Is University right for me? Decisions and Options

Sunday, June 22, 2014

 Credit We Heart It
I had a sudden moment where I thought it would be a good idea to write a post like this. It's personal and a little in-sight into why I left University. If it helps just one of you guys I will be over the moon!

Going to university is a tough decision nowadays. It's hard when you are 17/18 to decide what you're going to do for the rest of your life and SO many people end up in jobs not related to their degrees. I from about 15 was completely against going to university. I didn't see myself going I didn't know what I'd want to do. But actually going round the university campuses changed my mind. I don't know how  I ended up in Birmingham or what made me pick there , but after getting great a-level results I ended up doing a fashion management course.

I had a bit of a rocky start but tried to remain as positive as possible. I had major surgery aswell in my first term of university which was really difficult! I then got a job in retail which I absolutely loved. It felt like my life was sorted. It was what I thought I wanted to do, go to uni, make news friends and get a retail job for a few years. After just a few weeks of working I ended up being in work more then I was at university and I just loved working! I was learning so much about retail (a side of fashion I hadn't really seen) and the people I worked with were lovely. Soon I was more used to working life then I was to student life and to be honest I preferred the working life. I enjoyed it a lot more and soon I realised I wasn't enjoying my course at all.

I stuck with it and worked hard because I thought it was the right thing to do. I started looking at my second choice for university and whether I could transfer but it was too late so I just carried on for the year as I didn't want to leave half way through. Speaking to other bloggers/people within the fashion industry about how I was feeling made me think about what to do. A lot of people just interned their way to the top, some dropped out of uni and started again so it was a lot to think about!

It was hard to think about my options if I did drop out. I spoke to PR companies about interning and started applying for retail jobs back home. One thing I knew for sure the last thing I wanted to do was go back to my current course and sit in that lecture theatre that following September. So I had to do something about it!

I spoke to my lecturer about taking a year out. I was finding it hard with my bad health, running my blog, the student life, working in a shop and my degree at the same time I was always so busy! I didn't know what exactly I was going to do but I knew something would sort out. After a couple of months interning I landed a job as a Marketing Assistant for a local High School and Sixth Form. I loved being able to use my social media and marketing skills in a different industry to what I'm used too! I thought if anything this would look great on my CV. I love my job and seeing my input change the school makes me feel all proud and like I've achieved something great!

Leaving university was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But lets put it this way. I would rather graduate from a course I really loved, a course that really benefitted my career at a later date if needs be. I want a degree but I didn't want to carry on with the course I was on. With £9,000 university fees a year and accommodation costs pretty high too university isn't cheap and it's a lot of money to waste if it's not what you really want to. As much as I love my current job I knew about 6 months into it I wanted to go and study again. I researched courses and universities and re-applied. I've been accepted onto the second year of a course which I think is way more suited to me and my personality and I'll be starting that this September!

So there's an insight for you about why I dropped out of university and I hope that was helpful to some of you which may be in a similar position to what I was in last year. It's so common people 'hating' their university course yet so little people do something about it! So here's my tips if you're thinking about leaving your university and a little more to think about.

1 - REALLY think about it. Leaving university is a massive decision and it's not something easy to do. Think about your options of what you'll do as soon as you leave. Do you have a job you can go to? Where are you going to live? and start applying for as many jobs as possible so hopefully you'll start earning money soon after you leave.

2 - Take a break. As weird as it sounds our family holiday to france was a real eye opener to me last summer. I was with one of my cousins who's the same age as me and he wouldn't stop talking about how great his university was, how proud he was to go there and how much he loved his course. So onto my next point...

3 - Are you proud of your degree? Do you want that degree written on your CV? Do you like your university? Well if you answered no to those questions you've pretty much made your mind up. In this day and age going to a 'Top' university is a big thing. You want your CV to stand out and you want to be proud of your degree and what you've achieved. I soon realised I wasn't proud of where I was and didn't want to write my degree on my CV!

4 - Happiness is a massive thing when being at university. Are you happy? Does your course/lifestyle make you happy? Have you settled in like you thought you would? If there's anything I've learnt it's to go with your gut. If where you currently are doesn't make you happy only YOU have the power to change that.

5 - Not everyone has everything figured out. Each year thousands of people drop out of the university course they started on. Don't be afraid to start a new course, do modules of a course you are more interested in or just switch courses at the university you are at to something more suited to you. Everyone realises what they want to do at a different time. You've just got to wait till yours.

I hope this post has opened your eyes about why people drop out and given you an insight to why I dropped out. I think it was one of the hardest things I ever did. It's been a very difficult year but I'm glad I've done it and re-applied to a course more suited to me. I can't wait to start my next journey!

What are your thoughts about university? Did you drop out of university? I'd love to know what you all think!

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Joelle Owusu said...

I totally get you and it's good that you really really thought hard before leaving.
Lots of people see dropping out as a 'failure' and 'for lazy people', but it's just the right decision for that particular circumstance.

When I started my Petroleum Geology degree in 2012, I cried everyday for three months and tried my best to transfer.
I was 400 miles away from London, homesick and couldn't find a blogging community in NE Scotland.
But I'm stuck with it because I know that when I graduate, I'll have more options and will be a lot wiser when I start looking for an oil job.
You're right: you just have to go with you gut! :)


Tracy Nixon said...

I think you made the right decision and you thought long and hard about it too - so it shows you are mature and have a sensible head on top of your shoulders!

Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a primary school teacher so I knew I would have to go off to university if my dream was to come true. So I did and off I went to Scarbourough Uni to do a BA Honours degree in Primary Education. But from the October to Christmas I was completely miserable as I missed my family and my home town of Newcastle so much! I only went away to study because all my friends were going away and I thought it would do me good and give me confidence and independence. But no - I just hated it and I never really settled so just before the Christmas holidays I decided to contact the University of Northumbria at Newcastle to enquire if they had any places left on their teaching course so I could transfer and they did! I was told they often get places coming up on courses during the year when students drop out for various reasons. So after being given the go ahead from Scarbourough Uni, who gave a great reference to my local uni, I transferred after the Christmas and never looked back! So after three years of teacher training at the Uni of Northumbria, I qualified as a primary school teacher and went on to teach in a local first school!

Looking back though, I saw many students drop out of my course - some dropped out because once they started the teaching practice in schools, they found it just wasn't for them. Others just saw uni as an excuse not to work and to get 'bladdered' so they ended up either being kicked off the course and others just never came back after the holidays! So there were drop outs who thought their decisions through and others who just disappeared (and latter being mostly the students who had gone to uni as an excuse for not wanting to get a job or not having a clue what they wanted to do with their lives). Uni is hard and I defo think you need to think long and hard before you go and also long and hard if you get there and find it isn't for you. I think you made the right decision Becca and I think you will go far! Just look at the great job you have done with your blog and this is just one tiny part of your life! So good luck with your new course in September and enjoy your Summer!

Michelle Loreto said...

Such a great post, Becca :) I'm in a degree that I'm only sticking with because I've already paid so much money towards it (it's a private college rather than a public university) and just feel like I "have" to finish it now. But it has put me in contact with great places where I've interned and still am interning now, so I guess there's that.
So many choices in life! But so many directions can take you to your goals, as long as you work hard! That's what I've learned.

x Michelle |

Unknown said...

That's such a big decision to make. This year is my 5th and during the winter I though about leaving, I couldn't take the pressure anymore, I'm so happy I didn't !

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Unknown said...

Fantastic post Becca! Like you, I'm studying Fashion Management and I've just finished my first year. At first I was desperate to drop out because I felt really lonely and was struggling with being away from home, but I decided to stick it out and now I'm really glad I did. There aren't a lot of jobs in the retail side of the fashion industry in Scotland so I think my degree will be a great stepping stone for me, however I'm just lucky that I don't need to worry about the ridiculous tuition fees like English students do. If I had been in that boat I probably wouldn't have bothered with university x

Charlotte / coloursandcarousels

Unknown said...

Totally agree with everything you've said Becca and I do think it's really important for people to talk about it more! Uni isn't for everyone at all, and it's not necessarily just a springboard into a good career. I dropped out of my first go at uni after 3 weeks - a decision I stand behind wholeheartedly because I took a gap year, and now 2 years later, am going into my second year at a University I adore.

Trust your instinct, that's what I think.

AMANDA LOVES | UK Beauty and Fashion Blog

Tunisia said...

I really love this. I'm at a position right now where I'm leaning towards dropping out for two reasons. One, I cannot afford it and I don't want to take out a huge amount of loans. The second reason is because I have zero experience. I know this would be the perfect time to get experience through internships, but I'd rather have a job first.
I know that I'm majoring in what I want and I my school (mostly because of the opportunities it can bring) but I feel like I've started out completely wrong. I agree that taking time off is so much more effective for some. Just because you end up graduating at a different time you'd originally planned doesn't mean you've done anything wrong.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this post!
I'm starting uni in September so I want to hear as many stories and as much advice as possible.
I'm dead set on my degree and I don't think I'll change my mind about that. It's the student life that worries me.

Unknown said...

Wow, this is really great timing, I have been thinking about taking just a semester off from my community college. The classes I've been taking are really not my strong suit, since I'm taking general education classes. I really struggled last year, and I know when I do go back. I just detest not being stimulated creatively. So, I think taking a trip(I'm going to New York and Cali!!!!) will be just what I need, and I'll end up staying for a semester and transferring to the uni of my choice.
This really helped me Becca, loved it!

xx, Jasmine

Unknown said...

Yes I'm taking a break from college now because I was absolutely miserable and wasn't pursuing anything I was interested in! I'm taking some time off now to blog and hopefully get a job in retail soon. It's a hard decision but if you leave in good standing (at my school anyways) you can return at anytime which is what I'm doing. I think it's good to take some time and figure out what you want!

Ria said...

How weird I was just talking to people in the office I work in about this topic today! I've JUST finished my degree and looking back I'm really glad I went to Uni, I'm an academic at heart and I love to learn, so the lifestyle works really well for me.

A lot of my friends have toyed with the whole idea of dropping out and I know a good handful who transferred courses both within their Uni and to a completely different Uni and career pathway, and are so much happier for it! My own experience getting into Uni was a complete mess, I didn't get into my first choice but it was a blessing in disguise as my back-up Uni gave me the opportunity to do a year long internship and more practical ways of gaining work experience than my original choice would've! The whole experience set me in the mindset that everything happens for a reason. And in regards to dropping out? There's no shame in putting your hands up and saying it isn't working. And there's also no shame in skipping out on Uni altogether!
There's so many more options now, with working your way into your career or doing an apprenticeships etc. But I think people these days get it in their heads that Uni is just the 'done thing' or there's pressure on them to go.

This was a great post Becca, thanks for being so honest about your experiences :) Xx

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