Is university the right choice for you?

Watch
pipedream
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#1
Many will read this and laugh to themself, however, I believe many people are in the same situation as me right now, and I feel the need to get it off my chest.

I have ended my last term of a Biological Sciences degree at a mid tier ranked university and have achieved either a STRONG 2:i, or a 1st (got an exam left, and some courseworks to be marked, however a 1st is looking fairly "in the bag").

Now, I have been applying for jobs as honestly, I am fed up of education and having to sign page after page of forms for funding, so didn't want to go down the Masters or phD route despite many trying to push me due to my academic capabilities.

I have learned one VERY important thing that people seriously need to consider if youre thinking about university or have just started, and that is, you are NOT going to be handed a job just because you have a degree.

It has come to my attention, through hints from "sorry, we cannot accept you at this time" replies, that I am not qualified for any job requiring a degree until I get at least 2 years experience in that field.

Go check any job site for your area-most, if not all fairly entry level jobs that require a degree, also require 2 years experience.

How may one get these 2 years experience?

Why, "volunteering" of course.

Now, I don't know about peoples personal lives here, but my life isnt "Oh father, may I borrow the Bentley today, I must meet tom and lucas at the cricket, haw haw haw"

In fact I have only 1 parent helping me, and theyre also quickly running out of money.

I am nearly £30,000 in debt through tuition fees and student loans, increasing ever more through interest or "inflation added interest" (haha, its interest, the govt loves pontificating its way round things to get your money)

I am living off my partner who pays for 80% of the outgoings, and my student loans pay the other 20%, as a 3rd year just ended with only an exam left to do, my loans end, in fact its april so my last payment will be in a week or twos time, after that-we are hand on heart ruined.

I am already getting sorted to be put on jobseekers and to sign onto the dole, with a 1st class science degree.

We are going to have to move out of our already very small 1 bedroom flat to be GIVEN a council flat because she is on minimum wage.

The plan was for me to get my degree, she works, I get a job, and support her, while she then gets her degree.

I have now come to the realisation that is not going to be the case whatsoever.

I am going to have to work for FREE, for 2 years, while my £30,000 debt adds interest, just so I can be on a LEVEL FOOTING with other people against me in a job interview, these 2 years working for free doesnt even guarantee you the job, it just puts you at the same level as SOME of the competition.


I know what youre all thinking

"Oh I got a job without volunteering"

Okay, answer these questions

1.Is it in the subject you studied?
2.Does it need a full blown degree (many say HND, meaning your degree places you above many of the interviewees)
3.Are you affiliated with ANYONE no matter how small (including your references) to the place you are applying for?

If you answered

1.N
2.N
3.Y

That's why you got it without 2 years experience

If you got a job with a degree fresh from university, no experience at all in the field, didnt know anybody there, and its in your subject area, wow, may I shake your extremely rare hand, and May I ask the subject you studied?

Also, I hate the word "volunteering"

Volunteering means you personally choose to do something.

Nobody volunteers for that selfless reasoning, everybody volunteers to get the selfish outcome of "Now I have the experience to go further"

Thats not volunteering, thats girtting your teeth to get to a place lecturers said youd be at after your degree.


True volunteering is

"congratulations, you got the job for 20k a year, how would you like to work for free on it though?"

"Yes, I think I will work for free"

Thats volunteering, turning down a guaranteed paid job. Otherwise its gritting your teeth.


I wouldnt mind the 2 years volunteer work, if I was simply told I would have to work for free for 2 years just to be considered hirable BEFORE I took out giant loans and got myself into debt.

I have friends who can count there GCSEs (C and above) on one hand, and they have their own houses, sometimes even mortgage, with loads of money in the bank, a car, and a nice lifestyle. Sure, theyre working at tescos, but through the years their pay has increased, and theyre now on 20k+ working their way up the promotion ladder.

And where am I being the same age?

-£30,000
No Job
Filing for jobseekers and signing on soon
Having to move into a council flat
Forced to work 2 years for free if I wish to pursue a career in the subject I have a 1st class degree in


Be VERY careful when deciding to go to university.

If you have parents or friends who can afford to accomodate you while you work for free for 2 years-go ahead, go to uni.

However if you're like me, living by the skin of your teeth month after month, and now been told you have to work for nothing, and cannot afford that, I highly suggest you dont go to university, and get a job elsewhere, because the 3 years will be great fun, but at the end youre guaranteed to be jobless and in some serious financial crapola.

