University – to go or not to go?

October 7, 2023


This is a question that comes up frequently among my group of friends (almost exclusively made of university graduates). When we all trundled off to university 6 years ago we went because everyone went to university; we thought we would get a job with a degree, our parents told us it was the right thing to do and, well ,what else were we going to do?

Having thoroughly and absolutely loved my 4 years studying for my degree nobody, not anyone, warned any of us about what happens after graduation. Finding a graduate job in the UK today is incredibly hard. I have friends who left university with a first class honours degree 2 years ago and still have no permanent work. Today a degree in the job market means very little – everybody’s got one, so you need to prove you have something else something more to offer.

Having left university on a high there is little to prepare you heart breaking reality that you are going to spend all day every day filling out hundreds of job applications. If you are lucky you might get a generic email back saying you didn’t make the cut, but more often than not you will hear absolutely nothing.

When I was applying for jobs I could handle the application process - even though I had to re-write my CV individually for pretty much every job - some took days to do properly - I could handle the constant rejection.

What really got to me was every Tom, Dick or Harry asking me “so Charlotte have you got a job yet?” At one point I resorted to staying in the house and avoiding logging in to Facebook!

The best option is to try to get an internship or work experience to build up your CV; however you should be doing this while still at university. I did this and had a tonne of experience before I started to apply but this sort of free work isn’t cheap (you’ll have to pay your own transport, food expenses etc, with no pay at the end of it all) so it isn’t an option for everyone.

So is university the be all and end all? To be honest I don’t know, I probably wouldn’t be in the job I now have now without my degree. On the flip side however my brother completed an oil apprenticeship instead of going to university, had a guaranteed job at the end and now earns approximately four times my wage. One of my only friends that didn’t go to university also happens to be the only one of my friends that owns her house. From this I think that university is not the be all and end all.

If you are currently sinking in the horrible job market or struggling to figure out what to do with your life take a little inspiration from this guy – who just happens to be a university drop-out!


Steve Jobs: image from dailykimchi


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