Why I’m glad I didn’t go to university

I feel like this is going to be a bit of a controversial blog. I’d like to say I’m sorry in advance but I’m not going to. Why? Because this is a personal post. I’m not saying don’t go to university if you want to, but put simply, this is why I’m thankful I didn’t.

Just about everywhere you go, people tell you “Go to Uni! Get a degree! It’s worth it!”

Side note, you don’t need to listen to them! It’s not worth it. At least it wasn’t for me.

Why I'm glad I didn't go to university

Cast your mind back to when you were in sixth form or your last couple of years of college. The stresses of trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life can be overwhelming. When I was 17, which seems a lifetime ago, I was dead set on taking my dance training further and heading off to university.

I went to countless auditions and open days up and down the country, from Leeds Uni, down to Southampton and more. My poor Mum came with me to every single one and supported me through them all. Mum if you’re reading, you’re a real legend. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m honestly glad I went and experienced this.

If you’ve ever been in the arts or studied performing you’ll know how tough it is. The constant struggle with rejection after rejection after hours of gruelling auditions, your poor feet hurting, cut and bleeding after training. It’s an incredibly tough industry. One I’m glad I got out of.

The only suitable training for dance that would have really taken me anywhere, honestly, was in London. Being a Yorkshire girl and loving living up here, moving down to London wasn’t really an option. The prospect of being in such a big city was daunting for me at the time, so I pushed University to the side…way way way to the side.

And I’m glad I did.

Why I'm glad I didn't go to university

By not going to university this meant I had to find out what I wanted to do the hard way. Trial and error. I worked in retail which most young people do. It’s great for a while, but truly, I hated it. Now I’m a people person, but some of the people who came into the store where I worked, were so rude, so belittling, and downright awful, that I didn’t stay in retail for too long.

I couldn’t honestly tell you what ignited my next career choice but this was truly such a good experience for me. I think I can put it partially down to Pinterest and my love at looking at wedding photos. So with that, I decided to try my hand at wedding planning. After starting up my own company and building my own website, “Weddings with Ease UK” was born. Some of my fondest working memories are from weddings I have planned and been a part of.

However having no experience in the industry at all I thought it best to get some hands on experience, and one afternoon I stumbled across a job advert online for a trainee wedding planner in Harrogate. BONUS. I could work, get paid and learn on the job! After an intense interview process of a written test, maths test and also 1:1 chat I was offered the job, I couldn’t believe my luck. Someone was willing to take a chance on me.

Four years of industry experience and 6 years of going it alone alongside this, I decided my time had come to change. Running my own wedding planning company was fantastic and I absolutely loved being my own boss, but honestly, the income wasn’t enough to give up my full time job.

Whilst doing this I found a passion for website building, social media and all things digital, so decided to look into Marketing.

Why I'm glad I didn't go to university

Again, I’d never had thought back when I was 17 that marketing would have been a career choice for me. To be completely honest when I was that age, social media had only just kicked off. We were in the realms of MySpace back then. Facebook had only just started a couple of years before and YouTube for me, was unheard of!

I went for a couple of interviews which were unsuccessful. It’s a tough game is changing careers as you have to really explain to people how your skills are transferrable. Finally though, I landed myself a fantastic job with a company in Harrogate, which I still love to this day. Yes it’s tough but I’ve found my passion.

Whilst working in this job it’s also ignited my passion for writing again, hence the creation of Sophie’s Choice last year. Being away from the hospitality and wedding industry has allowed me to blog on an evening as well as freeing up my weekends too.

My job has also allowed my to take my certificate in professional marketing which is giving me a qualification which I wouldn’t have taken at uni. It’s allowed me to gain hands on, industry experience which to me, is invaluable, and something which nowadays, future employers look for.

I find it so sad to read about graduates that come out of university and cannot find a job.

There is a big flaw when employing people nowadays though. The whole “you must have at least 1, 2, 3 or more years of experience in X Y Z”. So you’re telling me that even though you go to uni, work hard for however many years, that you won’t be able to get a job straight away? It’s an unfortunate truth and I know several people who struggled very badly when they first came out. It took months of painstaking job hunting before they found anything.

The biggest bonus I guess for me by not going to uni, bar the fact that I would have wasted three years training to be a dancer and probably not have followed it up afterwards, is that I’m not in debt. This was one of my deciding factors as well as location when I chose not to go. I couldn’t face being in £27,000 + worth of debt at the end of it. For me, it wasn’t worth it.

On the flip side, if you’re training to be a Doctor or Teacher or a profession where it requires you to train, 100% yes, go for it, work hard, you are some of the people I admire the most! But if you’re wanting to go, just because it gets you a degree, or for the simple fact you get “money” to half arsed study and get drunk for three years, just don’t bother. You’d be better off in my opinion, learning on the job and getting hands on experience.

Doing it this way has taught me more not only about my job roles, but things about myself that I wouldn’t have learnt sat in lecture theatres.

Did you go to uni? Was it a worthwhile investment for you? I’d love to know your thoughts and opinions in the comments 🙂

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8 responses to “Why I’m glad I didn’t go to university”

  1. Amy Turk says:

    I loved this post, Sophie. Wedding planning sounds like so much fun! I honestly thought you would need an events degree for that so that just goes to show that you’re made to feel like uni is the only option when you’re a young college student!

    I went to uni to study Creative Writing because at the time, everyone was going and I had serious FOMO. I wish I didn’t go. I wasted so much money and I now have a job in marketing that I’m pretty sure I could have got without a degree. Don’t get me wrong, I made some amazing friends there but I really think other options should be made more clear when students reach the age of deciding whether they go to uni.

    Glad you’re happy! x x

    • Thanks so much Amy! It’s super fun and you’d be surprised, most events places and hotels look for people with experience rather than an events degree.

      Well good for you for still sticking it out hun! But you’re right, I got my job in marketing with little experience and have had to graft and prove myself. I’m getting my qualification on the job which is being paid for by my employer so it hasn’t landed me in debt. I definitely think you’re right, other options need to be made clear to people when they’re leaving school.

      xx

  2. Jess Pacheco says:

    Congratulations to you for exploring your life and breaking boundaries in doing so. Much of society puts this fake expatiation on generations to do one in the same thing. I cannot argue that education is important, but it’s most important to know that it isn’t for everyone. I have known too many people in my short life thus far who are thousands of dollars in debt for a degree they didn’t end up using. This is why I appreciate the Australian way of living – they graduate high school and travel abroad for a year – which is called a gap year. This enlightens them, introduces them to new people and things – they come back after a gap year ready to learn and more sure of themselves. I think your way of discovery is wonderful and very inspiring. I, myself, having gone to uni and having been in my career for 6 years, am still figuring out my strengths and talents. This is a lifetime process and I think you started it off is a tremendous way. Thanks for sharing!

    xo, Jess || https://www.learningfromstrangers.com

  3. This is so great! Going to university is pushed on us so hard (especially in the US) and sharing your story about surviving without it is refreshing. I did end up going myself, but I’m okay with that decision despite the debt I have. I’m so glad you’ve found a passion. Your website is beautiful!

    XO Steph

    littlemissshortstuff.wordpress.com

    • Thanks so much hun! It’s pushed on us too in the UK, but the idea of not going and doing an apprenticeship or going into work is becoming more common now. I’m glad you’re OK with your decision about going 🙂 It works for some and not for others. Thanks so much for your comments 🙂 x

  4. Raluca says:

    I went to university back in romania, i finished one of the firsts and then I moved to the states and guess what. Nobody cares about My studies. This is the sad truth. I totally agree with you. Great article!!!

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