During my first year of A-Levels I wasn’t even considering university, so what changed? Apart from the obvious benefits, such as the chance of getting a better paid job, you’ll find that there’s more to university than you think…
University doesn’t just give you grades
The journey through your degree will not only allow you to study, but also to experience.
As an animal biologist, I have had the chance to go on various field trips, do various dissections and practical work that cannot be learnt in a presentation.
This has helped me maintain my interests while also doing things I never thought I could do!
You learn more about yourself and your capabilities
The opportunity to study a subject that you are passionate about not only gives you a great sense of achievement, but the motivation to want to do more.
My degree has a lot more to it than learning about animals, I like to think of it as a Christmas hamper (as crazy as that sounds) – it contains lots of different items, but they all go well together – i.e. there’s got lots of different subject areas, but they all link together.
Degrees also teach you about relatively new developments in your subject area that you won’t find in any textbook and topics that aren’t covered in school or even A-Levels. Being able to learn about these techniques can be great additions to your CV!
During your course, you’ll also be able to find out which areas you are strongest at and establish your main interests, which can guide you to which areas of employment you would like to go into.
Balancing work and social life
This is one of the challenges that new students find and it’s not all work and no play!
The timetabling of lectures gives you enough time outside of the lectures to do both, regardless of your degree, so don’t be afraid to get involved in the social aspects of university because you learn a lot about yourself, which I think is equally important as your degree!
You can also try out any activities that interest you and those that even supplement your degree as employers like to look for people with experience.
What about family and friends?
I still remember the night before I was due to move into my house for the first year – everything suddenly became very real and I became very anxious, but I needn’t be because I soon got immersed into the student life and was reassured when I met friends who also felt the same way.
You’ll be surprised to see the number of students who describe their housemates and friends as their “uni family” and the number who still keep in contact with them, even after their degree.
Making the decision to go to university was certainly the biggest I have made, but I feel like I’ve made the right choice (so far!) because I have had the opportunity to study what I love and have learnt more about myself at university than at any other time of my life – whilst still having fun, of course!