The best part of this is realising this I decided to apply to McDonalds and Tescos etc, some didnt even reply, and the ones who did, said they couldnt hire me because I was "too qualified, and for equality purposes, we cannot hire you for the selected job you asked"

So now I cant even get a basic job for equality laws
I cant get a job in my academic area because I havent been a slave for 2 years.



Again I must stress, university is the right choice for many people, but if youre struggling to make ends meet already, its going to be a whole lot worse when you leave, because youre unhirable in your subject, and anything else due to being too qualified.

You'll be in a "limbo" stage.
0
reply
d00bey
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#2
Report 10 years ago
#2
Good post. I hope it makes some people realise that a university degree does not equal financial success and people who are in high positions have had to work bloody hard to get there.

There are definitely hard times ahead for most of us. We're the generation who have missed of the perks of the "baby boomers" - cheap house prices, more jobs and higher value for degrees.
0
reply
pipedream
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#3
From re-reading my post I wish to clarify something

you are NOT going to be handed a job just because you have a degree.
This could be misinterpreted.

I was never under the impression getting a degree was an end all solution, however I thought it was possible to get entry level jobs with a high ranked degree and a good interview.

It seems regardless of your degrees outcome, or your interview, the companies only care for experience.

In fact, I have actually now found some job opportunities where it simply says degrees arent required if you have previous experience in the job.

Degrees are worth almost nothing, and cost a hell of a lot.

When I do my 2 years slave labour (no pay, thats slave labour) I will talk 0% about my degree, or its grade.

A company cares little for what I read in a journal and how I typed umpteen words on microsoft word, they care if I can do the job, and that requires experience.

The funny thing is, you can volunteer for pretty much any entry level grad work, without actually having a degree, and just A levels will do, and then you can get the job without getting in debt.


If you got the money, go to uni, if you dont, I highly suggest rooting down into a company, spreading those roots, and work your way up the promotion ladder, because generally from what I have been told now as a "heres a few pointers" by my unsuccessful interviews is that degrees are worthless, a piece of paper, that is all.

Why talk about your degree in an interview if you can talk about your hands on knowledge of the job itself?

I wish I knew as much as I do now 3 years ago, and would have decided to skip uni entirely, id probably have money in the bank, a house, and a car, and be in no debt whatsoever, and my next 2 years would be paid, not free
0
reply
kat2pult
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#4
Report 10 years ago
#4
tl:dr all of it.

It's true though that university isn't the link into a good career like it used to be, but if you want to specialise it may help ultimately.

Why I am in university - I don't want a job just yet. I don't feel ready for it, so volunteering after uni and scrounging off the parents may do me some good. Who knows? I've tried getting jobs in the summer and it's impossible
0
reply
-WhySoSerious?
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#5
Report 10 years ago
#5
(Original post by pipedream)
x
Great post, however, If you were looking into a certain field after graduating from uni, what were you doing the past 3 summers? You could have got some decent work experience in at a few companies whilst possibly earning a little bit. That would have given you at least enough experience to use as leverage against a graduate position job.

Obviously it's pretty competitive to get into those sorts of things, but work experience anywhere is better than nothing I'd presume.
0
reply
InquilabZindabad
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#6
Report 10 years ago
#6
(Original post by -WhySoSerious?)
Great post, however, If you were looking into a certain field after graduating from uni, what were you doing the past 3 summers? You could have got some decent work experience in at a few companies whilst possibly earning a little bit. That would have given you at least enough experience to use as leverage against a graduate position job.

Obviously it's pretty competitive to get into those sorts of things, but work experience anywhere is better than nothing I'd presume.
I agree, didn't someone from the university speak to you about work experience/internships during your course?
0
reply
pipedream
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#7
Great post, however, If you were looking into a certain field after graduating from uni, what were you doing the past 3 summers? You could have got some decent work experience in at a few companies whilst possibly earning a little bit. That would have given you at least enough experience to use as leverage against a graduate position job.
Tried, failed, they didnt want undegrads in 1st and 2nd years but 3rd years, its now my 3rd year summer, and going to have to volunteer for free.

Obviously it's pretty competitive to get into those sorts of things, but work experience anywhere is better than nothing I'd presume.
It is competative, I knew this from the beginning, however I didnt quite know it with as much clarity as I do now.

I assumed before joining Uni that getting a job as a graduate would be "the underdog slipping through the bars" kind of deal, hard, but not impossible.

