The reality of University – Is it worth it? Will I like my flatmates?*
If you’re getting your A level results on Thursday, first of all good luck, but second you’ll be thinking about what’s next. Whatever you want to do, whether it’s University, an apprenticeship, a job etc. I hope it works out for you!
One thing no one told me leading up to results day was that it’s okay to not know what you want to do after education. I had my place at the University of Leeds confirmed to study Broadcast Journalism, but even then I had doubts about a career as a Journalist. If I were to choose a degree program today, it probably wouldn’t be the same as the one I choose at 17. But that’s okay because at that age, how can anyone expect you to know what you want to do for the REST of your life? So I thought I’d write a post telling you it’s okay to not be sure about what you want to do and what you can expect at University…
These days there are degree courses on just about anything, from gender studies to Harry Potter (the dream). Learning at University is very independent. It’s up to you to attend class and do extra reading and keep on top of essays/revision. Because of that, I think its super important to choose something you’re interested in. The workload varies from course to course and employers aren’t just looking for degrees anymore – with so many people studying, there’s more competition for graduate jobs and depending on your career path, you might need experience in certain fields. During the last year of my degree, I interned with a high profile PR company, worked as the Head of Promotion for a huge charity fashion show and as the Media and Communications Director for a national conference, did social media for companies as a freelancer and, of course, ran my blog. It was a hectic year but the experiences I had really benefitted me and have mostly come from University. I’ve made connections at networking events held by my school and been part of the RAG (raise and give society), which has given me plenty of opportunities and even more fantastic memories. If nothing else, my degree has opened a lot of doors and afforded me a fantastic group of friends and a wonderful other half. But is it worth all that money?
receiving a special recognition award from Leeds RAG
with fellow blogger Em Sheldon at LRFS 2015
Yes it is a LOT of money but if you’re willing to work hard, it’s worth it. Try not to get too down about student loan debt – after all there are lots of ways you can get help with finance and the rise in tuition fees means you need to be earning more before you start paying it back. University can also be your first taste of living away from home with means doing all the shopping, cooking and cleaning for yourself. One thing that worried me was meeting my flatmates in first year. Being randomly stuck in a flat with four strangers didn’t appeal to me but I was willing to give it a go. I didn’t really gel with my flatmates but it wasn’t a problem because I had other friends (think of all the people you’ll meet on your course or in accommodation or at socials). There’s an expectation for you to be friends with your flatmates but it really doesn’t matter if you don’t. I’ve left University with a wonderful group of friends that mean the world to me and I’ll always treasure.
As far as actual learning is concerned, because I’d decided to pursue a career outside of Journalism, a lot of what I studied isn’t as relevant to me as it is to others. Politics and media law have given me a more rounded education and I can use more editing software than before but I would have loved to study modules on feminism. A lot of courses offer electives (modules that fall outside of your degree) but because my course is accredited by the BTJC, there are strict rules about the topics you can study – something to look out for before heading off to University.
My University experience has had ups and downs but I’m so happy with the way things turned out. The thing to take from this piece of writing is no matter what you’re worried about (grades, course, finance or finding friends), it’ll work out in the end. If you’re still not sure what you’d like to do or you’re interested in getting some hands on experience in different fields, check out this video from the University of Greenwich, it’s all about their mentoring scheme*!
*This post was sponsored by the University of Greenwich but is 100% my opinion and experience that I’ve shared with you. I’ve wanted to write this for a while and hopefully it’ll help one or two of you!