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To ask if you regret not having a degree?

(50 Posts)
Thickasmince Mon 11-Dec-17 14:57:17

I’m almost three months into a degree that I have started for the second time in 7 years. I am regretting it again.

I started it because i got a new job in my existing department and it seemed like the right thing to do and I felt the timing was better. But I was wrong. I don’t know that I’ll ever be cut out for uni, and not right now when I’m trying to do a new job, fill the gap in my old role and look after my DC12. Next years funding is also looking very problematic. Apart from that, I just don’t “get it” like most of the others so. Some bits. Bu now all. However, leaving now. I’ll need to pay quite a chunk of fees anyway.

Is it wrong to not have the ambition to get me through it? I’m happy on my modest salary, learning at my own pace, and doing what I want with my time and money. Is that wrong?

My biggest worry is telling my boss. I asked about the course at my interview and although it wasn’t essential for the role, I feel it makes me look i don’t care about my job or development, and I do. I just don’t think this is the way for me.

Anyone been in a similar position?


roconnell Mon 11-Dec-17 15:13:22

What subject is the degree in? Could it be that it's not the case that higher education isn't for you, just that particular subject?

If it helps, I have two degrees, a BA and an MSc, and imo you have to have a passion for the subject area in order for it to work. Doing something you don't enjoy is so demotivating.

bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 15:17:43

Check the rules around withdrawal for the "liability points", ie. when the next chunk of fees are due. You might owe less if you withdraw now rather than carry out to the end of Jan.

If you're going to withdraw, do it sooner rather than later so you're losing less of an investment.

As for regretting it, no-one can say that. Worth looking at doing Open University - you can do a module at a time so you can pace yourself, you've a fair amount of freedom in choosing your modules, and you can stop at any point.

ShowMePotatoSalad Mon 11-Dec-17 15:19:02

No, it's not wrong. Higher education is not suited to everyone and that doesn't make some people better or more 'right' than others. There is no right and wrong when it comes to things like this - it's not a moral issue in any way at all so please don't worry about that.

I also agree with roconnell - it may be that this particular subject does not inspire or motivate you. I would crumble doing any kind of work-related degree, for example in business or economics - my educational pursuits have nothing to do with my job. They are about things that interest me as a person.

I don't think your boss will mind all that much unless they have borne some of the cost of the course? The last thing they will want is for your work to suffer as a result of doing this degree, and if you mention your priorities for work and home life I am not sure there is anything they can say about that.

FlyingChristmasTree Mon 11-Dec-17 15:25:16

I regretted going to uni - was pushed into it by parents and now I can't go back to uni to do something I actually want to do because I can't afford it!

scaredofthecity Mon 11-Dec-17 15:25:18

I do, I only have a diploma (1st 2 years of degree) and need a full degree for any reasonable chance of career progression. I keep trying to sign up with the OU and then life gets in the way. I will get there eventually but I need to wait till out of the toddler stage.
But it sounds like your struggling already and its only going to get harder. Is it absolutely necessary? Are there any professional qualifications you can do instead?
I'm only going to do it as there is literally no other option if I want to work in the area I'm interested (think advanced nursing role).

Zoesweet Mon 11-Dec-17 15:25:48

Not at all. A degree dos not assure you of a good life. Most successful people never even stepped into college but they are very successful.

papayasareyum Mon 11-Dec-17 15:28:14

I always regretted it and graduated with an OU degree a decade ago, in my mid thirties. I’m so glad I did it, even though it made not a jot of difference to my employment status or earning power.

Bluesheep8 Mon 11-Dec-17 15:28:45

Flyingchristmastree - I could have written your post, i feel EXACTLY the same and have never actually said so!

SleepyHeadThisTime Mon 11-Dec-17 15:38:04

It's not quite what you're asking but I regret having a degree. I went to uni because my parents pushed for it and I didn't know what I wanted to do jobwise. I know owe more than I borrowed despite paying it off for the last 10 years. I wish I had done a few jobs, decided what I wanted to do and then done some training like an apprenticeship. When I can afford it I'm going to retrain as a cook

Helena17 Mon 11-Dec-17 15:41:23

If you wanted it ever since and it's your fault you weren't able to get it, then there's something to be regretful about. But life, and lives of successful people will tell us a degree is helpful only in so far as you are able to use it to advance your life in such a way that you want it to be. Otherwise you're fine without it. There are more than a million ways to be happy and I am sure a degree is not a factor in any of those.

