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Reassessing the future/my life/return to Uni?

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    Digging deep into my soul to find the answers. I'm reassessing my life, university and whether I should go back or not. Yesterday it suddenly dawned on me that maybe, it would be a good idea to go back. There is a missing link somewhere ... please help me find it. Sorry this will probably be quite long but it's because I'm looking at things from various angles.

    I come from a family with very little in the way of ambition. My parents spent their lives following their faith and devoting themselves to spreading goodwill across the globe. My dad has never done anything more than security/police work. That sort of thing. My mum has only really done admin work type of thing. Noone from our family has gone to University. I was the first when I went 2 years ago to study Business & Management (at a top Business school). But I failed and dropped out after 1 year. I'm now 21 and work part-time in a retail store stacking shelves.

    I've had time to reflect on things since I dropped out. Coming from the sort of family I come from it's very easy to fall into the trap of being a run of the mill 24/7 ordinary bloke with ordinary job. If you come from a professional family your outlook is different in most cases. But my parents, specifically my dad has never encouraged me to go to University or even questioned/bothered me about what I want to pursue. He hasn't got that ambition. He's a depressed alcoholic. The emphasis on my upbringing was religion/God and unfortunately it has affected my relationship with the real world!

    Anyways what I was analysing was the value of a degree and whether it would be worth going back to Uni or not. I can't help but feel that unfortunately the RIGHT degree is the ticket to a life of lucrative variety and opportunity. A life without, is limited. I mean what can you do without a degree? You'll reach a point where you go as far as you can and the next level requires your intellect and therefore requires something on paper. If I don't get a degree I might just have to be one of these guys who spends 15 years working their way up a supermarket - and really who wants that deep down? Not very satisfying. It'd be much more valuable to have a degree in say economics, or financial accounting or whatever. Opportunities maximised.

    I studied Business & Man at Uni but I despised it. What I studied at Uni was so vastly different to what I did at college (BTEC Business). It was not comparable. I was doing things at Uni that I couldn't get my head around .. algebraic stuff, scientific diagrams to explain business decisions .. it just didn't make sense to me what I was doing and it wasn't for me. I didn't really understand why we were doing what we were doing. I went from writing blocks of generic essays about 'marketing' and 'finance' at college to breaking down scientific diagrams/algebra ... formulas and quantitative statistics and so forth. I left Uni feeling confused. I felt like I was studying Science/Maths. I look at my college classmates (most of whom were considered to be far less bright than me) and they all seem to be doing their Business degrees still and doing fine. But I felt so out of my depth at Uni. However University went wrong for reasons other than my study, which in turn affected my study as you will read below.

    I wasn't ready for it and certain things from the very start went very very wrong. For example I got drunk for the first time ever and ended up having unprotected sex with a notorious slag. That ruined me (mentally) from my first night out. I never recovered and had that not happened maybe my studies might have gone differently. I completely lost all my confidence and reclused into my shell. As a result I missed I would say 90% of my total lectures for the year. It was a nightmare of a year. Nightmare!

    The dilemma I have is that ... I don't want to be someone that spends their life using brawn than brain .. like stacking shelves for the rest of my life. I definitely have much more to offer than that. But a return to University scares me because I just didn't get the experience as a whole. I am certainly alot more ready now but I feel lost. I studied Business Studies at GCSE and did BTEC Business ... I always took an interest in the area but when I reflect on what I did at Uni I wonder what the hell I went to Uni for. With my current 6/7k debt + the rising fees ... I have to ensure I do the right thing at Uni if I do indeed go back. But I have a feeling that all business courses are of similar material to what I did at Uni. And there's not much point returning unless I take a great interest in the subject (and frankly I can't say I do). However you have to weigh up how I missed 90% of my lectures and how my studies were affected by other things mentioned. Did I really give my course a good go? No.

    There were other aspects of University that I just couldn't cope with. Going out until 4am and then waking up to attend a 9am lecture? I just can't do that. When I look back at Uni it amazes me how so many people get on absolutely fine at uni. I almost feel like there's something wrong with me. And to top it off I look at my college classmates and none of them have dropped out ... and if those guys can do it, I most certainly can.

    So I don't know what the missing link is?

    However self-belief is key. As I said alot of University was ruined because of things that happened outside of study. I wasn't ready and made some mistakes. If I did go back - I would try my best to make a success of things because sometimes it takes great failure to really learn and change. I failed my AS Levels (UUU) - I was ill. But I came back and worked my *******s off at college to get a DDD at BTEC (equivalent to AAA at A level). I realised I need to believe in myself more. I'm not stupid and someone who is limited to stacking shelves. My experiences at Uni have made me feel that way about myself.

    I don't want to accept not challenging myself to my potential. I don't want to fall into the trap of my family and pursue nothing in life. I need to stand on my feet and push myself to challenge myself to greater heights.

