It seems everyone has an opinion on going to University and so they should. It’s expensive and three to four years is a long time to dedicate your time to. However some people may decide to have a gap year instead. I actually think a gap year is quite smart as you should not go if you do not feel ready. Alternatively you may be like me where you want to stay in education, move away from home but don’t totally know what you want to study, just that you do and have an interest a subject that you think can keep up with the next few years. Those who really don’t want to go but perhaps all of their friends are going or feel pressured to go because maybe your parents want you to, or your siblings went etc, my advice would be in this case- IT IS NOT WORTH IT. Go get a job, an apprenticeship, travel- whatever you do, do not waste the time and money of dropping out after Fresher’s week. You will only get yourself into debt, because guess what- you do not get your student loan until the actual term starts. That being said don’t just waste time sitting at home watching reruns of Friends all day (even though I love Friends ❤ )
On the other hand, some of you may fall into the following categories:
- You are in the gap year period where you are unsure about whether or not to go to University. You are stuck due to lack of savings, full of envy as your friends have swanned off around Thailand, Australia or New Zealand
- You may be considering to go and get a degree after years of work and being out of education, but are worried whether Uni is the right thing for you
- Or you may be are a graduate like me and reflecting about said question
“Is University Worth It?”
I graduated in 2016 (which is mad to think that it is now 2018) with a 2:1 in Psychology and boy did I work for it. Considering that I was studying a degree about people, I did not expect to learned even more about people OUTSIDE of the lecture theatres. This is something I would consider as worthwhile in the whole University experience. A lot of people say that Uni was the best time of their lives, but few mention how the people you meet at Uni are as Forest Gump says, “a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”; this is something I will go into more detail about in a later post.
Regardless of whether your experiences are positive or negative, it is completely worth it to live away from home at University. You learn how to deal with contrasting characters (to put it lightly) and that’s something you will inevitably come across at some point in your life, Like I said, living with people really put my degree into perspective and all the crazy theories about human behaviour suddenly made sense. The social side to University is fun and challenging at the same time. You build so much character, independence and hopefully good memories along the way.
Another plus is that you have the opportunity to discover a city that you may never have lived in before, as well as your friends! You learn the best places to go out on campus (and the worst), the quirky restaurants in town and the hidden treasures. Maybe you even meet someone who changes your life; whether that is someone that you begin to date or a friend who may end up being Godparent to your future kids. Who knows?
So what about the actual studying that’s involved at Uni? You would be surprised just how many people forget about that. These people are a breed who go into hibernation after only attending the first couple of lectures of the semester. They are nocturnal animals only being sighted at 10:00pm at pre-drinks with a bottle of Sainsbury’s own Vodka to hand. They then only reappear in daylight during exam season where they camp out in the library, ‘revising’ as they Snapchat to fool the world that they have been a Uni student all along. These are the people in the last week before exams at the revision lectures, ask who is that person up there by the podium. That person of course is the lecturer you have had all year.
I really don’t know how they do it. I would be having heart palpitations if I tried to learn the whole syllabus in 48 hours. In my opinion, unless you are a genius and retain information easily or have the willpower to catch up at home on your own outside of lectures, then the aforementioned behaviour will cause you to struggle. This will get annoying for your housemates and course friends who have to listen to you complain about your crap grades as a result of your ghostly presence in lectures. Ultimately, if you aren’t planning on doing any studying then what is the point of going? Surely clubbing nights and racking up a debt with no income isn’t worth it? With tuition fees being over £9000 a year on top of rent, lets say approx £400 monthly on a 9 month contract that’s already £12,600. That is without the maintenance loan you have to pay back, oh yeah and the fun thing called interest that totals up over the years. If that’s what you want to do, then no it really isn’t worth it in the long run. To be fair, I didn’t go to every single lecture but I did appreciate my degree. I also did not let the student loan put me off. I never went into my overdraft and did not add extra debt. There is a cap of £21,000 you have to earn before you pay back your student loan, and even that is in monthly installments out of your wage, so I really wouldn’t worry too much. Just do yourself a favour and don’t get yourself into further debt with rent, bills and going out.
When I began Uni at the tender age of 18, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life or what real career I wanted. I did know that I had the drive to push myself to study even when things were tough- statistics and biological science- you almost killed me. But I overcame these challenges and I knew that the degree would open me up to so many career paths. I for one think it’s absolutely fine and actually very common to admit that before starting your course, whilst studying at Uni or even after you have graduated that you don’t know what you want to do next. Choose a degree that you will enjoy, one that would have real value for you and that utilities your strengths. In a perfect world if you know that you want to be a doctor, a lawyer or an environmental psychologist then you will benefit even more from your degree, however the world’s not perfect not everyone has that clarity and affirmation of what they want to do. I certainly didn’t. As long as you have drive to complete your degree to your full potential, it will be worth it. However do not beat yourself up about it, perhaps you’re a perfectionist like me, or maybe it’s just human nature to think you could have done better. I was really pushing for a first on my dissertation and felt disappointment when I got a 2:1. Nonetheless, in hindsight I know I did my best.
Last but not least is…
After I graduated, I moved back home and I think that if I didn’t go to Uni I would be seriously lacking in street smarts about how to ‘adult’ and to cope with daily grown up responsibilities. This includes: money for rent, bills, shopping, what to do when the fuse trips, cooking for myself without burning the house down or what to do when the house nearly explodes because you have a gas leak… I told you that Uni could be challenging! But thank goodness I learned all of that NOW and not when I am in a position to move out when older and having never lived without the comfort of my parent’s security blanket and fully heated house. Although I dread to think that I may have to revisit one or two of those lessons.
SO IS IT WORTH IT? I would have to say yes- for me personally, it made me more mature, I learned how to deal with money, about living with others, dealing with difficult people in and out of lectures, I made good friends and have fond memories of a city I lived in for 3 years. Now nearly two years on, I can confidently talk about the value of my degree and life experience that going to University gave me in interviews, and for that I would say it’s definitely worth it.