Advanced search

To think going to Uni isn't the be all and end all?

(93 Posts)
CatThiefKeith Fri 06-Feb-15 22:38:42

And that it is perfectly possible to have a decent life, get a good job and a reasonable standard of living without having gained a degree?

Obviously for some jobs a degree is essential, but Aibu to think that it's not for everyone, and not being academic enough to go to Uni doesn't mean you are doomed to never do well in life?

skylark2 Fri 06-Feb-15 22:43:13

There isn't anything which is the be-all and endall for everyone.

Not going to uni would have been devastating for me. It was a non-issue for my friend who instead went to a conservatoire and ended up as a professional musician, or for my other friend who decided to train full time and ended up several years down the line with an Olympic medal.

CoolCat2014 Fri 06-Feb-15 22:46:08

YANBU. Plenty of successful people didn't go to uni. Plenty of people dos go to uni and are doing naff jobs.

I went to uni but dropped out due to severe illness. I'm doing alright, but not currently on mega bucks.

MoreBeta Fri 06-Feb-15 22:46:19

I agree. I my case, I have a undergrad degree, several masters degrees and PhD but I tell everyone to think very very carefully about whether university is worth doing.

I strongly believe that we need to halve the numbers going to university and restore grants so the best and brightest go from any background. Those who do not go to university get high quality apprenticeships, vocational/professional training again with grants.

I met a young man recently who had thought about it and was managing a restaurant at age 22. His friends were at university. He could have gone himself but actively decided against and thought he might go later.

OllyBJolly Fri 06-Feb-15 22:46:54

Of course it's not! My DD was in a group of friends who I'd say were all roughly equally clever. One went to Uni for a year, dropped out, trained as an accountant and is doing very well. One didn't go to Uni, trained as a beauty therapist and now runs a successful business. Third was very musical, worked in a local shop for a few years, and is now with an orchestra - skint but happy. DD1 went to uni to do dentistry, dropped out, worked for a few years, and went back to train as a nurse. I think they're all happy.

Most kids go to uni now so it doesn't give the same advantage it once did. I think even the academic kids are looking at alternatives.

esiotrot2015 Fri 06-Feb-15 22:47:07

Of course you're right
Who told you a degree is the be & end all?

Charlotte3333 Fri 06-Feb-15 22:47:48

My friends are a fairly even divide of Uni graduates and non-Uni goers. Most (I hesitate to say all) are fairly happy, intelligent, articulate folk with good jobs and reasonable standards of living.

However. I graduated in 2004. When friends I'd been to 6th Form with left school and chose not to go to Uni, they fell into jobs and worked their way up the ladder. I left Uni and fell into finance and worked my way up the ladder. I've got a sneaking suspicion it's not so easy to fall into anything these days, nor to work your way up without qualifications, and if I'm honest I'd quite like my children to go to Uni simply for the opportunity to play at being a grown-up before taking on dealt adult life.

CatThiefKeith Fri 06-Feb-15 22:48:23

I should probably have put in my op that I have two friends ATM who are putting their kids under enormous pressure to study.

One dc is capable, but not interested, the other is not remotely academic, but is trying really hard (and failing) and he just looks so miserable. He's become very withdrawn and I'm sure it's affecting his self esteem.

He's brilliant with practical stuff, and fixing things, but really struggles with academic settings. sad

esiotrot2015 Fri 06-Feb-15 22:48:53

Look at Richard Branson....

Mehitabel6 Fri 06-Feb-15 22:50:20

Of course it isn't! My DS who left at 16yrs has the best job- he is the one who has bought a house and is married in his mid 20's. The university ones can't afford it!

JeanneDeMontbaston Fri 06-Feb-15 22:55:52

I don't think anyone would think this is unreasonable, surely?

That said, for some people (by no means all), there is a plateau effect, which may or may not be an issue - you might find you were earning while your friends were students, and ended up financially 'ahead' of them for a few years, but then they might start earning quite a bit more.

Not always, as I say, but something I am noticing with my friends from school at the moment - some people were prepared for it (because they're not idiots!) but there were a couple who got the worst of both worlds by going to university, seeing others who'd not gone affording a standard of living they couldn't, dropping out, and now finding that people with degrees are being promoted over them.

I do think it's hard to know what's best at the moment, TBH. I wish non-university options had more support from the government, which I don't think they do.

MostAmused Fri 06-Feb-15 23:02:35

I honestly wish I hadn't bothered with Uni. (Or had put it off till my mid 20s). My parents like to think they are not pushy but they definitely were about uni. I wanted to drop out in second year but was pressured to finish. I'm now doing temp work and in total limbo career wise. The jobs I want say I'm over qualified, the ones I'm qualified for want experience and passion etc but I'm not interested. It's infuriating.

