Going to university was probably the hardest decision I ever had to make. Sure, perhaps not the most life changing (that one goes to asking a tall, skinny boy to help me get to grips with A-Level chemistry), but probably the one that needed the most thought. It definitely wasn’t a decision I took lightly, it was far from easy, and I’m rather hoping I don’t have to make such a huge decision again!
You see, I was never planning on going to university. I’m not a fan of alcohol (give me a glass of wine with dinner, or a cocktail and a burger and I’m your girl, but getting beyond tipsy is not something I enjoy), I’m not keen on crowded social situations (things like standing in a concert crowd gives me palpitations). I get insanely stressed over exams, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to coursework. And I like shopping. I honestly thought an apprenticeship scheme was the way to go for me.
And then I discovered a career. A job I thought I would love. A job that appealed to all the skills I thought I had at the time, that at the age of 16 I could see myself doing. A job that very much requires a degree.
Nearly six years on, preparing to graduate with a First Class Honours, with that job all lined up for September, I couldn’t be prouder of myself. I pushed myself to move away from home to get the best degree possible, I made the decision to put myself and W through an LDR for four years. I stayed true to myself under pressure to “drink more and enjoy myself,” I finally beat my own demons and realised that I don’t need to make myself ill to get the grades I want.
I didn’t go to university for the ‘student lifestyle.’ I didn’t go to university to meet new people, to experience new things. The only reason I went was to get the degree I needed to get the job I wanted. Possibly not the best reason (what if I hated the job? At least a placement year means I don’t have that worry anymore!), but that’s why I went to university.
I don’t regret it. Yes, I might not have experienced the typical university lifestyle, but I’ve made some of the closest friends I could imagine having. The past four years have defined me as a person. I’ve learnt how to cook, how to eat properly. I’ve learnt how to study until the early hours of the morning, how to put up with working in groups where no-one pulls their weight. I can do food shops on less than £15 a week and still afford the bus home, I’ve become a whizz at finding discount codes.
Making that decision to go to university is highly personal. I’d never, ever suggest doing it because “everyone does it” – I know that for me, had I not decided on this career route, university wouldn’t have been the path for me.
Why did you decide to go (or not go!) to university?