I turned 21 recently, so most of my friends have just finished university or have a year left. I’ve spent the past three years of my life working full time, growing as a person, saving money, trying to figure out what I want to do, and being asked if I regret not going to uni.
My immediate answer to that question is no. I’m glad I didn’t go to university. I changed my mind about what course I wanted to take too many times before I even began the application process, and I wasn’t ready to commit myself to studying something I might later regret.
There are two main reasons why I wish I’d gone to uni, the first being that I missed out on a lot of the social life (mostly partying) that my friends had because I was busy working. The other reason is that if I went to university, I wouldn’t have had to discuss why my career has gone nowhere for the past three years. I’ve struggled to figure out my future so I’ve stayed at the same job, and it frustrates me how often I get asked why I’m still doing what I do.
My job isn’t ideal for life, and I’m fully aware of that, but I like it. It’s really helped me to develop over the past three years – I’m way more confident than ever before, I know how to handle so many different personalities in the workplace, and I’m proud of myself for sticking at a job for three years.
I am truly glad I didn’t go to uni. I prefer working, having a solid routine, and earning money. I know I wouldn’t enjoy lectures, because by the time I finished college I was done with sitting around being taught. I much prefer learning on the job, so I’m proud of myself for standing my ground and not being pushed into going to uni. Our college leader actually told us to go to uni if we didn’t know what to do, just to get a degree in something we liked. I think it’s fair advice, but it also annoys me that that was made to seem like the only option. ‘Go to uni, even if you don’t know what to do. It’s better than going out to work straight away.’ That advice is definitely not for everyone. I know if I went with that mindset, I would have been following the crowd, not my heart (wow, that’s cheesy, but very true, so I’ll keep that sentence in while gagging through the grossness).
When everyone was putting in their university applications, I felt quite alone. I was made to feel like I was making a mistake, and like I was the only person in my year not going to uni. I wish there was more support there for people who don’t want to go, especially as I later found out that only 48% of my year went to uni. The rest of us didn’t get much guidance on what to do next. I felt lost, and I’m still struggling with that feeling. It’s disheartening, but I know I’ll get there one day.