Before we get into this post, buckle up – grab a cup a tea and have a sit down because it’s a long one and we’re about to get a little bit deep. I would like to throw a disclaimer out there by saying in no way am I trying to convince you not to go to university, this is my own personal experience which I would love to share with you all.
If you didn’t know, I’m currently finishing my second year at university. I attend Royal Holloway, or as many people like to shorten it – RHUL, and I’m studying English Literature. I don’t think many people have actually heard of the university.. in fact, I was discussing this with my friend and she too experiences the same lame joke from everyone – “Oh Holloway, isn’t that the prison?” – No.. no it isn’t.
Although Royal Holloway is classified as a London university, it is technically in Surrey, in a town called Egham, which is very small, and very, very quiet. Coming from London, a huge city, I don’t think I was ready for the vast difference between London and elsewhere. The shock of how quiet Royal Holloway was weird. I’m so used to hearing a plane every 30 seconds, an angry bus driver horning at a careless driver or a teenager listening to their
shit music out loud, even though they have headphones around their neck.
So, anyways, going to university was kind of a no-brainer for me. It was somewhere, without a doubt, I knew I wanted to go to whilst growing up. I mean, I do really enjoy learning, and if I had to admit, I did (secretly) actually like school. But I am in two-minds over whether I enjoy university or not. For the majority of the time, I really don’t enjoy it – I loathe reading pages and pages of articles/books/journals for just that one essay, only to come to the realisation that when you are done, there is another essay due the following week and you’ve just got to crack on. I mean, I know what you’re thinking, I chose English so what was I going to expect? But I don’t know, I guess I didn’t know what to expect.
Let me tell you a story about the other day. It was early, it was a 9am lecture. I had dragged my ass to university that day – and of course, in true British style, it was cold, it was raining, it was wet. And yet, I managed to get there on time AND having done the reading. So the lecture began, and as the lecturer was speaking, I felt that I knew what she was saying, like I had read it before. I even whispered to my friend, “I’m pretty sure I’ve read this somewhere, I just can’t remember where.” As the lecture continued, I realised that I had read what she was reading out, and I knew exactly where. I told my friend to bring up Wikipedia on her iPad, and I was indeed correct. My lecturer was reading out a Wiki page. This is what I’m paying for. This is what I rushed to listen to.
It is these small little things that make me question the whole point of university. I guess as someone who loved learning, I was expecting to discover new things, to see the world in a whole, new light and most importantly, to gain a whole new level of passion for my chosen subject. I personally don’t think this is the case – for me, university has had the opposite effect.
I’m sure in years to come, I’ll look back at this period in my life and be grateful and glad that I stuck it out. I have received wise words from people surrounding me, saying that there is no harm in getting a good education, and honestly, I would not know what I would’ve done had I not gone to university.
But there has been several occasions, and huge emphasis on the word several, where I wished I was anywhere else but at university. Every single break we have, I tell myself and everyone I know, “Right that’s it, I’ve had enough. I’m not going back. I’m quitting.” I think it’s fair to say myself and university have had a very shaky start, and still to this day, I feel like it’s somewhere where I HAVE to be, not where I WANT to be.
Perhaps it’s because a couple of my friends have full time jobs which they really enjoy, (not to mentioned they’re getting paid for it!), or it’s because I hear stories of people travelling all over the world, being creative and having fun – all of which makes me want to pursue what I really want to do. I want to explore the world, I want to have fun, I want to indulge in my creative side, I want to fully be happy with what I’m doing.
I have chosen to look at my degree as a means to enable me to not have to worry so much about getting a job right now, and that I will gain a qualification that will allow me to get my dream job. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I’m on the brink of tears because I’m not happy or I’m stress or I’m tired or all of the above. There are days where I don’t want to go back at all and wish I could hide in bed all day. But I know that this is something that I need to do, and if truth be told, there is no way I’ll be classified as a dropout. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it well… even if I hate it.
If all goes well in Summer exams/essays, I will be entering my last year in September. It is something I am looking forward to. I genuinely wish I could say I love university and be one of those people who forever wish they were a student forever. But unfortunately, that is not the case. It wasn’t until I went to university that I understood the phrase ‘University is not for everyone.’ I have friends who adore the whole university experience and love their subject. The whole university experience is definitely a personal experience and if you do choose to take this journey, I wish you all the best. X