University: What It Can And Can’t Teach You

I’m a firm believer in that university is not the right path for every person (see more of my thoughts here). I’m also not convinced that degrees are really worth £9000 per year.

I’ve heard all of the explanations regarding the lab equipment for science students, the software for design students, but I’m still not convinced. I love university, don’t get me wrong, and I’m dreading the thought of leaving. But realistically? If there was another way to get into the career I want without saddling myself with loads debt I would never have gone.

 photo 3d3b4f41-87eb-4b9c-8279-eaf3ca86e377_zps5e960d34.jpgYes, it’s taught me how to survive nightmare housemates, and it’s brought me some of the best friends I’ve ever had (who made wonderful housemates!). I’ve learnt more about integration, root two, and Pi than I ever thought possible. I’ve made a massive start on my professional exams, I’ve learnt properly how to cook and budget. But what does university fail to teach you?

This infographic I found really interesting, and although I reckon a lot of the skills you have to seek out for yourself no matter what path you take, its a good guide to see what skills you might want to develop to make yourself more employable!

What University Can And Can

What University Can And Can’t Teach You [Infographic] by the team at TTR PT LIMITED

 What do you think? Do you think that degrees need to focus a little more on soft skills rather than academic theory? Is there anything you feel you missed out on at university? Are degrees worth it?

  • Sammy Smeth

    This is actually really interesting. I chose not to go to university and have worked for the two years since I left school – I’ve learned things I never would have learned in university but, I have to say, I still have a niggling worry that I’ve missed out!

    Sammy xo.

    • ninegrandstudent

      I think it goes both ways – part of me does wonder what my life would be like now if I wasn’t at university! x

  • I’m with you, university definitely isn’t for everyone. Since I left, both of my “proper”, career-type jobs have both needed a degree, and a science degree at that, so I know that I’m at least using the degree I paid for! Pretty much all of my friends went straight to uni after school, and for quite a few it definitely wasn’t the right choice. If nothing else, if I had my time over I would take a year out to work (not a gap yah) before going to uni, as I think it would definitely help me think about my career before I went, and might have helped me take my first year a bit more seriously!

    I was quite lucky in that I did a year in industry- so I was able to develop my work skills in a year away from uni, and I got to feel like real “adult” for the first time. It was great when I got back to uni in my fourth year, because I was able to really appreciate my student freedoms but I was taking my degree a lot more seriously, because for the first time I’d really considered why it was important to get a decent grade.

    The infographic was interesting! xx

    • ninegrandstudent

      I’ll definitely be using my degree too, so at least I know its not a real waste! Currently on my Year in Industry too, and I can definitely feel the benefit already! x

  • Jennifer K

    This is really interesting to read, mostly because I have a pretty skewed experience of university! My course is all about preparing for a particular career so things like teamwork, full time working (and nightshifts!) and good communication skills are essential parts of my time at university. With my degree being so specific to a particular career, it would be pointless if it didn’t teach us how to do the job! Having said that though, a lot of the course is also jumping through hoops, lots of ‘exam technique’ rather than authentic pratice (such as spending a whole hour speaking to and examining patients instead of a more realistic 10 minutes if you’re lucky) and the junior doctors tell me that they learned more in their first year of work than they did in five years of medical school.
    I definitely agree though that if universities are going to charge the fees they do, they have to be worth the money. A degree should prepare you for work, not just be another step or box ticked before you can start!
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    • ninegrandstudent

      I definitely think some degrees are worth it – mine is very specific to my career so I know I need to do it. But there’s definitely a lot that university can’t teach you! x

  • I absolutely agree with you that I wouldn’t have gone to be quite honest, looking back. Or if I did, I’d do it a lot differently. I do think it depends on the course. I definitely think the practical side of courses is a lot more helpful to people, with just a little in regards to the technical, written side. Unless what people are actually studying focuses on that.

    I’m studying TV Production and yes, I’ve got to work with equipment that I wouldn’t have if I was just plodding along, but at the same time…I think I could have got there eventually, it would just take me a little longer to do so. Or I could have actually been making my own short films, and getting the practice, instead of writing essays.

