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.
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.
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.
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.