University - The Right Thing?

University the right choice?

I just wanted to write a few thoughts on university and the pressures of going. I have done no research and have no figures or anything this is just based on my experience and what I have witnessed.

When I started university in 2005 fees were lower than they are now. I think a lot of people now are put off by this but you can still get a loan to cover this. I think though it has made people think is it really for them? Is it worth getting into that much debt just to go to university on a whim or just to study something they are interested in but have no idea where it would lead them after?

I studied history because it was my favourite subject and it had always been in my family. We used to be involved in medieval re-enactment when I was a child and always visited castles as part of our holidays. I didn't know what I would do with this after university, but you get three years to work this out don't you? Well I knew by my third year I was going to fulfill my ambition to spend a year in Australia after university so I didn't spend time researching graduate jobs or any other options. I'd figure it out in Oz wouldn't I? I'd be seeing new places, new people and doing all different jobs. It would just come to me what my path was in life.

Yeah right.

Nothing 'came' to me. I have spent the few years since I came back doing various different work. Yes some has enabled me to travel but at the end of the day I graduated six years and I am still working a minimum wage job with no direction of where I am heading.

The point of that story is that university it not the be all and end all. It doesn't guarantee you a well paid position like it perhaps might have 15, 20 years ago. Experience counts for A LOT more nowadays. I have a friend who didn't go to university. She is at the same job she started at 18 and now earns a decent wage enabling her to buy her own house. There are so many apprenticeships at the moment and although these are low-paid I don't believe you would be be any worse off financially than going to university.

I'm not saying either option is the right one. Some people just know what they want to be in life and going to university enables them to fulfill that dream. Some like me go just because they enjoy the subject and some don't go at all. If you don't plan on going, you don't get in or you end up dropping out it might work out for the best. You may have your parents on your back asking why and what is your plan though, so do a bit of research and at least give your parents something to stop them worrying for your future.

You can always go in the future when you have grown up a little and are more ready and know what you want to do. Although sometimes this may be more difficult as you will likely have other commitments such as your partner, your house and your children. It is still do-able though and you will be more dedicated and motivated that you would be had you gone at 18. (Or was that just me?)

This is an all over the place post opinion wise I understand but I just want to get it out there that university isn't the only option and I think at least some graduates would question whether it was the right thing to do. I don't regret going to university, I think I just regret being so relaxed about my direction in the years since. It has come to the point where I realise the penny just isn't going to drop and my career path open out in front of me. I've got to choose the most suitable and do something about it.

I hope I haven't put a dampener on anyone going away to university this September. University can be the best times of your life and is a practice for living in the real world. Make the most of it but remember: it isn't the be all and end all.

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