Thickasmince Mon 11-Dec-17 16:08:27

Thank you all.

The degree is in Health and Safety Management, to me, very dry. But it’s the job I’m in now, having moved up from the admin side, and that’s fine. I’m happy with that at the moment. And I do want to learn and increase my confidence, and the confidence that others have in me. I think a lot of my colleagues think that I don’t deserve it, maybe they’re right.

I’m qualified to do it, I have studied for a specific, well recognised course in this field, and passed well. But I feel I should have carried on doing more at that same level, instead of 6/7 years later jumping into the degree at the same time as the new job.

My work haven’t paid anything yet for this year. They have said they can pay about £460, I’ll have to pay same and I’ve been accepted for funding for the rest - £1820. But if I leave now, I’ll have to pay 50% fees which is £1365. I can pay it over quite a period though. Chances are that if I progress to next year, I’ll need to pay the full £2730 over 8 months (as I won’t be eligible for funding due to salary increase), at a time when what I really want to do is move my son and I out of the horrible area we’re living.

I’m not stupid, but I feel out of my depth again.

As someone said, I’d far rather go back to college to do something creative, relaxing, , etc. like jewellery making, or finish learning sign language etc. This degree feels like a noose round my neck just now.

DailyMailReadersAreThick Mon 11-Dec-17 16:28:54

I started a work-related Masters three years ago. Did one year, deferred a year, deferred again... and again. I have no desire to do the second year (dissertation). It's a normal course that they offer as long-distance, and the four of us doing it long-distance are clearly an afterthought. Horribly disorganised and I don't feel I learned a thing from the first year.

I do feel twinges of guilt that I'm being a quitter but actually, doing half the degree has achieved everything I need: I put it on my CV and talked about it in interviews, and the interviewers were impressed that I'd bothered to pursue a degree to strengthen my technical knowledge. It didn't seem to matter that I haven't finished it yet: it's not the qualification (which isn't necessary for my role) but that it shows I'm serious about this as a career.

I have no plans to finish the degree.

Thickasmince Mon 11-Dec-17 16:58:36

Daily that’s how I feel, I don’t want to be seen as a quitter, but my biggest mistake was trying it again (they’ve actually changed it now and there’s an extra module per trimester). At least I have tried, right? But I’d have been better off if I hadn’t.

I don’t care for myself really, as I said, I’m happy on my salary, I’m earning more than I ever have, even though it’s not much. But I feel I’m letting others down if I leave.

PS, maybe yours is different, but I was told my uni only let you pick up where you left off if I’d wi years or less that you’ve been away. I had to start from scratch again. (Although it’s a bit different anyway, and more to it now)

daisychain01 Mon 11-Dec-17 17:21:52

But I feel I’m letting others down if I leave.
Who are these "others" you will be letting down?

However, leaving now. I’ll need to pay quite a chunk of fees anyway

I'd negotiate with the University regarding exactly how much you'd be expected to pay if you pull out early. Beware that this isn't 'sunk cost fallacy' I.e you feel you have to continue at all costs until the bitter end because of past money you've spent on the degree (that you won't get back)

Taking the tough decision to walk away from something be it a degree, relationship or job role because it just isn't right for you, can be a liberating and empowering experience.

hevonbu Mon 11-Dec-17 17:30:20

Don't regret it. You cannot manage to do it if you do it half-heartedly, and safety management will probably be an important topic for the future (sadly). See it as an investment, an insurance increasing the likelihood for you to find a job whenever you need it. See the degree and the studying like a job, set out dates and times in your calendar when you commit to studying. What you don't want, I would guess, is a big debt and some failed courses not summing up to a degree.

