What When Why?
Last year I graduated with a 2:1, and wow does that feel like a lifetime ago now. Things have really changed and there's no way I would have expected to be in a full time job in something I'm so passionate about so soon after. But today, I wanted to talk about staying at home for university and my experience. Many of you may be thinking about going to university, or may be there now - so I thought it could be useful to gain a little insight into studying a degree at home through your local college.
Prior to my degree I studied A Levels and I knew that when it came to an end I wanted to study further into psychology and sociology. You know; getting into people's minds and understanding why society is as crazy as it seems - but there was nothing at the time career wise that really strongly appealed to me. All of my friends seemed to have their lives together; dental school, nursing, law - these are big deal subjects, but I was kind of stuck in between, wanting to further my education but not knowing exactly what career route to go down. University at the time just didn't appeal to me, so I decided to remain at the local college and embark in a broad subject course which was in partnership with a neighbouring university.
Highs & Lows
Saving money was definitely a major factor with studying at home, I was able to work part time hours while studying at the college two days a week. I decided I would also get a student loan which would help me through my degree but also gave me the chance to save money.
The class sizes are also a benefit with studying at a college, my class had maybe fifteen or so people in it which unlike lecture theatres was a large advantage in discussion with your peers and lecturers. It felt very personal but also felt very similar to A Levels so I didn't quite gain that full university experience I would have liked.
Independence is of major importance when it comes to university, this is the one thing that I did not fully gain and still haven't to this day. Sure, I have been lucky to travel around beautiful countries independently but actually moving out is a whole different avenue.
Oh and freshers? There's no such thing, you certainly don't go out drinking every weekend it just doesn't happen. A significant part my class were mature students, which was brill - but there was no way we were going out every week. But fortunately for me, that was something I am totally fine with - I would much rather be in bed with a cup of tea snuggled up watching Netflix.
I'm not one for regrets but a part of me still wonders if I missed out on experiences and gaining that independence I crave.
I live in a beautiful part of England with beaches right on my doorstep, I'm happy to have the comforts of home and I'm grateful I had the chance to save money, have no pressures with bills etc. and still gain a degree.
In the end choosing my degree subject was a good choice for me, I have skills and insight into the subjects I am passionate about which has definitely helped get me where I am today. One thing that did get me through my last year of uni was my blog, and it's something I am so happy I committed to as this has given me the chance to express my creative side, find a little escape and help me land my dream role straight out of my degree. So all in all, I'm a happy bunny!
Stay or go?
For those struggling to stay or go, I think it's important to go with your gut. It's ok that you don't know what path to take, wondering if uni if for you. You can always take a year out, talk to a career adviser or look into a broader subject you enjoy (which I did). Sometimes going away at 18 may not be for you and that's ok. There are so many pressures to go away and study for a degree, but you have to do what is best for you and only you.
Some people know exactly what they want to do as soon as they leave secondary school, and I certainly envy those. But trust me - over time your passions, experiences, skills and goals will become clear. It doesn't matter if you haven't gone to university or you study a degree at home, you have so much time on your hands and independence, money, friendships and experience will all grow over time.
Good luck to those heading to uni, studying at home or graduating! Here's to the next chapter,