It is impossible, you NEED experience, 2 years minimum, and even then that simply puts you level pegging with the other who have had to do the same.

All you need is someone with 5 years experience and you can kiss the job goodbye.

two interviewees

both 1st class

one has 2 years exp
one has 5 years exp

Who're you going to hire? Honestly?

If I was in a hiring position, I wouldnt even give graduates the time of day, and id simply find the CV with most exp, and hire them without an interview, the more experience, the better the employee, it really is that simple.

I agree, didn't someone from the university speak to you about work experience/internships during your course?
Of the few available in my area (dont have a car, or license) they turned me down, or didnt reply.
0
reply
-WhySoSerious?
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#8
Report 10 years ago
#8
(Original post by pipedream)
Tried, failed, they didnt want undegrads in 1st and 2nd years but 3rd years, its now my 3rd year summer, and going to have to volunteer for free.



It is competative, I knew this from the beginning, however I didnt quite know it with as much clarity as I do now.

I assumed before joining Uni that getting a job as a graduate would be "the underdog slipping through the bars" kind of deal, hard, but not impossible.

It is impossible, you NEED experience, 2 years minimum, and even then that simply puts you level pegging with the other who have had to do the same.

All you need is someone with 5 years experience and you can kiss the job goodbye.

two interviewees

both 1st class

one has 2 years exp
one has 5 years exp

Who're you going to hire? Honestly?

If I was in a hiring position, I wouldnt even give graduates the time of day, and id simply find the CV with most exp, and hire them without an interview, the more experience, the better the employee, it really is that simple.



Of the few available in my area (dont have a car, or license) they turned me down, or didnt reply.
Are there no companies that you're interested in that have graduate programs? Seems a little odd to me...
0
reply
dantheman123123
Badges: 6
Rep:
?
#9
Report 10 years ago
#9
If you can get a year in industry at your uni surely then it will be worth is as you will have planmted your roots in a company whilst being at uni.
0
reply
x Danny
Badges: 6
Rep:
?
#10
Report 10 years ago
#10
It's so scary reading that! But then so is thinking about going into full-time jobs so soon, to me I wanna go to Uni because I don't think I'm ready to start a career yet and I wanna specialise in my chosen career...
0
reply
pipedream
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#11
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#11
If you can get a year in industry at your uni surely then it will be worth is as you will have planmted your roots in a company whilst being at uni.
University doesnt offer placements, its a 3 year purely academic degree

EDIT:A year is not enough

www.jobsinkent.com

science and pharmacutical

Check every entry level requirement, 2 years minimum.

Are there no companies that you're interested in that have graduate programs? Seems a little odd to me...
Plenty, I have contacted Pfizer, Cellmark, Kent science park, and lesser known companies.

No replies.
0
reply
pipedream
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#12
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#12
I wanna specialise in my chosen career...
The majority of young persons in UK have degrees, getting a degree does not specialise you at all, to specialise in the 21st century, you need at minimum a Masters, and even theyre becoming quite commonplace.

A phD is the only true way to specialise, and from what ive heard its even more difficult for them, because the jobs that require a phD are very high up, requiring more than 2 years experience, and they cant apply to "degree level" jobs as theyre too overqualified, and it would be unfair on those who have a degree being pitted against a much larger phD opponent.

Get work experience in now, and work up the ladder, University isnt for everyone
0
reply
StarryEyed91
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#13
Report 10 years ago
#13
My CV says that I worked for a whole year part-time during sixth form doing admin/sales. I'm hoping that might be an advantage for finding employment after uni, but who knows?
0
reply
-WhySoSerious?
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#14
Report 10 years ago
#14
(Original post by pipedream)
Plenty, I have contacted Pfizer, Cellmark, Kent science park, and lesser known companies.

No replies.
I'm not claiming to know loads, but from what i've heard, persistence is key with these kinds of things. If you email them regularly, get to know some HR people/ask higher up then it could open a few more doors than simply applying once and not trying again.

You might also need to look further afield before finding the job you want as well.
0
reply
pipedream
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#15
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#15
(Original post by -WhySoSerious?)
I'm not claiming to know loads, but from what i've heard, persistence is key with these kinds of things. If you email them regularly, get to know some HR people/ask higher up then it could open a few more doors than simply applying once and not trying again.

You might also need to look further afield before finding the job you want as well.

How do I get to know these higher up people working for them?

Sit in the car park (tollgates stop this anyway) and wait for them, ask them where they work, and say im interested??

