Is university really for you?

As its results day that means you are either going to be jumping for joy at what you achieved or sobbing away somewhere trying to drown your sorrows. If you don’t do as well as hoped and if it is any consolation, I basically failed my first year of college and my worst A level grade was in… *drum roll please* Archaeology. I just did a third year, retook some exams, got into university and then take great delight in telling people my worst grade was in archaeology as I achieved a 2:1 in it at university, so I can’t be that bad at it!

Why I went to university

I started university in the first year of the higher tuition fees, I had already started a university accredited course at college on the lower fees but just wasn’t really enjoying it. My Mum insisted I did it and I get why she did as she didn’t want me to get into more unnecessary debt but there was just no point me carrying on and not enjoying it. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but thanks to my friend Jack who really pushed me to go to university I applied (If you’re ever reading this, thanks Jack, I owe it to ya!). The choices I had were finishing the course at college, dropping out or applying to an actual university. If I stayed at college, I would have hated it, if I dropped out I would probably have just stayed working in the shop job I had at the time and if I went to university, I had a whole unknown future of what was going to happen. I obviously chose to go to university. Initially I wanted to apply to do photography but my Mum discouraged this as she wanted me to do history but I hated the A level format and couldn’t bear studying a whole degree like that for another three years so I chose archaeology instead.

Going to university was an escapism out of Somerset. After having lived there for the majority of my life, I didn’t feel it had anything left to offer me. Most of my friends were leaving, there aren’t many job prospects so the only thing I really had left was my family. Going to university was a stepping stone into adult life for me by learning to live by myself and not have to rely on transport to get places while also working to deadlines.

I had ups and downs at university, I wouldn’t exactly describe it as being a perfect experience but I am glad I went all the same. Although it is said that you “make friends for life at university”, I wouldn’t say I made as many good friends as I did at college but I still feel I have made strong friendships with people that I want to be in my life in the future nonetheless. I met Greg for a start (now that is an interesting story to tell! Would you ever like to hear it?) and I did make some really good friends.

I think the things I really struggled with were how messy people can be, not living in halls in my first year and that as a combined honours student, it is a lot harder to make friends that doesn’t heavily evolve around drinking. If you wish to read it, last year I wrote a post on what to expect at university here.

Would I recommend it?

I know people like to say, “I want to go to uni for the experience!” but don’t just go just because of that. Have a really good think about what interests you and what future career prospects there are with it. I knew people at uni that went just for the social aspect and they ended up dropping out in the end as they just didn’t want to put the work effort in. If you are willing to put the effort in and have chosen a subject that genuinely interests you then I would recommend going.

What if university isn’t for me or I didn’t get in?

If you didn’t get the results you wanted or you didn’t get into your first choice university then think of your options. Take a gap year, look at internships/apprenticeships, clearing or take a few months to rethink your options. You may decide it isn’t for you after all. So if you are looking for jobs instead, read my tips here!

 

Did you go to university or are you going? 

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