The Truth About Not Going To University

These days it seems as if you stick out like a sore thumb if you haven’t attended University. The misconception of not having a degree means your life will be a misery and you won’t find success. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been labelled similarly or you’re debating whether to go to university yourself. I’ve been there, and I wanted to share my experience to show you life isn’t all that bad if you decide against it.

Why University Isn’t For Me

After completing my GCSES, I went on to study my A-Levels in which I took Law, Psychology and English Literature. I came out with pretty average grades (B,C,C) and no passion.

The day I received my results I felt the pressure. It was almost as if I needed to choose a University that exact day that would set up my future. But the truth is, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for my future career, and I still don’t know. This is when I decided University wasn’t for me. At least not for now. Don’t get me wrong, gaining a degree is absolutely important. For particular professions it is essential to gain that qualification to act as a stepping stone for that desired career. However, for me I wasn’t sure which route I wanted to go down and therefore decided against going. 

The Beginning

When I first started my job hunt, I watched practically everyone I knew head off to university. I felt as if I had made a huge mistake. Constantly checking social media, watching everyone start a new chapter of their life. And what was I about to do? Well, you guessed it. I didn’t know! I had so many ideas and questions floating around in my head. Should I go on a gap year and travel the world? Should I go straight into full time work? Shall I look for an apprenticeship? What will my CV look like now I haven’t gone to Uni? First of all, none of that matters. If you’re currently questioning what your next step should be. The best advice I can give you (as cliché as it is) – do what makes you happy.

My Current Situation

Since making my decision, I have learnt a hell of a lot. I’ve worked in the ‘real world’. I’ve travelled. I’ve met some amazing new people. I’ve financially supported myself. I’ve created my side hustle. I’ve found my passion. Not going to university is such a personal decision. Who’s to say you won’t be successful if you don’t go? Who’s to say you can’t go when you’re 22? or 30?! Who’s to say you’ve made the wrong or right decision? All that matters is your happiness. 

Alternatives To University

In my opinion, the alternatives need to be spoken about more openly! You have a lot more choice than you’d perhaps think.

Apprenticeships: A great alternative to train whilst you work. You’re able to earn money and gain a qualification at the same time! If you are successful at the end of an apprenticeship then nine times out of ten you’re able to keep a full time job with the company you’ve trained at. Apprenticeships are available in a range of sectors: fashion, media, business etc. If you’re interested in researching further you can click here.

Short Courses: There are plenty of short college courses you can take instead of a degree. Once upon a time I wanted to become a nail artist and was able to take a short course in Gel Polish to become qualified. There are a ton of courses available from learning how to use photoshop, to hairdressing. Just have a quick google for your local area!

Start your own business: The way social media is at the moment, there has never been a better time to start your own business. If this is something you’re interested in I highly recommend checking out Gary Vee’s book, he is a massive role model of mine.

Gap Year: If you’re thinking about taking a gap year, I would definitely recommend travelling. Whether you choose to spend a whole year, or just a couple of months travelling this beautiful world, it’s important to see what’s out there and experience new cultures. Personally, I haven’t travelled as much as I would have hoped. However, my bucket list is in the making.

Work: Earn and manage your own money! Going straight into full time/part time work will enable you to gain a ton of life skills and experience that can set you up for the future. Whatever you decide to do, prioritise yourself over anyone or anything else. 

Success

To end the misconception around success, here are a few familiar names who have achieved so much without University:

  • Lord Sugar: Famously left school at 16, entrepreneur. 
  • Zoella: Best known for her YouTube Channel. 
  • Karen Brady: Best known for her appearances on ‘The Apprentice’. Also, the UK’s Small Business Ambassador.

Admiration

Whether you’ve gone to university, or you haven’t – I admire you for making a decision that was right for you. Life is full of so many chapters and just because one door has closed, it’s not to say it wont open again later on down the line.

I’d love to hear all about your job, degree, travels, or apprenticeship in the comments!

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5 Comments

  1. justsoelina
    March 5, 2019 / 11:38 am

    This is so helpful thank you and could not have come at a better time for me! I’m in Year 10 currently and majorly struggling at school due to my health. I am deciding whether to continue to Year 12 do go to Uni or drop out at the end of the year. I’m lucky to have people around me that support me either way, but I do get scared of missing out or not achieving anything with my life. Then I found out my grandmother didn’t have a full education and went back and got her uni degree as an adult. So there are always options, thanks for helping me discover a few new ones!
    Elina | http://www.justsoelina.com

    • blakeneyellie
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 11:41 pm

      Hiya Elina,

      Thank you so much for reading and for your lovely comment. I’m so glad this post came at a good time for you! I feel as if the route your grandma went down is a lot more common than perhaps people may think. The best advice I could give you is to do whatever makes you happy!

      Have a fab weekend babe,
      Ellie x

  2. March 6, 2019 / 1:38 pm

    I’m 22 and I didn’t go to college as well! All my friends went so even though I made the choice by myself, I did feel upset not going to college sometimes back then. But I kept working as a part time job at a clothing store to pursue what I wanted to do and I became a writer where my dream creator was working. And now I am working as a content creator which was my dream job. I still don’t make much money yet cause I just got hired but this is my start and I am so excited.
    I no longer feel worried like I did before anymore now and I don’t regret anything what I’ve decided at all! Doing something you love is amazing 🙂 Let’s keep doing!

    • blakeneyellie
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 11:44 pm

      Hiya Lilico,

      Thank you so much for reading! Your story is super inspiring and I’m so glad you took the time out to leave this comment. How exciting that you’re working your dream job as a content creator at just 22…amazing! Keep on killing it babe!

      Have a fantastic weekend,
      Ellie x

  3. March 19, 2019 / 12:55 am

    I completely agree with your blog post. I went to university and as much as I enjoyed it, when I graduated and was looking for work, the degree didn’t matter as much as I thought it would and I realised most employers favour experience. I’m not even working in the industry I did my degree in! I love how you listed other options as people can feel so pressured into going when often, especially in the creative industry, you don’t need a degree to pursue your passion. 🙂

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