Whenever I ask myself this question, my initial answer is always ‘absolutely not’. As an English student, I had all of two lectures a week and spent the rest of my time pretending to read various books. The accumulative effect being that now when I’ve endured three days of solid work, I feel like it should be the weekend. I actually feel hard done by when I only get two days off a week. Two days is obviously completely normal and fair at the ripe old age of 22.
I’m lying to you slightly. I’ve been doing bar work for the last six months and University life has definitely equipped me for me that. It has taught me how to stay awake and alert at all hours and how to act like a normal person when my hangover is making me want to cry. Not only that, I’ve mastered the art of blocking out people attempting to look down on me, or bore me to sleep, and my argumentative nature is ever persistent. Mind you, at least it pays. My other ‘job’ is just like a real job, only it doesn’t pay.
Ok I’m just being plain negative now. I repeat, I’ve been doing bar work for the last six months. Well, four years actually. Meaning, I’m worn out and grouchy and bitter at the fact that I didn’t land myself the job of my dreams within hours of graduating. I’m not cut out for bar work. I’m hard working and I hate sloppiness, but I’m definitely no ‘people person’. I can’t pretend to smile, and I definitely can’t pretend to enjoy being chatted up but ‘that strange guy’ with god awful shoes.
Generic pub weirdo: ‘So are you gonna give me your number then?’
Me: ‘Hell no.’
At this point, I remember why I went to Uni. Not to get away from my home town necessarily, but to clarify what sort of person I am. In basic terms, I enjoy reading and writing, my own company, a few too many G&Ts, a good old dance and DMCs by the bucket load. It doesn’t matter that I knew that already, because now I’m 100% sure, with a sharper mind and a degree I’m insanely proud of.
As much as I dreaded the prospect of writing a dissertation, and as much as I align the university experience with late nights and budget food, the impact of successfully writing 8,000 words and receiving a good grade for it, is huge. I accomplished something I thought would get the better of me, and, not only that, I enjoyed it. I felt academic, I felt original, I felt unstoppable. I left uni feeling like this, and with an unexpected wave of grief that it was all over.
So here comes my next question, it is still worth going to University now that the costs have dramatically increased ? For me, working harder than I ever felt possible (albeit mainly in the final year) and realising my brain capacity, came from going to Uni. However, the people I shared those curious three years of my life with were an inseparable part of that experience. I honestly believe that I’ve benefited the most in terms of what I’ve learnt from the people I’ve met. So as long as you go off and do something that challenges you, and something that forces you into new situations with new people, you don’t have to go off to University. It just so happens that uni is an obvious way of learning a lot.
There is never a moment where I could genuinely regret going to Uni. It didn’t prepare me for real life, but real life can wait…