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    I left school at 16 to go straight into work, and now I look back I think I was persuaded and sucked into the whole 'earning my own money' thing instead of carrying on in education. At the time the thought of earning my own money was great so that I did. I ended up in a carpet factory on shifts, but it was sugar coated with the fact I was also working towards an NVQ (which meant nothing and seems very pointless now)

    6 years on and the place was on the verge of closing down so I got out and ended up getting a job for a contractor as part of a big water company. Unlike the previous job there seems to be a bit more potential, and with time I could work my way up to better things.

    However, I've been there 6 months now and as much as I prefer it to what I was doing before I keep thinking about what if I had gone down the educational route? I literally lost all my contacts and never had a social life since I finished school. This in turn (I believe) has brought on anxiety and just caused problems for me. I've seen so many of my school friends go to universities all over the country and loved the experience, made many great friends etc.

    My initial plan was to move out of where I'm living and go travelling for a few months with no real plan as to what to do afterwards, but the more I think about it, would now not be a wise choice to complete an access to HE course and proceed to university and make up for the years I lost? Ideally I'd be hoping to pursue a course/career I actually enjoy while making a new connection of friends. Forgive me if I'm coming across that university is the answer to all my problems, but I've read from many people on here it's an experience they will cherish forever. Would appreciate any advice. I'm 23 btw.
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    Do you think it's worth getting into £50,000+ of debt for? The off-chance that it might be better than your current situation? Without a particular end goal in mind, or a subject that you really want to study, there's just as much chance that it could add to your problems and make you feel worse.

    Don't rule it out, but at the moment it sounds like you need to give uni a bit more thought before embarking on that road.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    Do you think it's worth getting into £50,000+ of debt for? The off-chance that it might be better than your current situation? Without a particular end goal in mind, or a subject that you really want to study, there's just as much chance that it could add to your problems and make you feel worse.

    Don't rule it out, but at the moment it sounds like you need to give uni a bit more thought before embarking on that road.
    Thanks for this. I guess you're right. I just need huge change in my life at the moment. Living on my own and being in a career I don't want to be in long term is taking its toll!
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    (Original post by Thatsthespirit)
    Thanks for this. I guess you're right. I just need huge change in my life at the moment. Living on my own and being in a career I don't want to be in long term is taking its toll!
    Maybe you could start out more slowly? Websites like Future Learn host free online courses on a whole range of subjects, which are put together and run by universities. You could try a few things out (most courses are only a few weeks long and take a handful of hours each week) and see whether any subject particularly appeals to you. You can study at your own pace, there are no exams and you can skip any informal tests if you want to, so there's no pressure. You don't get qualifications from them, but they'd be a great way of getting your mind in gear.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    Maybe you could start out more slowly? Websites like Future Learn host free online courses on a whole range of subjects, which are put together and run by universities. You could try a few things out (most courses are only a few weeks long and take a handful of hours each week) and see whether any subject particularly appeals to you. You can study at your own pace, there are no exams and you can skip any informal tests if you want to, so there's no pressure. You don't get qualifications from them, but they'd be a great way of getting your mind in gear.
    That is truly some good advice.

    University/college isn't easy at all - and if your not prepared for it, piles of stress rain down on you continuously. Since you haven't been at school for a fair few years it would be a good idea to start off small and work your way up until your confident that you can cope with university.Find something you enjoy doing and what you want to do for the rest of your life, not something that pays well.
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    (Original post by Thatsthespirit)
    I left school at 16 to go straight into work, and now I look back I think I was persuaded and sucked into the whole 'earning my own money' thing instead of carrying on in education. At the time the thought of earning my own money was great so that I did. I ended up in a carpet factory on shifts, but it was sugar coated with the fact I was also working towards an NVQ (which meant nothing and seems very pointless now)

    6 years on and the place was on the verge of closing down so I got out and ended up getting a job for a contractor as part of a big water company. Unlike the previous job there seems to be a bit more potential, and with time I could work my way up to better things.

    However, I've been there 6 months now and as much as I prefer it to what I was doing before I keep thinking about what if I had gone down the educational route? I literally lost all my contacts and never had a social life since I finished school. This in turn (I believe) has brought on anxiety and just caused problems for me. I've seen so many of my school friends go to universities all over the country and loved the experience, made many great friends etc.

    My initial plan was to move out of where I'm living and go travelling for a few months with no real plan as to what to do afterwards, but the more I think about it, would now not be a wise choice to complete an access to HE course and proceed to university and make up for the years I lost? Ideally I'd be hoping to pursue a course/career I actually enjoy while making a new connection of friends. Forgive me if I'm coming across that university is the answer to all my problems, but I've read from many people on here it's an experience they will cherish forever. Would appreciate any advice. I'm 23 btw.
    If you go to university for the sake of it you could just end up unhappy and miserable for 3 years. Remember its more than the social life- its about having to undertake research in a lab or library, write up findings, meet constant deadlines, revise for exams and that can be torture if you don't enjoy what you are studying.