What am I left with? Thousands in debt and a just above minimum wage entry level job. Pointless.

cluecu Fri 06-Feb-15 23:03:48

I think one massive plus point of university is (if the student moves away to halls etc) is the circles....different perspective that they won't necessarily get from their circle of home friends. I thought I had a great group of mates until I met the best friends of my life at uni and it turns out the mates at home weren't so fact they were small minded and not very nice people.

Anyway, I will strongly encourage my children (if I ever manage to conceive them) to attend university as much for social reasons as for anything else. smile

Caronaim Fri 06-Feb-15 23:04:24

who says it is the be all and end all? it is something you choose if you want to.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 06-Feb-15 23:08:09


It was the best thing I ever did. Without question the best decision I ever made. It's not for everyone though.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Fri 06-Feb-15 23:08:24

The best thing about university is that it allows you to leave home gracefully.

The sex was pretty good too. grin

TheFairyCaravan Fri 06-Feb-15 23:18:48


DS1(20) is a very bright young man. He got all A*s and As at GCSE and AAB at A level. He never really wanted to go to university, he always wanted to join the army. DH and I were happy for him to do what he wanted and for what felt right for him.

From yr10 onwards at school most of his teachers put quite a bit of pressure on him to go to university. We did go to open days, and he did apply, get accepted and defer. When we were there I could see his heart wasn't in it and I knew if he went the likelihood of him dropping out was high.

He applied to the army and got in. He has been in 8 months now. It was exactly the right thing for him. It's like he has found the missing piece of his puzzle. He is happy and confident, he loves his job and said he can see himself doing it for years. He thinks he will do a degree at some point.

For now, he is loving life, earning a really decent wage for a 20yo and driving a BMW. I'm so glad he did what he wanted and not what other people thought he should do.

YouTheCat Fri 06-Feb-15 23:32:24

Dd had loads of pressure from her teachers to apply for uni. I am glad she stuck to her guns and said no.

It isn't the be all and end all and it isn't even essential to go straight from 6th form.

Dd is 20 and has decided on a degree for September. All this done with no pressure from me. I stuck by her when all her teachers were trying to persuade her to apply. It is her own decision and I know she will work hard rather than if she'd gone at 18 - she would have pissed about.

Mmmicecream Fri 06-Feb-15 23:56:14

I think it's a numbers game. I know people who have done well in terms of jobs and financial security that haven't gone to uni, and those who have gone and haven't done as well. BUT, as a rule, the people who went to uni do have better jobs, especially now we're not grads anymore.

When I was in my 20s there were plenty of people who didn't go to uni and were doing as well, if not better, than those who had gone. This is especially true as many graduate jobs pay the same as a good job in retail or the like, or other jobs than you can do without a degree.

But now we're heading into our late 30s and the people who went to uni are getting further in their careers, there is much more of a disparity between those who went and those who didn't as many of the non-uni people have plateaued at work and have less choice when seeking work. It seems to me that the sorts of jobs that require degrees often have much better promotion opportunities and higher glass ceilings.

That's why, when someone talks about how much more money their DC in their 20s has compared to their uni-attending friends, I always wonder if that will remain the case when they are all 40.

GnomeDePlume Sat 07-Feb-15 00:00:09

Absolutely YANBU

My middle DC is currently applying to join the army. He is in that squeezed middle academically speaking. He will get some GCSEs but not enough to go on to A level. If not the army then what? We live in an academic black hole. There isnt a lot of choice around here.

AlpacaMyBags Sat 07-Feb-15 00:27:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LizardBreath Sat 07-Feb-15 00:34:18

Completely and utterly agree. Though I went and have a 'good' job. No need, I would have been much better off down an apprentice / skilled trade route, but how can one know this at 17/18?

Momagain1 Sat 07-Feb-15 01:00:22

The attitude i tried to give my kids was: any plan is a good pla, so long as you are out there actively working on that plan. So, even if you want to do something other adults this is outlandish and foolish, go fo it. Because if you are actively studying it in whatever way one studies that outlandish idea, if you are actively seeking oeople and experiences that are relevent, then you will get somewhere interesting and useful. Even if you keep changing your mind and going off on tangents.

University is inly yseful if you approach it in that way. If you aporoach it as just an extension ofchool. Only with beer and sex and no curfew, you are likely just wasting your time.

GnomeDePlume Sat 07-Feb-15 10:05:46

I think that the big problem is the teenagers who dont go to university are effectively forced in to a particular field from an early age. They are the group who probably need the most help and guidance yet seem to get the least at least in my experience.

I would like to see 16 year olds to be offered a general vocational skills course giving an introduction to a number of fields so that the student can then progress to more specialised courses when they know which is the field for them. There oesnt seem to be anything like that round here.

MarshaBrady Sat 07-Feb-15 10:06:31

Sure, especially these days.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: