University: ‘the best three years of your life’. Thats what they say, right? Well, what if it isn’t? What if you didn’t love getting drunk on £1 shots and what if you didn’t know that you wanted to be a neuroscientist at the age of 18? Personally, I find it a little sad to think that the best three years of our lives should be over by the age of 21, but I can see where the statement is coming from…
I find it really funny to think back to school, specifically back to GCSE’s and A Levels, which I thought would be the most important thing in my life. Well, I can 100% confirm that I have never had to find the area of a trapezium or observe the process of osmosis in a plant EVER again…in fact, I can’t even keep a cactus alive so it clearly didn’t stick.
For me, what I would have benefited from learning are things like: how to submit a tax return, or how to apply for a mortgage, or even things like how to plan a holiday successfully. These are the real skills that I use, and i’m sure that i’m not the only person who has picked these up along the way.
A quick note…
University is one of the many options out there, and although the experience was not right for me that doesn’t mean it isn’t for you. However, what I want to talk about, is why it wasn’t my cup of tea, and hopefully help some of the people who feel, or have felt felt the same way.
I think its obvious that university is the option most pushed onto us in school, its the big ‘next step’. But, at the ripe old age of 18, did I really know what I wanted to do with my life? No, I didn’t. So, like many others i’m sure, I picked my favourite subject and figured the next step was a degree in philosophy.
I chose the University of Liverpool, I lived with a lovely bunch of people and the city itself was gorgeous, so why didn’t I like it? As appealing as the idea of living off pot noodles in a room that resembled a jail cell was, I decided to leave after a few months.
Why should I get into debt for something I might never use?
This is a BIG thing to think about when you consider university. I felt a kind of constant ‘guilt’ to find something to do after uni, like I had to justify to myself and everyone else what I was going to move onto. Eventually, I concluded that the honest answer was that I had no clue, and I was faced with the question ‘why am I getting into this debt for no reason?’. My biggest advice to anyone thinking about options for after school, is to go into uni knowing the cost and also having a clear plan of your future after uni. In other words, don’t go for the sake of going.
Theres a big wide world out there.
The day before receiving my A Level results I arrived home from a month in Ecuador with fellow classmates after a few weeks of volunteering, exploring and feeling like a small part of something that was helping others. I am SO grateful for that trip, it opened my eyes to all the options out there and I had completely forgotten about ‘the next step’ by the time I got home, which was a relief.
I think its super important to remember that not all of our experiences have to be the same. Some might love uni, some love traveling, some love working- we are all different and lets embrace what we love. At uni, I felt sooooo boring compared to the ones having wild parties and leaving their rooms so messy that you couldn’t see the floor, but I suppose that comes down to each individual and the key is choosing an experience and way of learning that is suited to you.
Is it so wrong to love home?
I suppose the biggest change for uni life is moving away from home, moving to a new place and meeting lots of new people. This was one of the hardest things for me, simply because I love my home. I had never felt more home sick in my life than when I was away for the few months I was at uni for, and I came home every weekend (total wuss, I know)…
I just couldn’t seem to adjust to the pressure to go out every night with people I barely knew and pretending to have a great time, while secretly wishing I was at home with my family and favourite people. This wasn’t what it was supposed to feel like, this wasn’t for me.
I used to be embarrassed to admit that, but now i’m the total opposite. I feel so grateful to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard, and i’m proud to be a part of it.
Tell me your story…
I can 100% say that I do not regret my decision to leave university. I have never felt happier and healthier than I do now, and I don’t think I would be the person I am now if I hadn’t left- and I happen to like that person!
I think its really all about exploring the options, thinking hard about the future and not freaking out when you don’t know what you want to do with your life. Just take a breath and think about YOU.
Whatever your ‘next step’ was like, I would love to hear about it. I would love to hear all the other options you have explored and how you dealt with these moments in life so far! Lets share our stories together!