The Student Room Group

Should I go to university?

Hello, I’m after some opinions on my current situation. I have an offer to study History and American Studies at a very good university with the idea of doing a PCGE and becoming a history teacher. However, my true passions lie in dealing in antiques especially vinyl records which I have some experience in with selling online and have had some success and learnt a lot. I enjoy learning about antiques and history through antiques rather than reading about history for extended periods of time which university is about. I feel I may not enjoy my degree plus there is always the cost of university and humanities degrees are usually perceived to be useless. However, my parents and school have put university as the only option which I can see as a degree can be useful in providing a stable income but I’m not fully certain on becoming a history teacher. I wonder if anyone has advice or opinions they can give me? Thanks
Original post by Anonymous
Hello, I’m after some opinions on my current situation. I have an offer to study History and American Studies at a very good university with the idea of doing a PCGE and becoming a history teacher. However, my true passions lie in dealing in antiques especially vinyl records which I have some experience in with selling online and have had some success and learnt a lot. I enjoy learning about antiques and history through antiques rather than reading about history for extended periods of time which university is about. I feel I may not enjoy my degree plus there is always the cost of university and humanities degrees are usually perceived to be useless. However, my parents and school have put university as the only option which I can see as a degree can be useful in providing a stable income but I’m not fully certain on becoming a history teacher. I wonder if anyone has advice or opinions they can give me? Thanks

Hi Anon,

I understand your situation, and it really isn't an easy decision, especially with outside influences impacting it too.

University isn't necessarily the only option, you can find a great career and achieve your goals without a degree. In the same breath, a degree on your CV or having completed a course on your topic of interest may give you an edge for your future career options.

There are additional values to university besides your course, like the opportunity to live somewhere new, meet new people, gain experience in your desired industry, and try new things. But like you say, uni can be costly and time consuming.

In my own experience, I originally didn't want to come to university for fashion design, as I thought it would be a waste of my time. But since I made the decision to go, I have never regretted it. I have had so many opportunities which I only had from going to uni.

Your dream job sounds like a great plan, and definitely achievable. Maybe you could weigh up the possibility of achieving this career if you do or don't go to uni - and also how you would achieve it without uni so you can explain your plan to your parents. This might make them feel more comfortable with your decision if they can see your future plans.

There isn't really a right or wrong answer, as you will most likely find good and hard times to both options. But of course, I would always advise you to go with your gut and what you want as this decision will impact you the most.

Best of luck with your decision.🙂

If you have any questions about uni or how I made my decision to go, drop a message below.

Emily
Student Rep at BCU
Reply 2
But do you think your could earn enough £ to survive just by selling vinyl records? It sounds like a good side hustle, but not a proper salary tbh. Why don’t you do pgce and teach, you can sell vinyl in all the holidays you would get. Plus if you get head of department you are looking at £50k plus.
Reply 3
Original post by Kay7475
But do you think your could earn enough £ to survive just by selling vinyl records? It sounds like a good side hustle, but not a proper salary tbh. Why don’t you do pgce and teach, you can sell vinyl in all the holidays you would get. Plus if you get head of department you are looking at £50k plus.

This is very true. I understand university can improve your prospects but there is all this talk of schools becoming more focused on STEM and all these people going to university to study history or history related degrees means only those who are very determined to become a history teacher can actually become history teachers which I’m unsure at the moment that’s what I want to do. I just think now university is useful as a ‘if you really want to do career X but career X requires a degree’ rather than a place to learn what you want to be.
That’s wonderful that you have a strong passion for antiques, especially vinyl records! It’s worth considering that you can continue selling online while pursuing your university studies. Keeping your options open allows you to explore the possibility of becoming a history teacher while still engaging in your passion for antiques. Remember, you won’t know if teaching history is the right path for you until you give it a try. If you find that it’s not your calling, you can always pivot and focus on your passion for antiques.
Is deferring for a year an option?
Would give you that year to think, maybe try selling & decide on where your heart is?

Then if you still want to do the degree, the place would be held for you.
Why don’t you ask the admissions team if it’s possible (tell them you want a gap year).
If you go to university and you don't like being a teacher (bare in mind that 44% of teachers quit within the first five years) then your degree will essentially be worthless as you won't be doing the job that you trained to do. Please do consider this before you apply. The sensible thing would be to take a year out (or several years out) and keep selling records whilst finding something else that you do like doing outside of a degree. You can get a job as a teaching assistant (or maybe teach abroad whilst being able to travel) to ensure that you do truly enjoy teaching and that you aren't making a mistake.

If you can't find anything that you'd want to do outside of teaching then by all means go but you're making a very, very costly mistake if you don't enjoy teaching.
Reply 7
Original post by Thisismyunitsr
If you go to university and you don't like being a teacher (bare in mind that 44% of teachers quit within the first five years) then your degree will essentially be worthless as you won't be doing the job that you trained to do. Please do consider this before you apply. The sensible thing would be to take a year out (or several years out) and keep selling records whilst finding something else that you do like doing outside of a degree. You can get a job as a teaching assistant (or maybe teach abroad whilst being able to travel) to ensure that you do truly enjoy teaching and that you aren't making a mistake.
If you can't find anything that you'd want to do outside of teaching then by all means go but you're making a very, very costly mistake if you don't enjoy teaching.

I was looking at various sources like Linkedin and the university website to see where people who did my degree end up at and saw teachers but also various others like law conversions, university administrators / advisors, copywriters among other things so it will not be totally destitute. I’m already taking a gap year (already been to a university which was through clearing for law which was terrible because of the university) and I can see myself doing well in a teaching job but I think it’s just second thoughts. It’s a shame university is so expensive. Thanks
Original post by Anonymous
I was looking at various sources like Linkedin and the university website to see where people who did my degree end up at and saw teachers but also various others like law conversions, university administrators / advisors, copywriters among other things so it will not be totally destitute. I’m already taking a gap year (already been to a university which was through clearing for law which was terrible because of the university) and I can see myself doing well in a teaching job but I think it’s just second thoughts. It’s a shame university is so expensive. Thanks

I went to university after several years out (I was 23 when I went) and no one cared. I think in a lot of ways the mature students did better academically and had better outcomes than the people who attended at 18/19/20, again I'm not saying that you shouldn't go, just something to consider.
Reply 9
Original post by Anonymous
Hello, I’m after some opinions on my current situation. I have an offer to study History and American Studies at a very good university with the idea of doing a PCGE and becoming a history teacher. However, my true passions lie in dealing in antiques especially vinyl records which I have some experience in with selling online and have had some success and learnt a lot. I enjoy learning about antiques and history through antiques rather than reading about history for extended periods of time which university is about. I feel I may not enjoy my degree plus there is always the cost of university and humanities degrees are usually perceived to be useless. However, my parents and school have put university as the only option which I can see as a degree can be useful in providing a stable income but I’m not fully certain on becoming a history teacher. I wonder if anyone has advice or opinions they can give me? Thanks

If you ask me, it sounds like the path forward is really clear. Set up your antiques trading business and go for it. You have the rest of your life to go to university but going for the sake of going is just going to waste you a lot of time and money.

The only time to set up a business unless you have lots of money is when you are young and without any commitments. As soon as you settle down, get a partner, kids, house, mortgage your wiggle room reduces massively. That said, university is always available so go for it.

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