There is so much pressure and stigma around university. You’re meant to be super extraverted and sociable during freshers. Your degree should progress your career. You should love the subject you study. And uni should be the best 3 or 4 years of our life. But what if this isn’t true.
This is going to be quite a deep and personal chat about my experience of university as an introvert and my thoughts looking back now I’m in a job completely unrelated to my degree. This is going to be quite a long rambling chat so grab a hot drink and get comfy! Just going to put it out there now- I obviously did enjoy parts of university and I have gained things that I know will help me in life- it’s not all moaning!
I struggled with the social side of uni from the beginning. I’m a very introverted person- I need to spend time on my own and I struggle to be confident with people I don’t know yet. I’m also definitely not a night owl- I would much rather go to bed early and get up at 6 to go to the gym or blitz my work! My flat mates in halls would invite me out most nights and I’d often make an excuse and watch Netflix on my own for an hour and then sleep at 10pm! I felt like I was antisocial and the only person in my university who didn’t go out every night and stay up until 2am. I now know this isn’t true!
There is a stereotype around uni students that you should be going out and staying up late but there will be plenty of students who’d love a night in sharing a meal together and then go to a morning yoga class. I think it’s important to stay true to yourself at uni and don’t be sucked into doing things just because you think it’s what’s expected!
On the more academic side – it was tough! I studied a subject I thought I loved but the more I studied it, the less I enjoyed it. Studying violin was also something where the more you learnt, the more you realised there is to learn! I went into uni thinking I was a pretty good musician and came out feeling like I’m not good enough for a lot of things.
Coming out of uni, I’d decided music wasn’t what I wanted to do full time. I still teach a little bit and freelance at weekends but I went into the fitness industry as a career. Going into a completely different industry, I went into an entry level job that I could have got just as easily before my degree! I was constantly told that it didn’t matter what degree you have and having any degree will help you get a job and progress your career but it soon became apparent to me that most companies take experience over a degree. I know that at some point during career progression there will be high level roles that you cant apply to without a degree but right now I don’t feel I’m using it at all!
On a more positive note – I know I’ve learnt skills through doing a degree that do and will help me in life. To start with, the self motivating and perseverance to stick with a tough course that I knew quite early on I probably wasn’t going to follow as a career. I also know my research, essay writing skills, practise methods and teamwork skills will come in handy at some point!
My advise to my younger self (or anyone deciding soon whether to go to uni or not) would be to hold off if you’re unsure! If I were to do uni again now, I would study nutrition or dietics. I only came to love health, fitness and food while I was at uni so I can’t regret it too much but I wonder if I would’ve still come to that conclusion if I’d taken a coupe of years out to work before I went to uni. I felt a lot of pressure to go straight from 6th form into university and I didn’t really think of a gap year as an option.
University is a topic that everyone talks about in a positive sense and with fond memories and I think it’s important that we talk out honestly and let people know that they are not alone! I’d love to hear your opinion or stories from your university experience!