More Than Just a Degree

Choose a degree. Choose a career. Chosoe a future. Choose a life. University is all about working to get that degree that will look great on your CV, preparing you for the world of work and launching you into the high-earning career of your dreams. After three years of blood, sweat and tears or more likely tests, all night study sessions and Starbucks trips, seemingly your entire life hinges on that one piece of paper with your name on it and ideally a ‘first’ somewhere close to it.  It’s all very daunting isn’t it? We’re constantly told by our parents how vital university is and how important it is to do well if you want to be successful in later life. Plus with astronomical university costs (Yes £9000 of it!) to contend with and the constant talk of rising competition from the BRIC countries, the pressure to achieve can often be crippling. But it shouldn’t be. There should be more to university than just deadlines, grades and degrees. University should be seen more as a once in a life time experience where you try new things, learn more about yourself, acquire new hobbies and interests and meet lifelong friends or girl/boyfriend if you’re lucky. So there shouldn’t be a dark cloud over your head constantly reminding you not to fail, the pressure to achieve weighing heavily down on your shoulders or bad grades keeping you up at night. While I’m not saying doing well academically isn’t important because it certainly is, but the truth is university is as much about going on a journey of growth and discovery as it is about earning a degree.

Lifelong friends

You have heard it so much already, no wonder it has become an annoying cliché. But the thing with most cliché’s is that they are true! University is a great place to meet potentially the friends you will carry with you to old age.  As much as we hate to admit it, while the friends we make in Secondary school may appear great at the time, but they never really live up to our university friends. You have so much more in common with the people in your university course because you want to get into the same career and your friendships are based on a profounder bases than just a shared love of Pokémon. But if we allow yourselves consumed by work, we could possibly miss out on the opportunity to develop these strong bonds. Also when you think about it, it’s a lot easier to lose a job than to lose a true friend (Oh that’s good a one!  Might have to use that as my inspiration Instagram quote of the day).

Self-discovery

Who would ever have thought it, the guy who spent years rocking a bright blue, puffy body warmer and considered a pair of bright red chino’s a wardrobe staple. Would have gone on to be a trendy fashionista, considered by some as stylish (Thanks mum!). Before university I thought Tom Ford was the guy who made cars and a Chelsea boot was something worn by John Terry.  Now I can tell you that pret-a-porter means ready to wear in French, Olivier Rousteing is the head designer at Balmain and Victoria Beckham is a far better fashion designer than she is a Spice Girl. Without any real initial intention, university guided me towards fashion and I subsequently feel in love with it. Fashion is now my passion (Got to love a cliché!); I’m currently part of the university fashion society, I regularly write fashion articles on my blog and have ambitions to shoot fashion videos professionally. Thanks to club and societies, university actively pushes you to try new things that you might not like at first, but eventually you could learn to love.

New experiences

In and among the responsibilities and routines, life at times can be boring and tedious so it’s as to no surprise that most of us yarn for adventure, travel and the exciting unknown. Mine was called America.  Saying that I was obsessed with all things America growing up, would be an understatement. As a kid America was a world of limitless possibility and was a place where you could dream and achieve the impossible as long as you wanted it hard enough. The idea of the American dream resonated deep into the very fibre of my being. However I wasn’t Charlie and his golden ticket, Alice and her wonderland or Peter and his Narnia, so unfortunately I never got the opportunity to go to the magical land of my dreams. But through university I came into contact with Camp Leaders, which was a company that specialised in sending people across Europe to America to work at summer camps.  After going through the simple steps of the application processes and paying the reasonable fees, a seven hour plane ride (first time on a plane btw) later and I was finally in America! Sure I had never been to a summer camp, lived with Americans or done archery before, but acclimatising and learning new things was an absolute blast! Thus it went on to be the best summer of my life so far and if it wasn’t for university I don’t think I would have been given that opportunity.

Go to university. Work hard. Do well, but also don’t forget to enjoy all the other wonderful things university has to offer; great friends, new experiences and a better understanding of who you are, because there is more to life than just degrees. Choose fun, choose adventure, choose a YOLO life.

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