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Should you go to University? from someone who's done it!

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

At school you are encouraged to go to college.

From college you must go to a university.

From university it’s a graduate job (if your degree classification isn’t enough to land your job on it’s own).

We trust these institutions, after all we pay good money to attend them. Top professors and lecturers are hired to speak there, they have worked in the industry field you want to advance into. They must know what they are talking about.

Only half of all UK graduates are working in a field that relates to their degree after leaving university, according to new research published today.
In addition, 96 per cent say they had switched careers by the time they reached the age of 24.

If I was to do university again, I would have a good long hard conversation with myself if it’s an actual industry I’d want to work in.

Don’t pick a degree because you enjoy it, or it’s fun. Yes that will certainly be a big attractor. But if it’s a subject you have a passion or enthusiasm in, I would argue that you could naturally study it at your own pace and time far greater than paying an institution to teach it to you.

Not only is there a cost of attending an institution (the costs are somewhat more hidden or swept under the carpet in the UK), there’s the time consideration involved. An undergraduate degree typically takes 3 years. That’s a long time. Even if you do manage to statistically pick the option that is correct for you. Could you, if motivated, learn more on the subject in a shorter time?

One in three university students wish they had chosen a different course, says study

No longer is not having a degree a barrier for entry into life, it is the rarity. The opportunity to show an employer what you have done in the real world whilst your school friends and colleagues have been tied to an institution.

I would most likely argue that a degree shows an employer that you have been moulded or conformed. Perfect in the realms of most employers.

But the big companies, the big hitters or even starting up on your own. Any qualification (irregardless of subject) is just about becoming a required standard. Fundamentally, a university degree shows that you can self directed get yourself to the finish line. Can you navigate the chaotic world os social events, living by yourself/with friends and still manage to come out with a degree.

There should be 2 degree classifications. Those who stayed at home with their parents during their studies, and those who moved away from home!

So, as someone who studied at University, graduated with a first class with honours in Film & TV Production, now working as a licensed London taxi driver, what’s my take on it?

For me, it gave me the confidence that I could set-up anywhere in the country (or the world for that matter) and get on with life. I had never had an extended period away from my hometown, and university taught me about exploring and being out of my comfort zone in terms of regular everyday life.

University also taught me about learning to learn. The idea that I can go in any direction to advance whatever I need to advance, whether that’s learning about proper nutrition and exercise (admittedly it took 2 of the 3 years to learn this). Or later on, my flat mate who introduced me to this wicked thing called The Knowledge, and set it me in the direction I now sail. It’s about being able to spot opportunities and live outside of the area of comfort so you can go for them.

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Richard Phipps
Richard Phipps
Oct 25, 2021

Incredible, a first at degree level.

Amazing Tom, shows how smart London taxi drivers are

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