Why I Decided To Go Back To University

010_7.jpgAs I type this, there is the lovely sounds of cicadas outside, and the sun is starting to hide behind the clouds. My room is dimly lit, and I’m home from a day of lectures. I believe that university is not the only road to succeed. It’s a place to learn, expand our knowledge and learn new skills. Though, often university is tied into the belief that everyone must finish high school, go to university, graduate, find a great job and get married. The reality is that everyone is on their own journey. There are some people who will go to uni and then there are some who won’t. Writing this article out feels like a breath of fresh air.

I left home at 16 and started my first year at university. At the time I was studying a Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance, majoring on the flute. Fast track two years, I was 18 and didn’t feel that it was the right path for me anymore. I moved to Sydney and studied a Fashion course for a year, and gained a few internship experiences, work experiences and life lessons. It was a really beneficial time for my self growth. I’m a firm believer of going for what feels right in your heart. If you have a goal set in your mind, the only downside you could face is failure. If you don’t try then you’ll never know.

Work experience is so important. I knew several people in Sydney who didn’t have a degree, but built their work experience over years and years. However, I do find that in our generation, a huge majority of jobs require a tertiary education. Timing is everything. This time round, I felt a little more wiser and more mature. There was more sureness of what I’d like to achieve in my life, and I felt more desire to learn new things. I’d learned a lot of lessons you learn out of school, but there are certain skills for specific jobs, that you can really learn in more depth when you go to school.

Employment is something that every graduate wants to achieve. One of the things I learned through my work experiences is that they are valuable. An employer is often (though not always) likely to give a position to someone who has a tertiary education and also has had experience in that field. Education is supposed to benefit ourselves, and work experience is where we can apply it. What I learned in my previous degree was not applied in my life, because I decided not to work in that field. Whereas, if you study a degree that can help expand your skills for a certain career, then you will apply that knowledge.

As a young adult, I cope with stress far better than when I was teenager. I’m able to balance a more healthy lifestyle, and not be too hard on myself for every small thing. It’s never too late to do what feels right. I was sitting in class the other week, and there was a gentleman roughly in his 60’s. There are plenty of adults at all sorts of age that return to study. It might be due to a career change or a desire to learn more about an area of interest. One thing I’d like to stress is that university is not for everyone. Once upon a time, it wasn’t for me. But as I mentioned, we all have a different journey.

Now, it feels much more enjoyable, because I’m more sure of where I’d like my degree to take me. It’s common that people will switch degrees, take a gap year, drop out or return to study. The truth is that the first time round, I felt lost. It wasn’t until I traveled to Australia, that I really found more of myself and grew more as a person. Personally, I felt less able to grow during my last time in uni. In my first year of uni in 2013 I had depression near the end of the year and didn’t cope well. There’s often an emphasis that university will help us grow, but it’s really all the experiences we have in our daily lives no matter where we are.

The first time, I felt that the paper I’d receive when I graduated wouldn’t help very much if I didn’t feel the desire to work in the industry any more. It also wouldn’t of made sense to spend another year of tuition fee to study a course I didn’t have my heart in. I really do believe if you go to university, it’s important to think about where you’d like your studies to take you, how you want it to benefit you in your life and what your true interests are. Work takes up a significant percentage of our lives. University is for those with a desire to learn about a certain subject area. It’s not a ticket for success, but a place to learn.

Photography by Eefje De Coninck

10 thoughts on “Why I Decided To Go Back To University

  1. I graduated high school on June of 2016 and decided to take a gap year. Everyone told me it was a very bad decision, that I had to go to uni to be succesfull. I want to go to uni for the simple reason that I love knowledge, but not because if I don’t go I’ll be a “failure”. Right now I’m working, travelling and saving up some money. I didn’t loose a year of my life, I gained expriences and things that uni won’t give me.


    1. Thank you for this comment, and I’m glad you’re doing these things for yourself. Taking a gap year can be really beneficial I find, and it just depends on the individual. There is definitely a huge mindset that uni=success, but everyones definition of success is different.

      There are those without degrees who are successful, then there may be those who graduate and struggle to find a job (and vice versa). Everyone’s situation is so different! I’m glad you had a year of those experiences. Uni is definitely a wonderful place to learn, but I can relate to gaining experiences in life that uni isn’t able to give us.

  2. Really enjoyed this post! & completely agree with you – everyone is on their own journey; there is no right way to live and only you are in charge of your life. All of these experiences and tough decisions are currently waiting for me to make them

  3. Sadly (at least in my field) a degree is required. There is no chance to get a (even badly paid) job without a bachelor’s degree and it is impossible to become a boss without a master’s degree. I don’t think that what I’m learning in uni is important. In the end, just my diploma counts and it is the foundation for the next 40 years in a working life.

  4. I think any and every experience you have can be turned into a valuable learning lesson, if you allow it to be. I recently watched a TED talk about how to get better at what you want to do/achieve, and it highlighted the importance of learning and working consistently. Work experience is important to put your skills into practice, but learning is crucial if you seek to improve in the long term. (Here’s the link of the TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKACzIrog24).
    Education is important and it can take place anywhere but, like you said, one must do things at their own pace. It’s great to see you so much more settled at university now :))

    1. That’s very true “Work experience is important to put your skills into practice, but learning is crucial if you seek to improve in the long term.” Thank you for sharing the video with me! I definitely feel more settled at uni this time :)

  5. I’m currently 15. I get through school very easily, I have a good memory and coast through A+ report cards. Since i was 8, it’s been entirely expected of me to go to uni. And now I’m not so sure. I know where I want to go in life vaguely – a mixture of everything I love, filmmaking, French, photography, art, writing, yoga and design. Utilising social media, I know I can make this work. I believe the path I want to take in no way requires a degree, and yet I want to go to uni very much, just to learn more about everything; philosophy, writing, psychology, graphic design …

    However, the two best unis for me are in Melbourne (where I currently live). And my heart yearns to drop everything and move up to Noosa, where I can gather myself, find a part time job, surf every day and throw myself into my passions. I think if I make this dream a reality, I’ll never want to come back. I’ll move on to Paris, and then la, and New York, and Cuba, and Berlin, and Amsterdam and Bali and Vietnam and Cambodia …

    A degree is not what i want. The opportunity to learn is what I want. And I’m not sure how to bring all this together.

    1. Hi Abby, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me :) I can still remember when I was 15, and reading your comment really made me think back to how much I loved being 15! I’ve always wanted to travel to Melbourne – hopefully some day soon! That’s great, There are great universities there. I suppose when I considered going back to uni, it was also because the area I wanted to work in requires a tertiary education.

      It’s really normal to not be sure. I felt this when I went to uni the first time. I ended up wanting to do something else, which was why I took a fashion course in Sydney, before moving back to Auckland to study at uni. In the end, there’s no harm in trying it out, and if it’s meant to be, then it will be. But if not, at least you tried it! It’s wonderful that you have many creative interests :)

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