    Also universities require evidence of recent education, so you would likely need to take an Access Course (a 1 year course for those aged 19+) or A-Levels.

    Also in this day and age unless you are studying nursing or medicine a degree doesn't equal a better job on its own, whilst there are a number of graduate roles out there, competition for them is intense. Employers look for evidence of work experience and many graduate schemes at least have a number of layers in the application process- this may include competency questions, online tests- numerical/verbal reasoning, competency questionnaires, situational judgement tests, phone interviews, assessment centres. There are non graduate scheme graduate jobs which just require a CV & covering letter, in which case you have to be able to polish them up well.

    Obviously the work experience you have will help to some extent, especially if you can highlight the relevant skills you have gained, but work experience more relevant to what you want to go into post uni can help you stand out- obviously this is difficult if you don't know what you want to do.

    If you know what subject you really want to study, know what you want to do post uni and work to build up as much work experience and can jump through whatever application hoops are thrown at you then uni can pay off. However if you don't have a clear pathway then it can be harder to make it pay off.
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    If you go to university for the sake of it you could just end up unhappy and miserable for 3 years. Remember its more than the social life- its about having to undertake research in a lab or library, write up findings, meet constant deadlines, revise for exams and that can be torture if you don't enjoy what you are studying.

    Also universities require evidence of recent education, so you would likely need to take an Access Course (a 1 year course for those aged 19+) or A-Levels.

    Also in this day and age unless you are studying nursing or medicine a degree doesn't equal a better job on its own, whilst there are a number of graduate roles out there, competition for them is intense. Employers look for evidence of work experience and many graduate schemes at least have a number of layers in the application process- this may include competency questions, online tests- numerical/verbal reasoning, competency questionnaires, situational judgement tests, phone interviews, assessment centres. There are non graduate scheme graduate jobs which just require a CV & covering letter, in which case you have to be able to polish them up well.

    Obviously the work experience you have will help to some extent, especially if you can highlight the relevant skills you have gained, but work experience more relevant to what you want to go into post uni can help you stand out- obviously this is difficult if you don't know what you want to do.

    If you know what subject you really want to study, know what you want to do post uni and work to build up as much work experience and can jump through whatever application hoops are thrown at you then uni can pay off. However if you don't have a clear pathway then it can be harder to make it pay off.
    You make it sound like prison.

    I don't get it with people. I looked in a thread 5 minutes ago where everybody was going nuts about not wanting to finish university because it's been the most amazing experience of their life. Yet all I've got from this thread is pure negativity.

    Of course it's going to be hard, I've worked 40+ hour weeks the past 7 years of my life, I'm not exactly coming in from sitting on my ass all day.

    I understand the whole 'picking something you'll enjoy' but surely this is a no brainer, don't fall at the first hurdle kind of baby step right?
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    (Original post by Thatsthespirit)
    You make it sound like prison.

    I don't get it with people. I looked in a thread 5 minutes ago where everybody was going nuts about not wanting to finish university because it's been the most amazing experience of their life. Yet all I've got from this thread is pure negativity.

    Of course it's going to be hard, I've worked 40+ hour weeks the past 7 years of my life, I'm not exactly coming in from sitting on my ass all day.

    I understand the whole 'picking something you'll enjoy' but surely this is a no brainer, don't fall at the first hurdle kind of baby step right?
    I'm just trying to give you the other side of it. If you do a course you enjoy and make lots of friends then of course it can be great. However its a different kind of hard to working. Writing essays for example requires a totally different type of mindsight and skill and can sometimes take up weekends and evenings.
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    I do appreciate it, thanks! I'm just so overwhelmed with everything at the moment - I don't what direction I want to go in.

    I've tried narrowing it down so far in what I've already done as a job and what interests me.

    - Wouldn't want a driving job, ideally I'd want to drive to the same location of work every day or/and not work so far from home.
    - I've always been interested in the human body in particular the nutrition and health side of things. I'm not a health freak and I don't go the gym mind. I guess this also relates to stuff like alcoholism, drugs etc and the effects it has on us.
    - Other interests include music, sitting around on my computer when I can and sport.

    I could write a ton of stuff but I'm just trying to find potential careers from that ^ Struggling!
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    I decided at 35 to go to uni to become an accountant. As I had been out of education for so long I took a 4 year degree including a foundation year.
    I found the foundation year very helpful as it taught me all about academic writing and Harvard referencing.
    It also gave me a head start on things that we will learn on 1st year.
    I have just handed in my last assignment and I am now free for the summer.

