Why it's okay to put going to university on hold

It’s okay to put going to university on hold

Ahhhh university… The place that highly resembles any other educational institution you’ve already attended. But without your parents’ supervision. And with lots of coffee. To me, it definitely didn’t resemble any of those crazy American movies where students party every weekend making me think I was doing it wrong. And it turned out, that what I was doing wrong was being at uni in the first place. Why? Well, let me tell you about it and explain why it’s okay to put going to university on hold.

It's okay to put going to university on hold

Now, I went to uni myself. More than that, I moved to London for the sole purpose of going to university here. I spent three years stressing out and pulling my hair out of my head, living in the library to finally get a degree I thought I wanted so much. But the moment I got that piece of paper I felt… Lost. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with it or what I have spent three years learning for. Then I got my first full-time job in that field and ended up quitting it when I realised I wasn’t really cut out for that.

And that’s fine.

I mean, I’m not entirely cool about being £30k in debt, but I’ll learn to live with that at some point.

I’m not here to tell you that university is all bad and horrible and you shouldn’t even consider further education because that’s not true. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to choose your path straight after you finish school. I’m here to tell you that…

It’s okay if you’re not ready

I was expected to choose what I wanted to do at the age of 17, apply for the right courses and hope I will never change my mind about the career path I chose. Let’s be honest, not many people will be sure what their ideal role is at that age. Or when they’re 18. 19. Even in their twenties. So why does everyone expect us to make such a big decision when all we want to do is hang out with our friends and stay in PJs all day long? I’d choose an extra episode on Netflix over applying to universities all day back then. I chose my course because I was okay with it. It wasn’t my passion but it seemed alright and I really wanted to move to London. I made my decision for all the wrong reasons and ended up with a degree in one field, while I wanted to work in something completely different. And I really wish someone could have told me back then to think about it a bit more.

Don’t let the world pressure you

And, oh, it will pressure you for sure. We live in a society in which you have to be doing something with your life to be considered ‘of worth‘. Everything feels so rushed – it’s like there are certain time restrictions and age limits by which you need to achieve certain things. By 25 you should already be on a career ladder, ideally with a Masters degree, and fighting your way to the top. By 30 you should have your own house which is only possible (not always) if you’re already halfway through on that career ladder you started climbing years before. It creates so much pressure put on our shoulders at a very young age. And if you’re at uni you’ll probably know that – at least once you looked around your class at the 100+ people and thought “Wow we are all studying to get jobs in the same field. And that’s just ONE uni. The competition is real“. It is. There will always be many people you’ll have to be competing against for a job you want. And to go through all of that, you really need to be passionate about it.

Take time to learn who you are

I know there are so many people out there who have known exactly who they are since they were little. I’ve been more of a child who wanted to be a princess on a Monday but by Friday I dreamt of being a firefighter. Only recently have I started to learn what I actually want from life. I found my dream career and am working towards that. I’m 23 years old and now I know all of that. But it doesn’t mean that it will be the same for everyone. Some people don’t know what they want to do until they’re 30. Or 40. Or any other age. So just because your friends seem to have their life plan figured out, it doesn’t mean you should too. Don’t be afraid to try different things and look within yourself who you really are and what makes you happy. Because once you find that out and work to make a living out of it, you’ll be a lot happier. 

It's okay to put going to university on hold

So if you feel like you’re not exactly sure what you would want to study or what job is for you – take your time. Explore. There are so many opportunities waiting for you, but they will still be there whether you go to university straight after school or not. Don’t be afraid to wait to find the life you want to live.

Until next time xx

What are your thoughts about going to university?

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Read more: 23 things I’ve learnt in 23 years or The 5 things no one tells you about moving to a different city

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28 thoughts on “It’s okay to put going to university on hold”

  1. This is a really important and great post! I really didn’t know what to do after college and I felt like uni was the only thing for me so I went and looking back I’m not sure if it was the right decision for me as my mental health has never been worse but I’m in my fourth and final year now so it’s too late to turn back! Just looking forward to graduating now x

    Chessie | everythingchessie.co.uk 🌿

  2. I totally agree I think everyone is too young when they go to university! I’m not sure at 17/18 you can know yourself well enough to pick a path for the rest of your life! I’m so happy with my degree but I’m not sure I’d have picked the same if I’d have waited x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿www.kayleighzaraa.com

  3. This is a great post full of amazing advice! When I look back at when I was 17, there are so many things I wish I had known about choosing a career and applying for schools. It’s crazy to expect people to have to make that decision at such a young age! Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    A- simplylovely90.com

  4. I love this post! It’s definitely made me think, I did go to university but with no clear plan of what I wanted to do. My career path keeps swapping and changing which I’m okay with. I think I only made university as I was in such small classes, I felt university was such a daunting experience. Some lovely advice here and I hope you help a few people with this subject.

