Why You Don't Need a Degree to be Successful

Friday, 1 April 2016

Sophie-Anne Hamilton, UK Lifestyle Blog

Now for those of you who are new to my blog, you've probably not read my Why I'm Leaving University post. Basically, at the end of December I decided to pack up all my belongings from my small prison cell, and headed back home - admittedly thinking my world had stopped.

I've always been an academic person, I never really struggled at school (unless it was Maths, Maths was a total b*tch.) But, I'd got great A-Level results, but never really knew what my calling in life would be. Everyone in my year was gearing themselves up to heading to university, and I just didn't have a clue what I wanted to do.

I'd spent majority of my schooling life tailoring my pathway to study performing arts at a school in London. I was lucky enough to gain a place at Arts Educational London but unfortunately due to finances, I wasn't able to go.

I was more determined when I turned 18 to try again, as I would be able to qualify for a student loan, but despite getting call-backs, offers from a prestigious school in Oxford, I decided to turn it all down.

Don't get me wrong, I loved performing, but I couldn't imagine my life being in limbo - jumping from job to job with no steady income. So it was back to the drawing board. I took a gap year, and decided to follow my other love - English.

I was always pretty good at English, and I did enjoy the subject, so I just followed the wave and eventually ended up at a great university in London. But it wasn't it was all cracked up to be.

I loved being at university, the freedom, the new faces, cheer - everything was great but I just wasn't in love with my course. At the end of the day, I'm not paying £9000 a year to be incredibly miserable. I wasn't going to just settle.

My parents could see how miserable I'd become, I was literally a shell of myself. I lost interest in going to my lectures, I wanted to spend all my time away from uni and most of all I'd lost interest in looking after myself.

After a well-rested reading week at home, I wanted to give it one last shot. But as my mental health regressed, my gut was telling me it was time to pack up and head home.

But it wasn't the end of my world, at all.

In fact, after a long, hard Christmas and New Year feeling helpless and like my life was going nowhere - I got stuck into my blog. I wrote about how blogging saved my life, and I meant that. It gave me direction. My course also taught me one thing - I had a love for writing. If it wasn't for my blog, I don't think I would have decided to head back to university.

But regardless of having a degree, I bagged myself a graduate level job as a Digital Marketing Assistant. Although the company wasn't for me, it still hasn't stopped me getting interviews and job offers from other companies for similar roles. In fact, I've just bagged myself a job at Loughborough University to tide me over until September.

Not only have I had job offers, but I've worked with Blogosphere Magazine on their recent issue. This experience that Alice gave me was incredible. It was invaluable experience that I actively sought after leaving university. Not only did it give me something to work towards, whilst searching for a job. But it was relevant to the degree I knew I wanted to study.

Life tip: I would definitely recommend people actively approaching companies for work experience, because although they may not be advertising - you could just be lucky. Take the time to draft a thoughtful email, and remember to attach your CV.

I feel like it's thrown down your neck at school that you need a degree to get yourself a good job - but you don't. You shouldn't allow yourself to be defined by a piece of paper. It's as much as about you, your work ethic and your personality than it is your qualifications.

It shouldn't be the norm for us all the be pressured into picking a degree. Plenty of people are successful after getting an apprenticeship, and working their way up. It doesn't mean your any less of a person than someone with a degree. In fact, you're probably the clever one. We're all leaving with bags of debt.

I am heading back to university, to study Journalism and Media, and I'm excited to get back. I love studying, and I can't wait to have my own place again - hopefully a nicer place than in London. You can imagine living in London at a campus university, not the nicest of places...

But, anyway, I guess this post was just me updating you guys on where I'm heading and I wanted people to realise that you don't need to go the university to be successful.

If you have the right attitude to work and the drive behind you, I can promise you you'll go far. Don't let a piece of paper stop you.

For now,

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