    I also forgot to mention that I gave up a very good career with Tesco to do this as life is to short!


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    I don't think it particularly matters what your job goal is. You just need to want a degree enough. I say that because so many courses have transferable skills so pick what you enjoy and narrow it down that way. A lot of people change their mind about what they want to do after graduation during the course. So pick something you like enough to explore for 3 years, work hard and see where it takes you. If you're too rigid in your goals, you can miss out on amazing opportunities.

    But having said that, don't just jump at the first shiny. I started my uni life doing social care, then I did maths, then economics and then English language and social sciences. Under a flexible degree but basically although I enjoyed each of those subjects, I had no direction at all. So I took time out and came back when I realised psychology was my passion
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    (Original post by Thatsthespirit)
    You make it sound like prison.

    I don't get it with people. I looked in a thread 5 minutes ago where everybody was going nuts about not wanting to finish university because it's been the most amazing experience of their life. Yet all I've got from this thread is pure negativity.

    Of course it's going to be hard, I've worked 40+ hour weeks the past 7 years of my life, I'm not exactly coming in from sitting on my ass all day.

    I understand the whole 'picking something you'll enjoy' but surely this is a no brainer, don't fall at the first hurdle kind of baby step right?
    Remember that due to the nature of the site the people posting are likely to have enjoyed uni, otherwise they wouldn't be on a forum for students and giving out advice, they simply wouldn't care enough. I know people who have dropped out, people who have graduated but said they wouldn't repeat uni if they could turn back the clock, and recently a few people I've spoken to have described university as the worst time of their life and they don't even want to think of it ever again.

    Anyway, my experiences/opinion etc. I also dropped out of education at 16 and got a job, my first couple of jobs were admin/receptionist work, then I got lucky with a job as a lab assistant in the NHS. I carried on working but did my A levels at the same time and to be honest it was exhausting, not impossible as far as time management goes, but my mental health took a massive hit. I studied one through ICS Distance Learning (if it's a course that doesn't need coursework assessment then don't bother using them, just buy the textbooks and teach yourself), I did an evening class at my local college and I just self taught another couple of subjects. I knew exactly what degree I wanted to do though, I know what sort of job I'm aiming for, and I got a place at uni and I do love it but a big part of that is that I love my course. Doing it just for the social experiences is both expensive and risky, assuming I can do PG like I want to I'll have run up over £61k of debt, plus I spent thousands on my A levels. There's no guarantees you'll have the amazing social life either, please don't think I am criticising you as a person because I don't know you, but I have friends who struggle to make friends; one of them realised he has made 4 friends during his first year at uni.

    In summary, I got very lucky. I like my course, I get on with my lecturers, I've coasted this year (I only needed to score 50% and I didn't want to stress myself out as I came off antidepressants part way through the year) and I'll still get a 2:1 at least, I've had a great time through uni societies, I've made more friends here than I've ever had, but not everyone has the same positive experience and if you didn't I think having an end goal to work towards would help.

    ETA: The £61000 excludes roughly £13000 in grant money, which wouldn't be available to new uni starters.
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    I am having kind of the same problem. I am 24, I did A Levels but was tired of college (kinda thought it was a bit ********), so after that I just worked and have worked ever since then, in crappy jobs. So, I have been out of education for 6 years, and it seems a little daunting to go back now. Part of me wants to study, because I am tired of the kind of jobs I have been working (factory, supermarket, cleaning), and I think I can do better for myself.

    I know I am not completely stupid, but part of me thinks maybe I am not quite smart enough for university. I enjoy learning, I am learning Spanish right now, I learnt to play guitar ten years ago, I enjoy learning about history, politics, travel, and whatever takes my fancy on the internet. I want to improve myself, and of course you can learn anything you want to, without going to university, although for many of jobs you need the piece of paper that says you studied at university for 3+ years, did exams, coursework etc.

    If I decide to study, it won't be for another year or so, until I am sure what I want to do, if at all. I have travelled quite a lot the last 3 years, but I can't (and don't want to) do that forever. I was also thinking about "university as the answer to all my problems", some of my friends I met travelling encourage me to study, but ultimately it's my choice.

    The whole "education" thing seems like a huge business to get people in debt, and I hate that and would prefer not to be a part of that. There is a lot more people go to university now than 20 / 30 / 40 years ago, when only the really smart people went. And now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon getting into debt, because it's the thing to do. So now I am wondering, is going to university the smart thing (for me)? I really don't know
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    (Original post by RachaelBee)
    Remember that due to the nature of the site the people posting are likely to have enjoyed uni, otherwise they wouldn't be on a forum for students and giving out advice, they simply wouldn't care enough. I know people who have dropped out, people who have graduated but said they wouldn't repeat uni if they could turn back the clock, and recently a few people I've spoken to have described university as the worst time of their life and they don't even want to think of it ever again.

