At some point during your time at university, you have probably asked yourself, ‘WHY AM I EVEN DOING THIS?’
With all the stress, all the debt you’re piling up and the fact that the graduate job market is, how can I put this, eh, crap, you’re probably considered dropping out and trying to carve a career for yourself as a famous blogger or a Kardashian or something.
But before you throw all your paper in the air, shout, ‘screw this!’ and set your sights on becoming the next Zoella, here are some things you need to know…
12 reasons why you DO actually need a degree
1. A degree proves that you’re not entirely useless
Ah sure, anyone can do a degree. They let all sorts in. My cousin got 3 Ds in her A-Levels and they let her study biology. If you’re doing a degree, you’ve probably heard something like this and it probably made you want to smash things. A degree is no small achievement and regardless of whether you get a First or scrape a Third by the skin of your teeth, a degree proves that you have valuable skills like studying independently and meeting deadlines etc. It also shows that you have some passion for your subject – after all, you’ve put at least three solid years into it. And that will mean something to future employers.
2. If anything, doing a degree fills out your CV
Nothing looks crappier than a CV with gaps in it. It will leave an employer wondering what the heck you were doing with your time. A degree plugs a three-year hole in your CV that those who don’t continue with higher education will find harder to fill.
3. Most employers do ask for a degree
We all know you need a degree to be a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher but even lower-paying roles require qualification. Most employers ask for a degree because it’s concrete proof that the candidate is at least a little bit competent. If you don’t have qualifications or real solid experience, an employer may see is as more of a risk to take you on.
4. Having a degree proves you can stick things out
As well as competency, employers want longevity – they don’t want someone who will stay in the job for three months and quit because they can’t be arsed. Recruiting new staff is a pain in the backside, and very expensive. When applying for jobs, a candidate who has sat out a degree for three whole years proves on paper that they can withstand hard times and go the distance.
5. It gives you time to figure stuff out in your brain
18-21 is a pretty pivotal time in your life. You’re hormonal and stressed and prone to the odd emotional breakdown. Being at university gives you time to get all that crap out of your system, make stupid decisions and learn from them before you have to face the working world.
6. You make valuable contacts at Uni
Not only will you get the opportunity to meet lecturers and speakers who are leaders in their industries, but the friends you make will also serve as good contacts too. You might be studying chemical engineering and your best friend may be studying fine art; which doesn’t exactly go hand in hand, but you’ll be surprised how important those weird connections will be in years to come. Meeting people from all different places, backgrounds and walks of life is one of the most enriching aspects of the university experience and it makes you a more informed and well rounded human.
7. University prepares you for real life
For many people, university is the first proper taste of independence and freedom and it really does prepare you for working life. It’s like a little cushioned bridge into the real world. You learn how to make decisions on your own, how to manage stress, run a home and budget financially, which are vital life skills.
8. You discover your strengths and weaknesses
Three years of study really allows you to assess what your strengths and weaknesses are and discover where your real interest lies – which is really helpful when you’re trying to narrow down your career options. There’s nothing worse than discovering you’re rubbish at your job and hate every second of it when you’re already in it.
9. You’re NOT wasting time
This is possibly the most irritating argument that the you-don’t-need-a-degree people use. They say that you’re wasting time at university when you could already be climbing the career ladder. Let me put this bluntly and simply – IT’S NOT A BLOODY RACE. Who cares if Sarah who didn’t go to uni was made editor of a fashion magazine by 21. That’s her life, not yours and success is not measured by how young you were when you achieved something. In two years, Sarah’s magazine could go bust and she’ll have no qualifications to fall back on. You have plenty of time to climb that ladder once you graduate.
10. And furthermore…You can build your business whilst doing your degree
I should also add that doing a degree doesn’t mean you can’t climb the career ladder or build your dream business. Apply for internships whilst studying. OR do what our boss did – he set up My Baggage in his bedroom whilst studying at Edinburgh Uni.
11. The debt isn’t great, but it’s not THAT bad
Yes, it is pretty grim to be shackled to this growing pile of debt for eternity, but it is manageable (trust me, I have to hand over a frustrating chunk of my wage to the Student Loan gremlins every month). It definitely should not deter you from going to university, if it’s what you want to do.
12. It does improve your prospects
A degree is not a big shiny golden key that will open the door to your dream job, but it does make success more likely. Worldwide statistics prove that university graduates are less likely to be unemployed. Graduates also command salaries up to 40% higher than those without higher education. It’s a cold, hard, in your face fact that you should throw at anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.