Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well. Can you believe it’s Autumn already?! Summer flew by way too fast for my liking.
Today’s post is a bit of a personal one, and a high contrast to my previous post, The Real Uni Checklist. I had so much fun during my first year at university and I made some great friends and unforgettable memories… but I won’t be going back.
Why? Read on to find out what I think of the university ‘business’.
Don’t get me wrong – this post is not to say that nobody should go to university, but it certainly won’t be singing the praises of it, I assure you! I’m very aware that many degrees and institutions will offer different experiences and learning to what I had.
I’m simply going to tell you my personal experience, and you can do with that what you will.
I was always under the impression that uni was kind of a given. I’d always wanted to be a journalist, so a Journalism degree was the obvious option, right? Very wrong, actually.
To be honest, even though I could have done more personal research, I do blame this on my college. Anything you told them you wanted to do, it was always ‘UCAS UCAS UCAS!’ Any sixth-form will drum the idea of university into the heads of every student there, as if it’s a ‘one size fits all’ situation.
It was only until I spoke to an actual journalist, that I learnt I could gain a journalism qualification within 3 months and apply for jobs in papers straight after.
Hmmm… why would my college not have advised me on this far easier, significantly cheaper and shorter option? No fees, no debt, no waste of 3 years to come out with the same degree as 100 other people all lacking work experience? It didn’t make sense to me.
Anyway, this time last year I was off to university in London to study English and Journalism and I couldn’t bloody wait. Usually I’d be absolutely dreading September as it meant returning to GCSE’s or A-Levels, but I was genuinely so excited to start learning about what I was interested in (and drinking to oblivion.)
I’d previously had work experience with my local newspaper and loved every minute of it. I had so many articles published myself which I was really proud of and it just made me want to do even more.
Unfortunately, after 1 week of work experience, I’d learnt significantly more than I did after 1 year of university (and £9,000+ in debt with an echo falls addiction, I might add.)
Let me explain what I think is so wrong with the university system, and the money-grabbing business it truly is. Prepare for a ginormous ramble:
- Don’t get me wrong, holidays are great. Everyone needs time off to relax and unwind, but is 5 weeks seriously necessary for a Christmas/Easter break?! No, it’s bloody not, and nobody needs that amount of time off from doing 10-12 hours of lessons a week. It’s ridiculous, to be honest, and, again, makes me wonder what the hell we’re forking out thousands for? All in all, I worked out that only around 5 months of the year were spent in lessons. 4 months off for Summer (?!) 1 month for Easter, 1 for Christmas, and 2 ‘reading weeks’ (AKA half terms.)
Touching on the amount of hours you’re actually at uni for – I had 10 hours of lessons per week in my first year. Nobody can say this is enough – that’s ludicrous. After learning that this amount DECREASES in your second and third year, it was a big fat BYE FELICIA from me👋
I remember after a pretty easy term, I’d realised I had a ‘Reading Week’ coming up. The purpose of a reading week, of course – to ‘catch up’ on your work. This is easier said than done when you’ve been given about 1 hour of work to do or a load of ‘reading’. Surely you can manage to read during the university term alongside 10 hours of lessons? Seriously…
I wouldn’t exactly say I was occupied. To be honest, I would have happily done extra work rather than twiddling my thumbs and watching more ’10 Craziest Motorbike Stunts’ on Youtube.
For the amount you’re paying, I’d expect so much more.
Honestly, in my lectures, I sometimes felt like I was back in primary school. They would sometimes ask such basic questions that I genuinely thought they might be joking around, such as ‘What is an adjective?’ Seriously, I’m not trying to be rude, but if someone doesn’t know what an adjective is, they should not be doing an English degree. Fact.
On the contrary, they would sometimes create challenging tasks which we’d barely learnt anything about and give absolutely zero help to complete them, because uni is all about being ‘independent.’ Right.
Even when it came to the end of my first year, I had one exam, and it was multiple choice. Honestly, should an entire year of university come down to ONE MULTIPLE CHOICE EXAM? Guess what the first question was; it was ‘Who is the Mayor of London?’
I could have cried in my seat. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I’d think the majority of people would know the answer to that question without studying Political Journalism for an entire term.
I remember leaving my first ever lecture feeling slightly dismayed, as I hadn’t enjoyed it much (if you can’t tell.) However, I hadn’t wanted to leave uni so abruptly. I wanted to ride out the year and make an informed decision on whether to leave or stay.
After an entire year, I am questioning whether universities have the students best interests at heart.
Can my lecturer really tell me I’d make a better writer staying on my course for 3 years, rather than gaining actual experience in a newspaper? I think not.
Before anyone comments – this is not to say that every university, every lecturer and every course is shit. Obviously that is not my point here at all, and I completely understand that there are so many important jobs (such as teaching/nursing/law) that require degrees; I’m not disputing that one bit.
However, what I don’t appreciate is the arising attitude that every young person should go to university, because it really, truly isn’t for everyone.
Not academic? You’ll probably be advised to take up a sporty or arty degree, but the truth is you’ll still be pushed to do essays, assignments and reading which you most likely didn’t bargain for.
The huge focus on money at university also made me question how much they actually care for the individual. Forget the ludicrous £9,250 annual fee and accommodation costs – uni will constantly offer you (or *pressure* you) to buy extra things such as language classes which were around the £200 mark, and don’t even get me started on the textbooks.
Within my first week of lectures I was advised to buy two textbooks – they basically made it seem like I would fail the course, and everything within life itself if I didn’t purchase these £25 a piece books, which, ironically were written by my lecturer.
Guess how many times I actually needed to use them? Twice. Bloody twice. That money could have bought me 25 boxes of chocolate fingers instead. Priorities.
They also conveniently missed out the fact that you could actually just borrow them in the library for free.
I want to keep stressing throughout this blog post that I’m not saying university is completely pointless. Like I said, I do appreciate that many careers require degrees. However, it’s the sheer lack of effort and care I experienced in my first year that had pushed me to leave, and that is at the fault of nobody but the universities themselves.
I really believe the university system needs to change. Why are degrees so expensive? Why do university chairmen sit on a salary of £100k+? Why is every young individual pushed to go to university when there are other options available, such as apprenticeships?
Let me know your thoughts on what I’ve said – I’m genuinely really interested to hear your experiences.
I hope you enjoyed this long (and rambling) post. Speak to you all soon!
Love, Dayna x