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9.23.2015

a degree does not define you

Not going to uni? Who the hell cares.

The stigma that to succeed in life you must have a degree remains. Whether it's disappointed relatives constantly asking "So have you thought about going to uni in the future?" or future employers questioning why you didn't go, as if there is something wrong with you, not going to uni is still seen as some sort of failure. 

I didn't go to university and I have no intention of going in the future as it stands. I refuse to let this stigma define me - or others - that not going to university will lead to me living a below average life with a below average wage. Life is about choices and I am making the conscious choice not to go to university. 

Go ahead and judge me. If that is all that university taught you, then I 100% made the right decision. 

Lets throw a spanner into the works, I used to want to go to uni. I really wanted to go - Law was what I wanted to do. Law at Exeter or Manchester was the dream. I spent hours planning it, days even, and at that point in my life I wanted nothing less. Days were spent reading into the courses, reading about the most recent cases and everything else - I found it fun. 

But then one day, literally like that, I woke up and didn't want to do law anymore. I knew I could do it, and it would be a good degree to have, but I didn't want to. I couldn't commit 4 years of my life to something I didn't love. 

I found myself a little stuck. I was 17, about to do exams, and I no longer want to do my chosen career path. My parents were excited I'd chosen a career which was good, one they could tell their friends about. How could I now go to them and tell them I didn't want to do that, and I didn't know what I wanted to do? All I knew was that I didn't want to go to university. Everything else was up in the air.

I told them and naturally they were disappointed. I suppose in a sense, they felt let down. I felt guilty for a long time - I wanted to be the child who went to university and got her degree in law, but deep down I genuinely knew that wasn't me. It wasn't long after I'd started my blog that I came to this realisation, and maybe that was what helped me. I enjoy being creative and I enjoy writing. How much creativity can you bring to a law case without having fabricated an entire new story? I can only assume very little.

I took the disapproving remarks and the constant questions of; Why are you not going? What are you doing? Where will life go from here? and I used them to help. They got me down from time to time, but they help. They helped me to build up the urge and determination to turn around to them in the hope that one day I can say, This is why. This is why I chose differently.

I mean people genuinely asked me what was "wrong" with me? Jesus. 

It made me think - why do you have to go? I've been brought up, both at home and in school, thinking that university is the only plausible option to success. During school, you learn how to apply to university...but do they teach you how to interview or how to write a CV? 

It's about time that people start realising that having a degree doesn't make you above anyone else. I have friends who are studying some stupid degree at a rubbish university, is that really what it takes to impress someone? Does that really make them any more competent than me?

So yes, I didn't go to uni. Instead I got two fantastic internships in marketing. I bet on myself and did something I love. Marketing for me is where creativity flows, I can put forward my ideas and I get to write. I love that I can take the skills I develop into any sector I like. 

I did my internships which subsequently led to me getting a job as a marketing assistant. It's the beginning of the long ladder to success, but I got on it without the help of a degree...one that apparently you need to be more than a sales assistant (yep, heard it all). I got my foot in, and I'm firmly wedging it in.

Law may have not been for me, but marketing is. It might not be forever, nothing really is, but right now I am happy. I am glad that I listened to my gut and didn't go to university, because I'd be stuck on an expensive course doing something that just wasn't for me. Wasting away 4 years of my life, purely to impress the people who I surround myself with. 

Kassie, stop living your life for someone else.

Going to university or not going doesn't define you. Yes it may be a piece of paper which gets you through the door of an interview, but it doesn't mean you're any less competent. Don't ever feel pressured to conform to something because you think it's right. Listen to your gut, listen to yourself.

You are the bloody creator of your life. You don't need a degree to create it, you need the determination in yourself. You can get an Oxford graduate with no drive, they won't succeed just because they have a degree. If you don't want it, you're unlikely to get it. Don't think of yourself as any less just because you chose a different route.


Every single road leads somewhere, and you just took a different one. 

I am not encouraging you to not go to university, for some people they genuinely want to go and it will make them happy. That's really my point here. If it isn't going to make you happy then why even bother? Think about your options and never feel forced. 

You gotta do what you gotta do.

Forever Learning,
Kassie x

Tweet me on @kassiebarkerj 
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2 comments:

  1. what a brilliant post. i am tired of young people being herded to university, the schools teach them that there is no other option.
    i always knew i never wanted to go to university. i am not a career woman. as long as i have a nice little job i really don't care. there was nothing that i felt passionately enough about to bother going to university & getting a degree. i did my GCSE's and halfway through AS levels I dropped out. i just felt there was no point doing A-Levels if I was never going to university. They kept talking about getting UCAS points and I knew that would never apply to me. So I work in an office now, it's a nice job, 9-5 Monday to Friday which is what I've wanted, always.
    I am so pleased that you took the time to write this post and I am pleased that you are happy and have great a job in marketing.

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  2. Hi Kassie, I really enjoyed reading this post and completely agree and understand where you're coming form. although I went to uni and have now graduated, I have had not had the benefits from it that I hoped I would. I am glad I went, although I find myself telling those who are interested in going to uni to really think about it, and is it what they want and expect? As it was a different experience for myself. I will continue to read your blog! ;)

    http://www.downemilylane.blogspot.com

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