    But what can I study? Economics? Finance? I don't even know anymore. Another Business & Management course? I don't know if I could do that again. Maybe I'm just not intelligent enough for this sort of stuff? But my college classmates can do it and they're no brighter than me for the most part. I am fascinated by death/crime ... I could do criminology. But I have no interest in working in the police or prisons. I don't want to spend my life facing criminals. I like sport, and I love football - I could do a sports science degree but a) I don't have any interest in doing things like coaching/physiotherapy and b) there is little job opportunity. Combine a) and b) together and I render it pointless.

    I still want to pursue something in Business .. but I'm kind of lost. I don't want to study a course and find it's Maths/Sciencey dominated like my first time. But aren't they all like that? It seems so from what I've seen.

    Of course then you have to weigh up my current education standing and what limitations it may impose on anything I want to do in the future. I only have Grade C in Maths/Business Studies/English at GCSE ... I got an E in Science. Many good universities don't take BTEC. Anyways this isn't too important because going to a top uni isn't the be all and end all.

    Should I just not go Uni and pursue a life outside whereby with nothing in mind, and the odds against me .... I might turn into nothingness.

    What are your thoughts? I desperately am interested to see another pespective from someone else. Thanks.
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    Firstly it's really refreshing to see somebody stand back and take a critical look at their life to try improve it. As such, I'm inclined to try and help you to the best of my ability. If uni is within your means (in terms of money and time) then I would say to definitely go for it. How many people have got to uni and ended up with a worse job? Secondly, as a graduate I can honestly say nobody monitored or checked you were part of the class, so if your local unis are the same you could literally spend a day or two going into random lectures to get a taste for them and to see what it is that you think you might enjoy? Most mature students do significantly better than younger ones as they have made a concious decission to attend uni and arent just doing it for the sake of it. Also uni doesnt need to mean going out until all hours getting wasted, you could even set yourself one night every fortnight to do that to ensure you stay sociable with your class-mates, etc.

    If university is not for you (for whatever reason) then there are plenty of apprenticeships so you can get a qualification in a more hands-on job. Your post is well written so you are obviously not a stupid guy, this is further reiterated by the fact that you want to make something of yourself.

    Whatever you decide, let me know how you get on. Best of luck!
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    (Original post by SilverbySkyline)
    Firstly it's really refreshing to see somebody stand back and take a critical look at their life to try improve it. As such, I'm inclined to try and help you to the best of my ability. If uni is within your means (in terms of money and time) then I would say to definitely go for it. How many people have got to uni and ended up with a worse job? Secondly, as a graduate I can honestly say nobody monitored or checked you were part of the class, so if your local unis are the same you could literally spend a day or two going into random lectures to get a taste for them and to see what it is that you think you might enjoy? Most mature students do significantly better than younger ones as they have made a concious decission to attend uni and arent just doing it for the sake of it. Also uni doesnt need to mean going out until all hours getting wasted, you could even set yourself one night every fortnight to do that to ensure you stay sociable with your class-mates, etc.

    If university is not for you (for whatever reason) then there are plenty of apprenticeships so you can get a qualification in a more hands-on job. Your post is well written so you are obviously not a stupid guy, this is further reiterated by the fact that you want to make something of yourself.

    Whatever you decide, let me know how you get on. Best of luck!
    When you say within your means (money) ... what do you mean exactly? I mean if I did want to go, it's doable financially just like for everybody else. Unless you are referring to the SLC not funding your degree ... I think I heard or read something about them not funding you if you've already undertaken X amount of years at University or something. I've only spent 1 year at Uni though.

    When does one become a mature student? I would be 23 .. that makes me a mature student?
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    Firstly, I would say that only you can decide what you want to do, no one can give you answers as to you what you should do. You need set your own goals and targets and aim to reach them. If deep down, you still want to do a Business course and that is the hint I get from your post then you should do that. Like you said yourself, self-belief is key and its your attitude that's maybe letting you down, you've said you think you have the ability to do well, so go for it.

    Just go in with the attitude that failure is not an option, go into with 100% and give it everything but don't quit this time and don't give up. Just because you failed once, it doesn't make you a failure. You might have had a nightmare of a year but it could only a take a year of hard work to turn everything around, you just have to put the hours in.

    As for the sleeping with the slag (lol), yeah you made one mistake; forgot about it and move on. It only took one mistake to screw things up, its only going to take one good decision to turn things around. You've learned the things that made you fail the first time around, learn from them and move forward and do things differently. Don't let the distractions, distract you. Don't let the fear of failure stop you.
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    (Original post by g_star_raw_1989)
    Firstly, I would say that only you can decide what you want to do, no one can give you answers as to you what you should do. You need set your own goals and targets and aim to reach them. If deep down, you still want to do a Business course and that is the hint I get from your post then you should do that. Like you said yourself, self-belief is key and its your attitude that's maybe letting you down, you've said you think you have the ability to do well, so go for it.

    Just go in with the attitude that failure is not an option, go into with 100% and give it everything but don't quit this time and don't give up. Just because you failed once, it doesn't make you a failure. You might have had a nightmare of a year but it could only a take a year of hard work to turn everything around, you just have to put the hours in.

