Before I get started let me state that I started uni in September 2013 and will graduate this July 2016, I think it’s important for you to know that as recent changes to student finance and tuition fees are understandably making the decision harder for many.
I’ve seen a few posts floating around lately (as you usually get this time of year) about people’s experience at uni and whether it was worth it or not, so I thought I’d throw my 2 cents in.
Firstly, I’ve taken a different path to uni than most. My first two years were on a foundation degree at one university and then my last year was a 1 year top up at another university to complete my full BA degree. I think if I had of known the difference between foundation degrees and a degree where you complete 3 years consecutively at one place earlier I would have chosen differently, but that’s just if buts and maybes.
My foundation degree was through Staffordshire Uni but based in a college environment, which at the time seemed perfect as I would be doing a degree but in a familiar environment, looking back this was not helpful for me to experience Uni life. Not only because it meant that I was still living at home, because I was independent by that time anyway, but because you don’t get the feeling. I’m not talking about the drinking culture but the formality of attending lecturers, the expectations of you as a student and the letting go of the baby reigns for you to be independent.
There were many problems with the course itself and I felt this impaired the quality of education I received. One senior member of staff even told us that she didn’t care about our opinions because we’d already paid to be there and she had our money. So yea things weren’t great there.
Somehow I managed to pass the foundation degree and get accepted into Nottingham Trent Uni for my last year where I learnt a lot.
The main things I learnt while at uni were more about myself as absolutely clichéd as that sounds. I learnt that my will power is very strong when I had absolutely given up on life during the final stages of writing my dissertation I kept going. Which really sounds pathetic but unless you’ve been in that situation please don’t judge because it takes the absolute all out of you to finish.
I learnt that if I can move away from home by myself and survive a year in a different city then it doesn’t matter where that city is, I could live anywhere in the world and be OK.
I learnt that the point of uni – other than getting that piece of paper – is to become independent completely, in the way you think, living on your own, the way you learn and process information, the way you research. It’s all linked, yea you get a qualification at the end of it but it’s all about not needing support for all those decisions.
So the other side of the table people always say is the fees.
I understand that it is a lot of money and I am even more angry about the fact that my loan repayments have been changed (trust me that’s a whole post in itself) BUT I would never tell someone not to go to uni if that’s what they want because of finance. You only pay back the money once you earn over £21,000 a year and it’s only a small percentage of your earnings they take. At the end of the day if you go to uni to get a higher paid job then you should pay back the money because without the degree you wouldn’t have the job. Get it?
Unfortunately, most careers nowadays require a degree, whether it is utilised in the job role or not. I also think that if you choose not to and work your way up your career then great for you, you clearly didn’t need to go, and you learn a lot along the way which makes up for it.
I studied fashion business and there was no hope of me ever getting a job without a degree, you get overlooked completely. Even with a degree, you are still expected to work for free for up to a year through different internships before you will be considered for a job which again is a whole other rant.
Whether you have decided to go or not the main thing is to trust your gut. Only you know what is best for you
Was it worth it? For me yes definitely.