Ok so I have left school….what now?

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I’ve always felt like I was the only person who didn’t know what to do in life. Strangely the tables have turned and I’m the first who’s actually started a career. How did this happen? I’m still asking myself the same thing.

It all started at school when I took a careers test, which told me I was going to be an agricultural farmer. From then on I didn’t have much faith in the careers advice. All through sixth form I went along to university open days, went to all the subject talks and eventually applied to university. But, in the back of my mind I couldn’t imagine myself at university, living in halls or studying something I wasn’t 100% interested in. And then there is the £9,000 a year price tag. The devil on my shoulder kept asking me, “Do you really want to spend that kind of money on something you’re not sure about?” Whilst the angel was telling me, “You will always have a degree to fall back on and besides, what else would you do?” Plus all my friends were going and the student loan would cover most of the costs so why not?

For all those who are as confused as I was having left school… go travelling. 6 months, 14 countries, really cleared my head. Before I went away I had a place at university. I planned to go off and study with all my friends, which trust me, would have been the easier option. One day somewhere in the Namibian desert it clicked that university wasn’t right for me.

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When everyone left London to go off and study, I bagged myself a PR internship. I was anxious that the risk wouldn’t pay off and I would have to go to uni next year but the excitement of working in London took my mind off it. The problem is that people still have that old fashioned view that you can only be successful if you have a degree. Did you know that a quarter of graduates earn less than former apprentices? After that I managed to get an apprenticeship at Salix & Co, a PR company specialising in the health and social sector. Even though it wasn’t my preferred sector at first, it grows on me every day. I am now an assistant account executive….snazzy ey?

A lot of people presume that if you don’t go to university it’s because you don’t get the grades or that you can’t be bothered to study anymore. Maybe it’s true for some but in my case it couldn’t be more wrong. I enjoy learning new things but wanted to do this on the job whilst improving my employability skills. Plus I just wanted to make some money, who doesn’t?

University is different now. The majority of my friends either went because they didn’t know what else to do, it’s the ‘right’ thing to do or because they didn’t want to miss out on the ‘university experience.’ Are people really willing to have £50,000 debt for an experience? Don’t get me wrong, if your dream is to become a doctor or teacher then yes, you do need that qualification. But nowadays there are people actually spending thousands of pounds on David Beckham studies. Really?

It’s all coming back to me at this moment because I’m sitting on the train en route to Bristol University. It’s certainly nice to have the odd taster of university life and I always have a good time visiting friends. But, it also confirms that I 100% made the right decision. Uni just isn’t for everyone.

If an apprenticeship sounds like a possible option for you then watch this space and find out what it’s like to be a PR apprentice in the real world. It’s also worth a look at www.unisnotforme.com for more advice and to explore what other options are out there.

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