University or No University... that is the question!

University or No University... that is the question!

A question that has frustrated and confused me over the past few years is that surrounding whether or not to go to university. It left me stuck for many a reason;

·      What are my other options? Most schools push university as the best option – for my school this was definitely the case and whilst university is the best option for some, it isn’t the best for everyone. Even when I asked about and researched my other choices, I always found them downplayed and discouraged. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my school, but like all schools they encouraged university as the best for everyone.

·      What do I study? This is a question I think everyone who is unsure about university asks themselves. It is definitely a top reason why I struggled with the decision of whether to go to university or not. Not knowing what I wanted to study was clearly an underlying query of whether I wanted to apply to go at all.

·       Am I ready? Throughout Sixth Form I was pretty much 100% sure that I wasn’t ready to move away from home to a new place with new people. I am very much a ‘home bird’ and therefore I saw university as quite overwhelming. However, even if you don’t feel ready now, you may feel ready in the future. In this case it might be a good idea to take a gap year and give yourself more time to see if you feel set to go or not.

·      All my friends want to go. As university is now often the most popular route to follow after school, all of my friends were set on attending. This made me feel as though I had to; and (even though I had very supportive friends personally) if you are feeling pressure to go to university from friends or even from family, it is important to do what makes you happy – don’t follow the crowd (unless of course the crowd is doing something you love).  

·      Social life. I know that the reason to go to university is to study, however I always felt as though if I didn’t go to university I would miss out on all these fun nights and days spent with people who’d be my friends forever. But, I always told myself that if I went to university I could make friends, and if I didn’t I could make friends. You create your own social life, and whilst it might be easier at university, don’t let social life be the main reason why you go or don’t. In fact, I am more of a ‘night in’ person than a ‘night out’, and this also made the renowned ‘nightlife’ of university quite daunting. This is another reason as to why I struggled with the thought of university; would I enjoy the nightlife as much as others? Would I want to go out? Would I meet people who love a ‘night in’ like me? But then again, you create your own type of social life, so try not to let this be a real deciding factor.

Luckily for me, my family are very supportive of my indecisiveness and whatever option I pick, they’d encourage me through it. If you’re reading this and your family or friends are pushing you to go or not to go to university, remember to look to yourself first and whilst respecting their opinion, also respect your own. Because I was so indecisive, I have taken a gap year to really think through what I want to do and make sure I am clear on what path I want to follow.

If you are reading this blog post, I’m sure you’re looking for a YES or NO answer, a PROs and CONs list, however I’m afraid I cannot make one for you. Even though I have made many a list of options myself and I would recommend you researching and doing the same, I think the decision as to what to do after school is personal. If you take anything from this blog post, take the fact that the choice is YOURS. It should come down to you.
I would never encourage or discourage people from going to university. I know people who have gone to university and absolutely loved it and would recommend it to anyone, but I also know people who didn’t go, don’t feel as though they missed out and love what they are doing now. Basically, what it comes down to is YOU. Do YOU want to go to university? Do YOU want to take a ‘gap year’? Do YOU want to go down another path? I would encourage you to explore your options and make sure you are making a decision off your own back and not someone else’s.

I hope this helps, and I hope whether you decide to go to university or not, that you love what you do and do it for yourself.

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