University Series | Should I go, Should I not?

Welcome to a new blog series!

This is the first blog post of an entire University Series which is probably made up of a ridiculous number of blog posts because their are so many areas to cover! This is super important to me, I went to University with literally no knowledge or understanding of what to expect and admittedly I did very little research, so I hope if you’re a Student, a Graduate, preparing for the University experience or just want a little further insight, this information is useful and helps prepare you for the next steps in life!

This first particular section will cover pre-university, and to kick start that I’m going to help you weigh up the pros and cons of whether or not you should go, or are ready for University.

Keep reading below to get all the insight you need from a graduate who’s really gone through it all!

The thought of University can be daunting. Trust me, been there – done that!

When you’re at College or Sixth form, you’re faced with the first initial thought provoking question which is: Should I go, or Should I not?

When making the decision to go to University it’s important to assess why? What course are you thinking about taking (which I’ll go into more detail on, in the next blog) and what do you want to gain out of University?

If like me, you’re a product of an (East) African family where you can literally count the members of your family who have been to university (or not) on one hand, there’s a consistent pressure put on you to go to University to “make your Parents proud”. I was one of those people. On reflection, I’m super happy I walked across the stage on graduation day, after everything I went through, to shake the hand of the Chancellor at my University. To this day I remember him shaking my hand and asking me “Did you enjoy your University experience?” to which I lied and said I did.

The reason we need to individually assess whether University is for us, is because not all career lines require a degree, and the most horrifying experience is opening the letter which Student Finance send however-many-months after graduation, revealing how much money you owe in Student Finance debts! Please don’t take this as a deterrent. It’s not at all. I’m currently in the process of encouraging my younger sister to psyche up for her upcoming law degree, and obviously the line of work she wants to engage in requires a degree, but what about all the other career paths in life?

Well, I personally studied English Literature and on reflection I have used a lot more of what I learnt at University in the creative space than I have in the corporate world in conjunction with my degree. What I would encourage people who want a degree that falls within the humanities or creative space, is to understand exactly what they want to do with that degree and to take up an extra-curricular activity; join a society, get involved in something which challenges what you learn, to improve your thought process and better your essay writing, as an example. (A blog would be a fantastic starting place!)

But what about things that occur within the family home? How do they impact your decision to go to University?

At the time that I went to University I was living with my Grandmother in a rather cosy house, which I still recognise as ‘home’, however my home life was extremely turbulent for reasons I’m not quite ready to disclose. For that reason alone I chose to go to University to escape a part of my reality. Would I recommend someone else to do the same thing? Well sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. It’s up to you to form that decision for yourself. A massive part of going to University is finding your independence, so start that now by making your own decisions independently.

I remember being ecstatically excited about the idea of freedom. That alone isn’t enough for you to acquire the amount of debt and responsibility that will be thrown on you once you’re an Undergraduate, but I think that element of freedom should fuel you, should push you to want to step into who you are and fuel you to work extremely hard on reaching the next level of yourself.

So should you go, should you not? Here are some things to consider before you make that decision:

  1. What is the real reason you want to go to University?
  2. Are you making the decision for yourself?
  3. Are you prepared? This is the most important question for yourself. Forget about family, cultural, academic pressures. Think about yourself when you answer this question.
  4. What course/degree do you want at the end of your three, potentially four or more, years?
  5. Do you need a degree post-University, have you thought about the initial line of work you’d want to get into following your graduation?

The answers to all the above will be answered in coming blog posts throughout this series, so stay tuned!

If University is something you’re serious about, then I’m sure you will have the most thrilling and rewarding experience of your life. I immediately notice a massive difference in people who have been, versus those who haven’t – there’s nothing negative in that, it’s just obvious in the way that University armours you in comparison to how “adulting” armours those who haven’t gone.

However, if University isn’t for you quite yet, you still have choices. Have you considered a gap year or deferring your placement? You can work in an industry for a year, save up some money, and apply or reinstate your offer for the following academic year. You might decide that an academic route isn’t for you; apply for an internship perhaps or take up an apprenticeship if you want exposure to a particular industry. If however, none of that appeals to you, then just find a job. Start planning for your future and perhaps if you have a passion, think about ways you can make money from it for it to be sustainable and with excessive time, consistency and development, become your own boss!

My parting piece of advice is to do what you want to do; What will fulfill you? What will allow you to thrive? Equally, don’t get caught up in not having the answer. Plenty of people I met at University started on one course and graduated on another – it’s all a part of the process that I will expand on in the following blog posts!

I hope that whoever reads this finds the above information resourceful. University is fairly subjective and I hope that this particular series of University blog posts gives you some relief with some of the questions you might have, but also please feel free to drop me a message or reach out to me on the ‘gram to discuss further: @NotThatKindaCurl and I’m happy to go into more detail with you individually!

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