    Anyway, my experiences/opinion etc. I also dropped out of education at 16 and got a job, my first couple of jobs were admin/receptionist work, then I got lucky with a job as a lab assistant in the NHS. I carried on working but did my A levels at the same time and to be honest it was exhausting, not impossible as far as time management goes, but my mental health took a massive hit. I studied one through ICS Distance Learning (if it's a course that doesn't need coursework assessment then don't bother using them, just buy the textbooks and teach yourself), I did an evening class at my local college and I just self taught another couple of subjects. I knew exactly what degree I wanted to do though, I know what sort of job I'm aiming for, and I got a place at uni and I do love it but a big part of that is that I love my course. Doing it just for the social experiences is both expensive and risky, assuming I can do PG like I want to I'll have run up over £61k of debt, plus I spent thousands on my A levels. There's no guarantees you'll have the amazing social life either, please don't think I am criticising you as a person because I don't know you, but I have friends who struggle to make friends; one of them realised he has made 4 friends during his first year at uni.

    In summary, I got very lucky. I like my course, I get on with my lecturers, I've coasted this year (I only needed to score 50% and I didn't want to stress myself out as I came off antidepressants part way through the year) and I'll still get a 2:1 at least, I've had a great time through uni societies, I've made more friends here than I've ever had, but not everyone has the same positive experience and if you didn't I think having an end goal to work towards would help.

    ETA: The £61000 excludes roughly £13000 in grant money, which wouldn't be available to new uni starters.
    Thanks for taking the time to write this up and congratulations on your 2:1. Sounds like you went through some journey to get to where you are, but by the sounds you really wanted it, and you got/getting it. This is where my problem lies, my heart isn't 100% into anything just yet. Maybe university isn't for me!

    (Original post by djthorpe91)
    I am having kind of the same problem. I am 24, I did A Levels but was tired of college (kinda thought it was a bit ********), so after that I just worked and have worked ever since then, in crappy jobs. So, I have been out of education for 6 years, and it seems a little daunting to go back now. Part of me wants to study, because I am tired of the kind of jobs I have been working (factory, supermarket, cleaning), and I think I can do better for myself.

    I know I am not completely stupid, but part of me thinks maybe I am not quite smart enough for university. I enjoy learning, I am learning Spanish right now, I learnt to play guitar ten years ago, I enjoy learning about history, politics, travel, and whatever takes my fancy on the internet. I want to improve myself, and of course you can learn anything you want to, without going to university, although for many of jobs you need the piece of paper that says you studied at university for 3+ years, did exams, coursework etc.

    If I decide to study, it won't be for another year or so, until I am sure what I want to do, if at all. I have travelled quite a lot the last 3 years, but I can't (and don't want to) do that forever. I was also thinking about "university as the answer to all my problems", some of my friends I met travelling encourage me to study, but ultimately it's my choice.

    The whole "education" thing seems like a huge business to get people in debt, and I hate that and would prefer not to be a part of that. There is a lot more people go to university now than 20 / 30 / 40 years ago, when only the really smart people went. And now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon getting into debt, because it's the thing to do. So now I am wondering, is going to university the smart thing (for me)? I really don't know
    We do sound rather identical. I agree with you, take some time out to find out what I really want to do before jumping in! Sounds like you have the travel bug
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    Its the £50,000 worth of debt you need to think about. It's not normal debt, but still money you owe.

    Imo you really need to decide what you want to do, do some research into things you like and jobs you might be interested in. Find out what you need to do to get into that field. It might need a degree and it might not. You might be able to do it with vocational qualifications.

    You can then decide whether a degree will be worth it. If so save up money and just do the access course. Dont forget you have to pay for that as well.
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    Im not going to lie to you this thread was a bit TL;DR all of it.

    However i was in the exact same position as you. I'm just finishing off my access course and Im going to Uni this September.

    Ive been doing that 9-5 grind for years and i finally decided last year, enough is enough.

    As an adult its damn hard to make friends, & its annoying to think of what you could achieve.
    As an adult that has been in the "real world" -(non education) you know how it works. Uni buys you time to be free. Meet people, and allow yourself to grow & come out of it with knowledge and a paper that shows your capable of higher learning.

    The debt doesnt really exist. If youre earning 22k you pay back 7 pounds a month. If youre earning 40k you pay back 350 a month. If you're earning that much more power to you.

    When else will you have an opportunity as an adult to be given money to have extra time. The opportunity to travel with no repercussions (erasmus) you have something you want to study go do that access course. Dont let people put you off what is labeled as one of the best times of your life.
 
 
 
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