DISCLAIMER: EVERYTHING IN THIS POST IS JUST MY OWN OPINIONS I HAVE GAINED FROM MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, I CLAIM NO EXPERTISE IN THIS MATTER BUT I WILL HELP ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE ADVISE.
Okay I wasn't sure whether or not to write this post because, well, for some reason to me it feels like a controversial issue, when it's not really. However at the minute it's the question that iS playing on my mind, especially with me being in my final semester of my final year at university.
If you've read my blog before you may know that I'm currently a final year student in Manchester studying Animal Behaviour.
Ever since I was little I've always thought education was key to getting a job, so you go through high school, then college, then university, so I didn't really think to question it when applying to uni, I just did it, even though when I read around about my prospective career, a lot of people in the business said it wasn't necessary to go to university but it did give a good basis to start you off and people hiring you in the future always like you to have a degree, so I thought it was the obvious choice. Now I'm beginning to question it.
I chose a university far from home at first because I thought that's what I wanted when I applied during college- independence and a complete new start, but then during the summer I got a boyfriend and it meant I had a reason to stay local because he was going to a local university. However I got into that uni that was further away, which was the University of Lincoln which is just over a 2 and a half hour drive from my home. At first it was not much of an issue but as time went by and I was heading home every weekend to see family and my boyfriend, the costs rose and I thought about transferring to a local university, so I did.
So for my second year I started at Manchester Metropolitan university. I had looked at other local unis that did my course but this one had the best modules for me and had the most benefits in regards to what I was after.
Anyway back to the point, is university worth it?
My opinion so far for myself and what I want to do is NO, not really. I have enjoyed uni so far and what I've learned is useful at times and very interesting, but then 85% of what I'm taught is so irrelevant and feels like a waste of time and effort. I could have used the money put towards uni to going on specific training courses and do diplomas, and my time could have been spent gaining experience in my field of work rather than in useless lectures and labs.
There are pros and there are cons with both going to uni and not.
PROS FOR UNI
- A degree almost always helps with employment.
- You meet people who are interested in similar things to you as they are on the same course.
- Living out can be really fun and a great life experience, it may even be your first chance at real independence.
- You can learn some really useful, interesting and important things.
- The pressure you feel towards work and deadlines can help prepare you for the future.
- Some of the tutors you meet may be a great resource for the future if you develop a good enough relationship. You may need them for future job references, making a relationship could be a very useful thing to do (and it can help if you're struggling with a deadline!).
CONS AGAINST UNI
- The cost. £9000 a year for most people.
- The time, its usually an extra 3 years of education when you could be out gaining experience and even earning money.
- (This may not bother you but it does bother me) There is, in most universities, a HUGE drug and drink culture and its seen as the good thing to do, if like me, that's definitely not your scene, it could mean you lose out on making some friends or are seen as strange or uptight.
- Not everything you learn is relevant.
- Lots of deadlines means lots of pressure.
- It is a LOT of hard work. This doesn't bother me too much but you do find yourself having to tell friends no to going out a LOT.
So it is a difficult one.
It all simmers down to two things in my opinion.
What do you want to do ultimately for a career?
Is there another way for you to achieve your career?
So if you want to be a doctor or dentist or something along the lines where a degree is pretty much a necessity, university is usually a clear no brainer.
In jobs like mechanics, behaviourists and many other jobs, a degree isn't always necessary or in some cases it may not even be an advantage, some places hold experience much higher than a degree. Some of these careers offer apprenticeships or you could start at the 'bottom of the ladder' in the career and work your way up. You can even, like I considered, do diplomas or find specific training courses, if you look around you can find independent courses for almost anything. Though there is almost always a cost, some even more pricey than the average cost of a semester at uni!
If you are considering going to uni or are not sure what to do, all I can advise is to really research anything you're considering. If you have a career in mind, see the paths that can be taken to get there and make pros and cons lists for all options, look at costs, work loads, the experience you may gain, what employers want, employment rates etc. Do your homework!
If you aren't so sure of what you want to do, that's your first priority think about what job will make you want to work, what will get you up in the morning, what will make you happiest? Uni can be delayed a few years, but once you're there it is a commitment, you can leave uni but it may be at a cost.
If you finally decide on something you think you want to do, don't go apply to uni straight away, try to get some insight into the career first, if you can volunteer or get a part time job where you will get insight DO IT.
I had wanted to be a vet for most of my life, I then volunteered at a veterinary practice every weekend for TWO YEARS and at the end of it I decided it was in NO WAY what I wanted to do for the rest of my life (if you want to know why comment below and I might make a quick post explaining, it may help anyone in a similar position decide). However working there did really confirm my passion for animals and helping them but I realised it was an animal's behaviour that really interested me, not cutting them open and whatnot. So I looked up other animal careers and that's how I ended up here.
A final thing, NEVER EVER let anyone else try to tell you what to do, take advice, listen to opinions, sure. BUT DO NOT let anyone try to pressure you into going to uni because that's where they're going or where they went, blah blah. Don't worry about letting your parents down if you choose not to go, if your parents are supportive they will just want you to be happy and if not going to uni means your happiness, even if they're unsure or displeased at first they will soon realise it is the best choice FOR YOU.
It's an important decision, take you time.
If you need any help or advice, leave a comment below, I will answer any comments in as good a way as I can, I am not an expert though and if you're really having trouble also try talking to your parents or a tutor at school/college.
Do you have any advise to offer?
Have I missed any really important points you think I should include?
Please comment below!
Thanks for reading, I hope I could help!
Birds in Blossom x