Remember the Link Up that I posted about last week? Well today Rachel is kicking it off, telling us all about her experiences with university. Her post really hits home for me as I’ve seen some people really not get on with the university lifestyle, so if you’re unsure about where you want to go, definitely have a read of this!
When I saw that Chloe wanted people to guest post about their university experiences over on Twitter, I immediately responded that I was interested as I took a bit of a different route to get to graduating last summer! I took the standard route to begin with, applying to UCAS and going straight from A Levels to university, to study Computer Science as I liked Computing A Level, and computers in general.
I moved away to university, into halls and started my course. I had a large group of friends, a boyfriend and life was pretty good. In the Christmas holidays I went to visit friends around the country, and carried on having fun and living it up. However when I got back to uni in January, I had my first exams. I revised a bit, but didn’t get particularly amazing marks. Them the second semester subjects started and I began to find the lessons more difficult and I began to struggle to keep up as the amount of programming required increased dramatically. I was never the best at programming, I was fine at the simple stuff, but when it got more difficult I found it incredibly frustrating and difficult. At around the same time I got dumped and most of my friends began to leave me out and bitch about me a lot. All in all you could say that I wasn’t very happy. I kept persevering because that’s the type of person that I am, but by the time the Easter holidays came around I was looking forward to going home and getting away from it all for a month (oh how I miss university holidays!)
Whilst back at home I had a great time with friends and I was really dreading having to go back to uni where I was lonely, miserable and struggling. About a week after I got back I made the decision to drop out of university. This was a big decision for me to make, as going to university had been my life goal up until that point. As I knew I was going to fail, or only just scrape a pass in the second semesters subjects which I wasn’t enjoying anyway, I thought it would be a waste of money continuing. Making the phone call home to talk to my parents about it is one of the most terrifying things I have ever done in my life. I was scared of their reaction, but luckily they were supportive, and told me that as long as I was going to do something, even if it was just continuing with my part time job, they would support me in my choice. They encouraged me to stick the year out, as it was already paid for and I might get some university credits out of it, which could have helped me in the future if I decided to study again.
I managed to stick the year out, and sat my exams. I passed a couple of them, but failed most of the others and was very glad to leave. I began working as a receptionist, living with my parents and I was much much happier than when I was at university. After about 6 months I began to get itchy feet. I wanted to study again, and I wanted to get a degree. I thought much more about what I wanted to do this time and came to the conclusion that working in the NHS was what I wanted to do, but not as a doctor or nurse. I applied for a training scheme where you worked full time and the hospital sent you to university one day a week to complete a degree over 4 years. After one failed application round I tried again and was successful. I moved out again, but this time it was to start a job doing something I was interested in and the degree was vocational.
I thoroughly enjoyed doing my degree in this format, it meant that I was a part of the working world, and as the degree was condensed into one day a week and I got study time at work, I worked really hard. Taking the year out between degrees had helped me to gain some perspective, and grow up a hell of a lot. After 4 hard and enjoyable years I graduated last year with a first class degree. Some of my family thought that when I dropped out I had ruined my life, but it was one of the best decisions I had ever made, and proving them wrong when I graduated made the day even better.
If you have read this and are unsure about whether your degree is right for you, if you are considering dropping out, it doesn’t have to be the end of your studying. You can go back, you can succeed and you can still have a happy and successful life. If I had continued doing Computer Science I am convinced that I wouldn’t have got a higher degree result than a 2:2 and I would have hated the subject by the time I graduated. Instead I graduated doing a subject I love and have got a well paid job straight away as I already have 4 years of paid experience in the field. Much better!
If you want to be nosy at more aspects of my life, why not pop over to my blog and say hi! I’m also getting more and more active on twitter (@inelegantwench) if you would like to ask me any questions or would like any advice.
Thanks to Chloe for letting me hijack this fantastic blog of hers, and she will be having a blog post of her own up on my blog soon, are you as excited as me?
Thanks Rachel – was such a good insight into an alternative university experience! Please so check out The Inelegant Wench as its one of my favourite blogs!