Hearing about hundreds of A Level students picking up their results today, prompted me to think about what my life's been like since those 3 years ago I was in exactly the same boat. And boy, has a lot changed!
I decided not to go to University, and actually, I was pretty set on this very early on. Don't ask me why, but I've never wanted to go. It's just never appealed to me, and I decided that the world of work was better suited to me after my A Levels than University was. So I got myself on a trainee programme, and jumped head first into the very adult world and full time employment at 18.
I'm not gonna lie, it was rather scary. It was one of those moments where you have to sink or swim, I think I've mentioned this before but at one point I was very sure I was about to full on sink, and never be able to push myself back to the top again. But, eventually, you get into the swing of things, and once I'd got over the initial overwhelming stuff, it started to get pretty okay.
Probably more than okay, actually. Since leaving my A levels behind, I've been on a full-time salary the whole time, enabling me to move out into my own flat, get myself a car, and I've got 3 years of pretty intensive work experience to go with it. Not to mention the whole load of life skills that I've picked up along the way, that I might not have done had I gone to do a degree.
Now, I really don't want you guys to be thinking that I'm saying this route is better than University, because I'm definitely not saying that at all. It's wholly, totally and completely depends on YOU.
(Completely unrelated photo, but it's pretty and breaks up the text, right!?)
My college were very set on the University route, and not much support or advice was offered to A level students who actually, didn't want to stick to the 'norm'. Some people know exactly what they want to do, and for this, they have to attend university in order to get themselves the relevant degree they need to kick-start their career. Simple.
However, for the rest of us, it might not be that simple. There are SO many different jobs out there that you just don't get told about, some you don't need a degree, others you do. And if you're not sure what you want to do, making the decision about University can be pretty daunting! Because, after all, it's a pretty bloomin' big investment into your future!
But then again, so can applying for full-time jobs. I've had to make a fair few sacrifices to get to where I am at the minute, but I've definitely learned a lot along the way too. Was it the right decision for me not to go to Uni? Right now, who even knows!
What I do know is that I wouldn't have met most of the people I know now if I'd have taken the University route, and its strange to think about the fact that I probably wouldn't have started this blog either. So yeah, I'm pretty glad I made the decision that I did.
BUT, I probably would have met some amazing people at Uni had I gone there too, and had some very different, but also great experiences. And I know that out of all of my friends that have just graduated, none of them regret it, at all, and loved it.
The one thing to remember is that whatever happens, and the decision you make now, DOES NOT define your future. Just because I decided not to go to University at 18, doesn't mean that I'll never go. I've still got plenty of time. Just because you apply for a certain job in a particular industry, doesn't mean that you have to stay in that career forever. Just because your degree is in one field, doesn't mean that you're restricting your options in the future.
No matter what you do, or where you go, you're going to meet some brilliant people, have completely unexpected experiences, and pick up skills that you can most probably transfer into a lot of different things if you wish.
Life has it's own way of directing you, and I always find it really fascinating to think about how many unexpected things have happened to me, that 3 years ago I could never have even thought about.
So, do what you want to do right now, and don't let anyone else influence that decision!