I went to University and did a Bachelor of Arts Degree. I didn’t work very hard and quite frankly spent three years drunk. I left Uni and ended up in a job that paid less than what I could have expected if I had got a job straight from school.
So, was it worth it? Absolutely YES!
Would I recommend anyone go to University today? Absolutely YES!
I bet you thought I was going to go with the new trendy view that University is now pointless and that practical experience is what employers are truly looking for. An entrepreneurial spirit and zest to learn is the new buzz around town but I truly believe the University education route still has a great deal of value to add.
But there is a BUT because when I went to Uni it was free and my dad paid my living expenses, which meant I left without any debt. I had gained a degree, gained friends for life, gained life experience without any real responsibility and grown a beard. What it also meant was that I had no real drive to push me to focus.
It wasn’t helped that I didn’t have any clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. I did know that I liked drinking and applied for a Graduate position at a major wine retailor. I even got an interview but I had never had an interview in my life and no work experience. It was genuinely an awful experience. I had to drive a couple of hours and arrived early because I had at least allowed for traffic (the only thing I did right all day), with time to kill I found a pub where I ordered myself a pint. In what world, I thought that having a pint before an interview was a clever idea, I’ll never know! But if only that was the end of it. Ow no, in a massive Frank Spencer style manoeuvre I knocked half the pint all over myself, so I was then wet and stank of beer. I managed to dry myself off using the car heaters but could not get rid of the stink.
Prior to the interview I had received a pack of preparation I needed to do, including visiting one of their stores. I did not do any of it.
So, there I was sat in front of the interviewers smelling and having done zero preparation; I was asked about the store I had visited but in a blatant dismissal of their requirements I brushed this aside with no reason or apology. The rest of the interview went downhill from there. At the time, I knew I hadn’t done great but for no reason based in reality, I still thought that I had got the job.
It was a complete shock to me when the letter came telling me I was unsuccessful. Looking back on it now, I would have thrown me out after about a minute. I am probably a story they still tell now on the worst interview they have ever had.
Having a Degree on my CV has been a point of pride and does help open doors but I would never have taken that route if I would have had to pay tuition fees and start my life with crippling debt. I believe that my innate drive and intelligence, which once actually applied would still have meant that I was a success.
But what if that debt wasn’t crippling, what if that was a driver from day one, to push you and ensure you excelled? What if it focussed your mind and forced you into having a plan, rather than doing something purely for the sake of it? What if the creation of adversity was the thing you needed to take you out of your comfort zone and over achieve?
You should go to Uni if you have a plan and know what you want to be. You should go to Uni if you have a defined career path that needs a degree or the knowledge that can only be learned at Uni e.g. Doctors and Lawyers. Otherwise don’t bother – go out and get a job or build your own business.
If you take the cost of a degree in tuition fees alone it’s £27,750 – this is the debt you are left with and will start your working life with. If you are going to be a Doctor or Lawyer, this is absolutely a sound investment as your earnings will be enough to justify the investment. But if you are going to flop out of Uni into a call centre because you don’t have a plan then it’s a pointless millstone.
Why not also think that if you had £27,750 could you start your own business? What would you do and what could you create with this?
In conclusion, I genuinely believe there is value in Uni if you have a defined career path and know what you want to achieve by getting a degree. But if you don’t then there are lots of more practical options out there for you…
…and just don’t worry if you fail sometimes. Your failures help shape you and if nothing else give you some great stories along the way.