    But then again, I suppose I would never have finally found out I have Dyslexia, and that even though I suck at some things because of this, I rock at coming up with and writing TV Pitches (A*!!! First A grade ever in my life). It’s actually also made me realise in this second year that as I come towards the end of the course…(even though I could stay on and do a top up year – I’m not) that the path I was so determined to go down of camerawork is something that I don’t think I’ll do. That I may infact want to do directing! This is literally in the last week or two I’ve come to this realisation. Kind of sucks that I’ll be having to pay £18,000+ back, for that realisation!

    To be honest, I’ll be doing what I would have done, had I not gone to uni by trying to get work experience, or shadow those in productions. But hey, maybe the fact I’ve done the course may prove something, even though for me work experience has always peaked people’s interests more than a course…

    If I could do it again though in regards to uni, I’d probably go to a London one that specialised in TV, film or theatre because even though this course at the particular uni I’m at is okay, I feel that a lot of people on the course weren’t into it as much as me. I feel that some are there and just hope it gives them the answers to what career they want. Maybe it will, but for many, it won’t. I also chose this uni because it’s in the area I live in, therefore saved on accomodation costs.

    Phew! Sorry for the essay there….

    • ninegrandstudent

      No need to apologise, I loved hearing your story! Sounds like you have it sussed now, and I wish you luck in the future! x

  • Wow – that infographic was really interesting! I’d be interested to know where they surveyed undergraduates? (which country, program, etc.) Or maybe I missed that.

    I’m from Canada and I did a social sciences undergrad, and now I’m doing more social sciences research in a sciences graduate program. (Sounds confusing – I know!) In my experience and seeing what I do as a Teaching Assistant, the amount of critical thinking and ability to work independently differs vastly from program to program. I also don’t think that many students get hands on research experience – unless they’re talking about writing a paper. But as far as actually being part of a research project (in terms of collecting data, analyzing data, and going through the publishing process) – it’s almost unheard of for undergrads.

    xx Kathryn

    • ninegrandstudent

      I’d definitely be interested in that too! And I’d definitely love more hands-on programming in my course, I felt my skills were lacking when I started my placement! x

  • Corinne C

    I love uni and I’m so glad I went, but I think it taught me more life skills than education. I disagree with a lot of it because it did help me with realistic budging, for example, and team work was a big part of my course. I also had to have self-motivation as a lot of it was self study, only 12 hours of actually classes per week and I did a year placement during uni so got work experience too.

    I also ate healthily too. I guess this infograph is good to refer to the sterotypical student, but most people aren’t sterotypical 🙂

    Thankfully I went to uni the year before the tuition fees went up and the government paid for mine due to my parents not earning a lot of money, but for those who paid I think it was £1175 a year.

    Corinne x

    • ninegrandstudent

      Lucky – I wish teamwork was included in my degree. I do zero group work, which is so frustrating given its important for the job the degree directly leads on to. I don’t agree with everything on the infographic, but I do think university isn’t all its made out to be by a lot of sixth forms! x

  • Even though I’m not using my degree for anything when I graduate, going to uni has made me realise more what I want to do with my life, and i don’t think I would have gotten that if I didn’t come. That and all the other experiences ive had here, I definitely think it was worth coming for me!

    The Velvet Black // UK Style, Beauty Blog

    • ninegrandstudent

      I definitely think it was worth it for me, but I do think too many people go just because its the ‘thing to do!’ x

  • I definitely don’t think degrees are worth £9000 a year, but Im still going to do it. I’ve learnt so much at Uni, and although I don’t need a degree for the field I want to work in I would still have come to uni. Im a different person for having gone to uni, and I want to do so much more with my life than If i hadn’t gone to uni.

    Emma x
    Writing Essays With Wine

    • ninegrandstudent

      I have the same thinking of you – though I do need a degree for my field! x

  • Heather

    I think my time at uni taught me a lot of life skills but not necessarily skills that will benefit my in the job hunt. I am in a bit of a similar situation to your boyfriend and am definitely now taking the time to look at alternative ways to get into the job sector I want to be in, although I’m very glad to hear things are going better for him.

    Heather x

    • ninegrandstudent

      I definitely agree with you – hope things go well! x