Sounds stalkerish to me.

Persistence is sometimes Key, but at the end of the day, a company will not part with its profits to get an employee fresh from University who will have no real skills at all for the job.

My CV says that I worked for a whole year part-time during sixth form doing admin/sales. I'm hoping that might be an advantage for finding employment after uni, but who knows?
If you wish to pursue a career in admin and sales, yes, it will be an advantage, if you wish to pursue a career in anything else, then no lol.
0
reply
Diminutive
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#16
Report 10 years ago
#16
Honestly, you should have researched this before you went to university.

I choose a course that had a year in industry and meant that I could go onto generic 'graduate training schemes' in my field, no experience required.

If you've chosen a field that has entry requirements beyond a degree and you aren't able to fulfill them, it's your fault really.

Your also looking at the wrong time of the year for graduate positions, most open around semester one time for September intake.
0
reply
llys
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#17
Report 10 years ago
#17
OP, if you want to get anywhere at all in Biological Sciences, you will have to do a PhD. That will also provide your two years experience.

You could probably get onto a PhD programme with a first (maybe even without doing a MSc, though that may depend on the uni/research institute). Where I live you normally get funded (~14k/year), but from what I've read in the PG forum in the UK that seems to depend on the university.


If you have only a BSc, you might find a job as a lab technician, or a lab where they will train you up as a technician.


Edit: If you don't insist on having a career in the Biological Sciences, try to get on some graduate scheme or other.
0
reply
pipedream
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#18
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#18
(Original post by Diminutive)
Honestly, you should have researched this before you went to university.

I choose a course that had a year in industry and meant that I could go onto generic 'graduate training schemes' in my field, no experience required.

If you've chosen a field that has entry requirements beyond a degree and you aren't able to fulfill them, it's your fault really.

Your also looking at the wrong time of the year for graduate positions, most open around semester one time for September intake.

I did research it.

All my A level teachers, and the UCAS advisors who helped me apply to uni assured me that once I got my degree it would be a lot easier to find a job.

Also, you make it sound so easy

"Oh just pick a university with an extra year, done"

My family, all 1 of them I have left has severe money issues, and I couldnt afford to move to some university far away, and so was limited to the Kent area and commuted to University, and of those Universities only 1 offered an industry part, and my UCAS score wasnt enough for them.

Also, rethink youre attitude of "so i can go straight in" you still need to pass the interview, remember, just because you had an extra year in uni for industry simply puts you at the same level of all the other interviewees, not ahead of them.
0
reply
pipedream
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#19
Report Thread starter 10 years ago
#19
(Original post by llys)
OP, if you want to get anywhere at all in Biological Sciences, you will have to do a PhD. That will also provide your two years experience.

You could probably get onto a PhD programme with a first (maybe even without doing a MSc, though that may depend on the uni/research institute). Where I live you normally get funded (~14k/year), but from what I've read in the PG forum in the UK that seems to depend on the university.


If you have only a BSc, you might find a job as a lab technician, or a lab where they will train you up as a technician.

I am £30,000 in debt, Biology phD tuition fees are monstrous, plus supplies and equipment, and the fact I cant even afford rent, and the fact I pointed out I am going to be council house bound soon, wasnt enough evidence that I cannot afford a phD??

As to me getting a grant-yeah right, theyre rare, and when youre from a mid tier university, theyre pretty much non existent.

The jobs I applied for where technician jobs, you still need 2 years exp

And no, a phD does not qualify as 2 years exp, (or 3-4 that it lasts)

a phD is still considered an academic experience, so when it asks for "2 years WORK experience" they literally mean experience in a professional workplace for a company etc, not a phD.
0
reply
Assandun
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#20
Report 10 years ago
#20
Not necessarily does this happen in every degree, for example, I'm planning to go and study pharmacy in sept. I've already had 2 years work experience working in community pharmacy during my gap years, but I doubt this will count for much as there is such a shortage of pharmacists in this country at the moment. It really does depend on the degree, you just need to do your research beforehand.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Should there be a new university admissions system that ditches predicted grades?

No, I think predicted grades should still be used to make offers (602)
33.95%
Yes, I like the idea of applying to uni after I received my grades (PQA) (738)
41.62%
Yes, I like the idea of receiving offers only after I receive my grades (PQO) (353)
19.91%
I think there is a better option than the ones suggested (let us know in the thread!) (80)
4.51%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed