Is University worth it?
It’s Exam season and I have a lot of readers contemplating this exact question.
I’ve learned many things that there was no point in learning.
A mere regression into my childhood brings up ‘Pythagoras Theorem’. Never has an employer asked me to correctly estimate the size of a triangle’s sides.
The same can be said for much of what I’ve learned.
Learning however, is fluid. A constant flow of information is absorbed daily. A process that I love.
I enjoy learning about ANYTHING & EVERYTHING and pride myself on being a polymath/jack of all trades. (Well that’s not strictly true, I’m terrible at DIY… so not ALL trades)
However, learning seems to have a stigma to it, that it’s not transient, but constrained to a period of time during childhood and adolescence.
Associated with just a few years of your life, the pressure seems to be on making the right decisions educationally, or you’re destined to fail at life.
THIS IS NOT TRUE.
The question I always get asked is “Is University Worth it?”
My response always is… “What are you going to University for?”
I think it can be split into two key areas. Career Choices & Social Life.
Financial implications are important, but the UK student loan system allows poorer households to support their children through University, only paying it back when they have a job that can afford it.
If money is the only thing holding you back, then go. I’ve seen people on my course come from similar struggles and make it work easily.
Let’s dive right in….
YOUR CAREER CHOICE
When I was in school I wanted to be a forensic scientist, now I’m a marketing consultant. How did that happen?
Well the truth is that nobody should be deciding their life at age 16 or sooner.
The subjects you chose at that age for A-Levels won’t be indicative of the person you’re about to become.
Growing up will give you new references, goals, likes and dislikes.
My advice for whether or not you should go to University is “Can you ONLY achieve that career with a degree level education?”
When I was 19 I went to University anyway. It was £3,000 per year. Now it’s tripled to over £9,000 per year. (Thanks David Cameron… NOT!)
It’ a much bigger decision for young people.
The truth is that the job I have now, with my own company, didn’t require a University degree.
My degree was only proof of my ability to learn and to take instructions. Something some employers look for.
However, the biggest indicator of a good job from me, was experience.
Unfortunately, time in education is time away from gaining experience.
You’re caught between a rock and a hard place.
If your career choice doesn’t require it, then it might not be for you. Most jobs thrive on the most experienced staff and my cousin is earning more than most people after leaving school with no qualifications.
He worked his way up in a company. Now education is worthless compared to his hands-on experience.
Being a Doctor requires a degree, whilst being a Retail Manager doesn’t. You’d be surprised that non-degree careers can actually pay VERY well indeed.
I used to know a Call Centre Manager who was on £80,000 per year. That’s over £1,500 per week.
Did he have a degree? He sure didn’t.
The idea that you have to be degree-level educated to have a high-paying job is a myth.
THE SOCIAL LIFE
The other compelling reason to go to University is the social side. To find out who you are, grow as a person and gain some life experiences with new friends.
They say that you are the sum of the 5 people you hang out with most. I truly believe that, although not specifically ‘5’.
I think your company helps shape your opinions, political views, career goals, sexual expression & more.
Proximity dictates friendship as a child. You are usually friends with people in your school as they’re in YOUR school.
University shakes that up and allows outsiders to have their own inside. By bringing together a sampling of students from all around the globe, University life is as diverse as it can get.
I was quite popular in school, but severely unpopular in University. I didn’t play Rugby, didn’t like to drink too much and was obese enough to be a turnoff to most women.
However, socially, I had the best time of my life in those years. Learning how to break out of my shell and picking up good habits from others concerning the gym & diet. (Thanks Sedat… Oh, and he taught me some Turkish which helped me get my car valeted cheaper at my local place.)
You have to know that University life isn’t just a chance to educate yourself in one particular subject, it’s an opportunity to gain life experience. Something that’s worth the price of admission alone.
Don’t underestimate the social side and be too eager to grow up. Death & taxes will always be waiting for you.
You just have to decide on your motivation for it, and not worry about the implications of not knowing.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I still don’t.
I have a loose plan, but I’m 27 and can’t see myself doing the same thing aged 50.
Get comfortable with the idea that it’s okay to not know right now, and if University isn’t for you, it doesn’t mean you’re a lesser individual, you’re uneducated or will be looked down upon.
Personally I only completed AS-Level exams before leaving to work for a year or two. Then I attended University after that.
It should be your decision, and you should be making it for your reasons, ignoring the pressure of social conventions.
Good luck with your exams, and try not to stress too much.
Life can be lived with any grade you receive.
ps. If you went to University, what subject did you study? Did it help you have the career you have now? I’d be interested to know. Leave a comment in the comments section BELOW 🙂