Today I wanted to talk about something so many students go through each year, and that is making the choice of either going to university, or applying for an apprenticeship. Obviously, I am a university student, and I will of course tell you the benefits of studying at university, and I have never had an apprenticeship before, so I won’t be able to give you any first hand information about that. However, I know some people who have done apprenticeships who definitely think it was the best decision for them!
So, my family has always been “pro university”, as I like to call it. Ever since I was little, I thought that the system went something like this: Primary school, high school, sixth form/college, university, job. It was only when I was about 14 years old that I started to realise that this wasn’t the only option. It may sound awful of me, but I viewed apprenticeships in a really negative light at this point, because I thought it was something that people would do if they “weren’t good enough” or “smart enough” for university. THIS IS NOT TRUE! University is not for everyone, and just because you don’t go, it doesn’t have any affect on your intelligence. At the end of the day, you have to make a decision that is right for you, and only you- not your parents, or your teachers, or your friends.
University is expensive, but I would say that from my experience so far, it has been worth the money. I am grateful that my parents have been able to be in a position where they can support myself, my twin sister and my brother (who is a year older than me) during our time at university- especially because they have three children at university at the same time for two years. Next year it will just be me and my sister! Not everyone is in a position to afford that, and although it’s good to get loans from the government, you are going to have to pay it back. Which is where the benefits of doing an apprenticeship come in. You are earning money, and you are getting experience in a full time job and learning what it’s like to work in that environment.
I think a lot of people think that university is for people who know what they want to do with their lives. This is not the case, especially not for me, anyway! Yes, medical students know that they want to become a doctor, and the same goes for nursing students or journalism students, or anyone doing a teaching degree. But this is also the case for people doing apprenticeships. People are getting work experience in things like plumbing, for example, because this is something that interests them and that is what they want to do. I know a couple of people who work in their local council- it started as an apprenticeship, and eventually they were both offered full time jobs.
If someone asked me if I regret going to university, I would say absolutely not. I always knew university was “my thing”, and I always wanted to go. Although I used to have a negative view on apprenticeships when I was younger, I definitely think they are really good, but it’s just not for me. If you are in a position where you are stuck between choosing university or an apprenticeship, try working out the pros and cons of both. Ask for advice- teachers and parents are usually a good go-to, but if your school is anything like mine, my teachers were very pro-university so if you do ask them, maybe just say that you want an non-bias viewpoint?
There is nothing wrong with changing your mind. If you do an apprenticeship and then find there is a university course that really sparks your interest, then it’s fine for you to go and pursue that, and vice versa. Remember, this is your life, and it’s your choice.
I hope this post helped anyone who is struggling to make this important decision! Let me know in the comments if you have experienced going through this, and how you went about it!