Most of you have probably read in the last week or so the huge drop in successful University entries for 2010 in comparison to previous years. Working with three students who just got their A-level results bought it all back to me; the nerves, that envelope that doesn’t seem to open because of your shaking hands, reading the information far too quickly to actually process the grades you’ve achieved. It was that day back in 2006 that I knew I was headed to Lincoln University to study English and Media in a matter of about three weeks. Even though I did enjoy my time at Uni, I for one wish I had slammed on those brakes and taken time to think about it more. So I’d like to say for all those guys out there who are unsure… ‘Hooray for the Gap Year!!’ Lord knows I wish someone had told me that.
I can hardly complain too much, three years of horrendously boozing, socialising and roughly 15 hours contact time a week wasn’t exactly tricky. However, my main regret was that I wish I had know more about who I was then; I look back now and think ‘Geez I was an idiot and so very very young!’ Maybe that’s the whole charm of going to Uni sooner rather than later in that you’re thrown out into the wilderness all alone and are forced to give a cold hard stare at who you want to be and what kind of impression you want to give of yourself to all these strangers. Granted I did love my course (eventually) and if I had waited I probably would have chosen the exact same thing. But looking back I now value a little life experience more than being thrown into Uni at the tender age of 18 and 3 months with not a clue.
If I could do it all again, I’d take my brother’s path. (Pretty sure he’s got a grin on his face now, yes a special mention James!) Once finishing A-levels and getting accepted into all those Uni’s, my brother took a second to realise that wasn’t entirely what he wanted to do. So, for the past six years, he’s been working and travelling and gaining more experience than most people do in a lifetime, and all before his 24th birthday. Whilst it may not be an academic achievement, he’s probably got a lot more sense in that little noggin of his than he did when he’d just finished sixth form. And now in 2010, my big brother is packing up his life and heading to get his degree, in a completely unrelated subject to his first choice back in 2004. Now, is it just me or does that sound like a much more appealing option? Granted he has been very lucky to be able to afford the things he has done. I know a few people that are forced to go to Uni if they have the grades because it’s just more financially stable than trying to get a decent full time job right now. (Did I just call being a student financially stable?!)
I’m sure there are thousands out there who just cannot wait to get on that student booze train and I know for sure they’ll have the time of their lives. But I wish that I had been a bit more world-savvy when I enrolled. In such a case, I would have had more of an idea of what I wanted out of Uni rather than just going for the sake of it along with the tidal wave of other hopeful teenagers. I think just having more of a sense of who you are, what kind of people you want to socialise with and what you value as important would help a lot of people really make the most out of University, more so than students straight from school who hardly have time to think about it outside of what kind of cutlery they want to bring with them.
So lesson learnt. And whilst I try and live my gap year now after I’ve finished my degree, it’s just not quite the same. With my education under my belt the expectation is that I need a steady job as soon as possible and I’m just not there yet, as you might have read in my previous posts. Only one conclusion I can come to I guess; life experience here I come, sorry I’m a little late.