University isn’t the only path to success

As the academic year comes to an end, students up and down the country are preparing to sit their final exams and putting the finishing touches on their final dissertations.

Whilst university definately has it’s place in society, it’s definately not for everyone. I strongly believe that too much pressure and emphasis is put on teenagers and young adults to go to university with the misconception that it will guarentee you a good job at the end of it.

You do not need to go to university to prove your intellegence. However if you are looking to get into a specific sector such as medicine, law, engineering or mathematics then it is essential to have a degree in the required subject. Unfortunately majority of young people seem to be under the impression that regardless of what they are studying, having a degree guarantees them a job upon completion. Unfortunately the sad reality is this is not true. In recent times it has become so easy and popular to get a degree, that it is loosing its meaning and having gone to university is loosing it’s prestige. Going back twenty years ago 1 out of 5 people applying for a job may have had a degree – making them more desireable and significantly increasing the chances of them getting the job, but when that figure rises to 4 out of 5 people going in for a job who have a degree, the trump card no longer works and the chances of that guaranteed job become less.

Now I am in no way saying people should quit their day job and drop out of uni to chase their dreams of walking on the moon. The point I am trying to make is that everyone is different. There are so many differen’t options available with no single route to take in order to be succesful in life. If you want something enough, then you will get there. As long as you are prepared to put the hard work in then the rest will follow.

Without taking away any credit from universities, I think more credit should be given to vocational learning and qualifications such as nvq’s, apprenticeships and work schemes. I think society is too quick to disregard the vocational routes available to young people. Doing an apprenticeship or other form of work based learning allows you to get the best of both worlds as you are not only gaining practical knowledge and experience of working for an employer but you are also working through a recognised qualification which allows you develop a good theoretical understanding of the environment and job you are in. Apprenticeships allow the employer to shape their apprentice according to the role required therefore making them more liable to being kept on with the company once the apprenticehip is complete.

Whilst I believe that no time in education is ever a waste of time, I also believe that there are different options and routes available to different people depending on what they want to achieve in their lives.

It’s a big shame to be studying a subject you don’t care about, to get a job you don’t like in order to impress people you don’t know.

If you focus your whole life on doing something you don’t enjoy eventually it will catch up with you. If you enjoy what you are doing then that will always show. Never let go of your dreams or loose sight of what you want out of life. Don’t let other people get in the way or influence the decisions in your life. The happier you are with the decisions you make the less it matters what other people think about them.

I think it is also really important to understand that not having a degree doesn’t make you any less of a person than someone who does.

I didn’t go to college and I don’t have a degree. Yet at twenty years old, I have my own flat, a full time job with a company that makes £34 billion a year and a steady income. I don’t have to rely on my parents or the government for support and I have acheieved 3 vocational qualifications since leaving school five years ago, whilst managing to live independantly and not going to university.

Life is what we make of it and the only limits we have are the limits we set ourselves.

A huge conratulations to everyone who has survived it to the end of their degree but i’d also like to congratulate all those who dared to take the less traditional routes to get where they want.

Whichever road you decide to take, it’s never too late to turn back and start again.

For any young people unsure about their future or looking for alternatives to further education here are some great links to explore your options further :

http://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/

http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/

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