    Gemma | http://www.anoceanglimmer.wordpress.com

    1. Comments under this post make me feel so happy, it’s like a warm hug. Only now I’m actually realising that I’m not the only one with that view on going to university! Keep looking for your perfect career path. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I got my degree last year and I can kind of agree that I felt the same way. Yeah, I got the piece of paper but I was lost. I didn’t get a job in the degree even though I looked and looked. Which made me feel more lost. I mean I still am lost but in a more of a great adventure kind of way.
    I agree that it’s okay not to be ready for higher education. It’s tough and scary and sometimes it’s just not a person’s destiny. Perhaps you have a less conventional future. People just need to be open so I really liked this post.

    1. I really like your comment! I absolutely agree with everything you said. Sometimes, just because you have a degree it doesn’t mean your life will be easier or worth more. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love this post so much and can’t tell you how much I relate! I had a gap year, then went into a university course not knowing what I really wanted but feeling pressured into it, I completed a year, left uni and had two years working, but have now transferred my credits to a different course through the Open University. I felt like I had to go to uni and its so detrimental to go if you’re not sure if its what you really want! Thanks for sharing such a great message- https://sophiehearts.net x

    1. Open University for the win! My boyfriend is doing a course with them now. Everyone is now pressuring me to do masters and I am refusing to make any university related decisions now! It’s so important to make them when you feel 100% ready for it.

  7. I feel so lucky that my parents didn’t push me to go to University when I told them I didn’t feel ready for it. It’s such a shame that there are so many people that are pushed into going when they don’t feel ready for, especially when it comes from the College/School. I remember having to deal with a lot from the head of 6th form when I told them I was going to take a gap year and see what I wanted to do. It does seem so silly to make us decide on what we want to do for the rest of our lives when we are so young. We change so much!


    1. That’s so nice of your parents to accept your choice! There’s way too much stress put on people when they’re so young – there will be plenty of stress later in adult life anyway! Why start so early?

  8. I myself put off going to uni and decided to take a gap year after having a panic attack in a hot tub because I had got into uni and I didn’t actually want to go! So I took a gap year and waited until I was ready. I feel there’s a lot of pressure to do well in uni so you can have a great career but I find that’s not the case! You can do well without even going to uni- great post!xx

    1. I agree with that! There’s so many successful people out there who didn’t go to university! Or went to uni but are doing something completely unrelated to what they actually studied.

  9. I recently wrote a post on this for the growing up guide and I honestly think the pressure to go to uni straight from school is so big that you end up going without truly knowing who you are or what you want to do! I left after my first year and I’ve spent time trying a variety of jobs and I am so so glad I did. Great post lovely, you made some really key points I think will help alot of people <3

  10. Although everyone wanted me to go to university, I made the decision that it wasn’t for me because I didn’t feel like I could have dealt with it, mentally or physically.. 🙈 You have to do what’s right for you, regardless of what other people think and what other pressures are on you.. 🖤

    Andi | http://www.andthenzen.co.uk

  11. I felt like I was pushed by everyone around me to pick a university and just go for it straight after college and I ended up dropping out halfway through second year because it was way too much for me and I realised I didn’t even want to do it anymore! I totally agree with everything you’ve said in this post, everyone feels the need to rush into these things when we don’t need to at all.
    Alice Xx

  12. I’m so glad that you’ve figured out your dream career! It’s so important to take your time and not rush into things! Although I know a lot of people who have gone to university to study something “safe” and not because they’re passionate about it. For me personally the problem is that there’s so many things I’d like to study and I have no idea what I should go for! I mean I’ve wanted to be a doctor of some kind ever since I was little but now that I’m older I’m also interested in law, literature, biology and fashion design… Fortunately for me I’m not finished with high school yet so I still have a bit of time to try and decide what I want :)x

    Anu | Based On blog | Bloglovin

  13. I took 4 years off between high school and college and it was quite possibly the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s so important to not let anyone (society included) pressure you to do something you’re not ready to do. Thanks for sharing and giving us this very important reminder!

  14. I was fortunate enough to go through the change of majors when I was still in high school , but I saw so many of my friends suffer with what to do. You’re right, we are too young when we have to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives

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