    As for the sleeping with the slag (lol), yeah you made one mistake; forgot about it and move on. It only took one mistake to screw things up, its only going to take one good decision to turn things around. You've learned the things that made you fail the first time around, learn from them and move forward and do things differently. Don't let the distractions, distract you. Don't let the fear of failure stop you.
    In response to your 1st paragraph ... the reason for that is because of what I mentioned in my post. The difference between what I was doing at college and what I was doing at Uni. What I did at college was of no relation to my Uni course. I was doing essays at college on the 4 P's of marketing and so on ... very generic kind of stuff. I do believe I have the ability ... but what I'm worried about is the material. I wasn't prepared for the Uni material. What if I can't relate to the material again? Yes I can potentially learn it ... but it might be material that I've never come across before or have no interest in. That's why I'm hesitant. The difference between college and uni material was so stark that I'm worried I'm going to be enrolling on another Scientific type course. I was shocked at the stuff I was doing at Uni. This is were thorough research comes in. This is what Im going to have to do ... but from what I remember .. most business courses were very very similar in content.

    I've gotten over sleeping with the slag. That's in the past ... and there will certainly be no more similar mistakes again. Unfortunately that ruined me because I panicked about HIV for months on end as I seemed to be getting all the symptoms! But I know I'd be alot more prepared for Uni if I was to go again and I could really focus on my course properly. The commitment will be there, but then it comes down to the course itself and the material.
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    (Original post by Propos)
    In response to your 1st paragraph ... the reason for that is because of what I mentioned in my post. The difference between what I was doing at college and what I was doing at Uni. What I did at college was of no relation to my Uni course. I was doing essays at college on the 4 P's of marketing and so on ... very generic kind of stuff. I do believe I have the ability ... but what I'm worried about is the material. I wasn't prepared for the Uni material. What if I can't relate to the material again? Yes I can potentially learn it ... but it might be material that I've never come across before or have no interest in. That's why I'm hesitant. The difference between college and uni material was so stark that I'm worried I'm going to be enrolling on another Scientific type course. This is were research comes in. This is what Im going to have to do ... but from what I remember .. most business courses were very very similar in content.

    I've gotten over sleeping with the slag. That's in the past ... and there will certainly be no more similar mistakes again. Unfortunately that ruined me because I panicked about HIV for months on end as I seemed to be getting all the symptoms! But I know I'd be alot more prepared for Uni if I was to go again and I could really focus on my course properly. The commitment will be there, but then it comes down to the course itself and the material.
    I think for most courses, what you learn about it in college or sixth-form is never adequate for helping you make the jump to university work. You obviously know what you need to do, do the research, call the unis up, got to open days and find out about different courses. I have friends at my uni who do finance and business courses and from what I know they're not very scientific or even mathematical. Do the research.

    You seem to know what you need to do, so go and do it.
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    Well written, would read again/10

    but seriously, I watched this the other day and found it struck a cord with me..It's about regret.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_sch...et_regret.html
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    (Original post by specialk_698)
    Well written, would read again/10

    but seriously, I watched this the other day and found it struck a cord with me..It's about regret.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_sch...et_regret.html
    Ye that's a good message she's sending out. Shame about her constant spit swallowing! Dam annoying. I'm not sure regret is what's stopping me though .. it's more a hesitancy over whether or not University is for me. Complex stuff though.
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    (Original post by specialk_698)
    Well written, would read again/10

    but seriously, I watched this the other day and found it struck a cord with me..It's about regret.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_sch...et_regret.html
    TED talks are so good. I've watched so many of them...
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    (Original post by Propos)
    I wasn't prepared for the Uni material. What if I can't relate to the material again? Yes I can potentially learn it ... but it might be material that I've never come across before or have no interest in. That's why I'm hesitant. .
    To be honest, I'd imagine you've never seen the material before. That's the point of uni - to learn. I did engineering and, honestly, 95% of the stuff I got told in lecturers or learned from books was stuff I wouldn't have known / didn't already know prior to going to uni. You just need to see what they're trying to teach you, read their notes, if you still don't understand it use the internet, if you still don't understand it visit the library, if you still don't understand it ask a friend, if you still don't understand it go see your lecturer, etc.
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    I have to admit you sound a lot like myself. I have been stacking shelves for 5 years, but 2 years ago i decided to go back to college to study a BTEC National in Business and i too achieved DDD and was offered the unconditional to go to University. Even though i'd messed up big time at school i was able to go, however i declined the offer. Why you ask? It's not worth it because Business doesn't need to be taught through science! build yourself some money and start your own Business. At least that's what i'm hoping to do with the money i'd saved up to go to University. But believe me there is a bigger purpose than stacking shelves in a supermarket for all of us, and besides too many people have degrees compared to when my mum was at school.

    Don't waste your time doing subjects at University if you can't understand the course. Simply because you will lose motivation and interest and you won't get a degree at the end of it. As for the unprotected sex we all make mistakes some more serious than others. But at the end of the day it's what stands true that counts! i convinced my girlfriend i am educated for making the decision to not go to University, even though she did but she doesn't think any less of me and me of her for going/not going.

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Updated: April 19, 2012
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