At the moment, there are youngsters having to make huge life changing decisions now that their GCSE/A Level results have been given to them. I wish them every success and I hope they get to go down the path that they want to travel down.
When my GCSE results came out, I didn’t do overly brilliant, I got just about enough of the right grades to get into college.
I knew from a young high school age that I wasn’t be cut out for university. The uni life was never a life I envisaged for myself. I never really thought that taking that advance into further education was something I REALLY wanted to do or was the right thing for me to do.
I always knew I wanted to do an A level type qualification of some sort, I knew college was for me because the high school I went to was a dump, I had unhappy memories there so I wanted to branch out and make the bold move to go to college.
I knew that going to college would give me the start to my independence and meeting new people would be good for me. Meeting new people in college I felt was a great boost in my confidence as it allowed me to be myself. In school, I got bullied for being myself. Going to college would mean that (hopefully) my new classmates would like me for who I was.
I won’t lie to you guys, on my first day of college, I was incredibly nervous. This was like starting a whole new chapter in my life, one which I would hope I would enjoy and grasp with both hands. But one thing that I realised was that all my other 20 classmates were in the same boat as me. They were all probably just as nervous and angst about starting this new educational venture.
I spent three years and completed two different A Level style qualifications in college and I left from there to search for a job, again, a start of another new chapter in my life.
I kind of wanted to write this post to not only share my experience of college life but to say that’s totally ok if you feel that uni isn’t the right life for you after college. Just because you don’t want to go to uni, it doesn’t mean you won’t be as successful.
For example, one of my closest friends (who I met in college) is now the manager of a private nursery. She’s only got a college qualification behind her. I’m so proud of her because she’s worked her backside off to get to this position.
The main point of this post is to follow your own path. Don’t feel pressurised into going to uni if it doesn’t feel right for you. Like I said, you can be just as accomplished from a college education as you would from a uni one.
However, I don’t want to paint college as a fairyland where everything is all unicorns, pizza and vodka. One thing I wish comp had taught me was how much college work I would be doing not just in the college library, but at home too. College is so much different to high school. I wish I realised this as it wouldn’t have felt so daunting on my first day when they lumbered us with so many forms, books and folders. Believe me, college tutors love throwing the work at you. Homework needs completion by the next day or at the very latest, by the end of the week. The last thing you want is to fall behind with the homework and the work that has to be done in lessons.
Like I mentioned near the start of this post, you won’t barely know anybody in college. It’s not like in school where you know most people in your year group and the odd person in the year group above or below you. College means a new start, new surroundings and more importantly, new people.
Also, college will be like a fashion show. No uniforms. Wear whatever the hell you want. Happy days. You can wear your own clothes, you’ll be loving life. After all, you’ve spent five years in a uniform. My classmates from over the three years barely wore loungewear or jogging bottoms. We always looked nice! Mind you, if that’s your thing, then flaunt the loungewear like you’re on the catwalk!
Before I forget, this is an important thing to mention, college years go by in a flash. Those three years I spent in the library, getting pizza and chips for lunch every day, swearing at the computer for freezing on me when I was halfway through my assignment and the laughs and dramas with friends will fly by. If you go to college, make the most of your time there. The work is going to be harder than it was in comp, but the memories you’ll make will make you forget all the blood, sweat and tears you poured into your assignments.
I always say that college made me the person I am today. It helped shape me into the person I was meant to be. High school didn’t do that for me, I was made to feel ashamed to be the person I wanted to be like.
So if you’re debating whether after to go to uni or not after your A Levels or even GCSE’s, follow your own heart. I genuinely think your heart needs to be in it when it comes to wanting to pursue the uni life. Can you really put your mind to 3/4 years of further education? Don’t be pushed into it. If you’re still unsure, take a gap year and see what you feel after 12 months.
Do I regret not going to uni? Hmm, I sometimes do think what my life would be like now if I chose to go to uni. Deep down, I kind of wish I experienced it, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did going to college. Plus the thought of uni debts lingering over my life for the foreseeable years wasn’t really an attractive option for me personally!