LalaLeona Mon 11-Dec-17 17:31:50

Yes I totally and utterly regret not doing a degree. I am now 40 and feel really trapped in my work. Lots more doors would be open to me if I hadn't dropped out of uni I also think I'd feel more confident about my abilities. When I think I could have studied for free back then too I could kick myself!

Thickasmince Mon 11-Dec-17 17:33:26

Thank you Daisy.

I feel like I’d be letting down my current boss and my previous boss who retired recently. He really pushed (in a good way) for me to go for the new job, for management to consider me, and for me to do the degree last time. But neither of them actually did their degrees til late their late 50’s/early 60’s.

Yes, my dc isn’t tiny anymore, but now that he is bigger, I have a little bit more freedom, for me. He goes out and does his thing, I can do mine, not sit with my face stuck in a book just because I feel I have to. I’ve not had a proper, decent, relationship his whole life. I’d like to think about meeting someone, dating, while he spends time at his dads, not shutting myself away for the next two years.

I really do feel that paying back £1365 is a small price to pay to lift the weight off my mind.

And I’m not saying I will never consider the degree again, I just shouldn’t have started it again right now. But so many are telling me there will never be a right time, it’ll be worth it in the end, etc.

RoseWhiteTips Mon 11-Dec-17 17:35:40


...Most successful people never even stepped into college but they are very successful.

Really? How exactly did you come upon this fascinating piece of information?

Pluckedpencil Mon 11-Dec-17 17:45:03

Do you realistically have time to do it? How many hours per week would it need? Do you have that?

liminality Mon 11-Dec-17 17:55:25

I feel like there are a couple options. Can you reduce the study load from a full-time loading to a part-time? (You definitely could in Australia but I don't know how your system works where you are).

Can you defer for 6 months - just pause while you gain confidence and get used to your new job. When you are are learning a new role and trying to study at the same time as well as raise a kid and god-forbid have a social life - that sounds like a lot on your plate and it is totally legit to pull back a bit.

I suspect that once you know your way around the job, doing a few hours study a week won't be so onerous.

I went back to uni in my thirties and it has changed my career prospects. That said, I really, really struggled immediately occasionally from mental overload when I was juggling too much - it made me feel like death annd giving up. Twice during my double degree I had to drop down to one subject a semester to survive, it meant I could keep plodding towards my goal but focus on other things (like getting my head on straight!)

Talk to the uni, find out if there are other options for you. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Let your new boss know you are struggling with the workload and want to ease off a bit while you wrap your head around the position.

Thickasmince Mon 11-Dec-17 17:57:20

Theoretically, I have the time. But right now, I’m already often staying late in the office to catch up on work I can’t keep on top of, be it due to travelling between sites, meetings, covering the admin from my old role, or the 4 hours a week I use to go to class.

Don’t get me wrong, my boss is lovely and says to me on my uni day, shut the door and get ready for uni, but that doesn’t get my paid work done, so I don’t really.

By the time I get home, I’m shattered, but have mum stuff to do, before I can think about studying. And then when I do, it just doesn’t go in or engage me enough.

sweatylemon Mon 11-Dec-17 18:05:22

I am 50, and am going to embark on a work related MA next year. Actually purely for the love of the subject rather than because it will bring me long term financial reward.
Having the MA will give me some self respect and recognition within my Industry.
I didn't actually do a BA, but have had 20+ years of industry experience behind me, and hold some other relevant qualifications.
I hope I can do this, along with 3 kids and running a business, it will be part time though.
Keeping my fingers crossed

deepestdarkestperu Mon 11-Dec-17 18:08:19

I regret going to university. I've never used my degree in any job, and now if I want to go back and do something else, I can't afford to.

Thickasmince Mon 11-Dec-17 18:10:13

Liminality I went to the uni today to study and see my lecturer (took annual leave), with the view to asking him if that was an option, dropping this module, but he doesn’t go in on a Monday, apparently.

I have an assignment to be in for this third module to be in this week, and I’ve left it too late. I’ve done the previous two, one I did really well in, and one that I knew was pretty limp, but I passed. I was up til 2 in the morning doing them because I just don’t ah e the self discipline to do it all.

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