that uni isn’t the end game if you want to get a degree. You might just start working full-time and work your way up in an industry that interests you.
At the same time, don’t write it off! You might suddenly have a change of heart and want to go, and that is fine too. Whatever works for you. If you want to chat about uni choices, feel free to message me on Instagram or send me an email.
What are your thoughts on going to university? I’d love to hear about your experience