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Degrees do not equal success

Degrees do not equal success

I’ve been battling over whether or not to actually write this post because I don’t want to undermine anyone’s hard work or struggle in getting their degree. I couldn’t do it, that’s for sure, but i feel like i have to let people know that it’s okay to not want a university degree or not feel suited to education; you can still be successful without going.

I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself successful quite yet, but i am slowly climbing the ladder of my industry and I’m doing so without a degree. I’ve always wanted to be a poster child for “you don’t have to go to uni!” and my mum proudly tells everyone she comes across that I don’t have a degree – it’s about time i rant proudly to everyone on here.

I’ve already written about uni and why i chose not to go, but to summarise – i hate being taught. I dislike being in education and being forced to learn, pretty much. I thrive more in settings where i learn by accident or where i teach myself. The thought of uni also gave me a lot of unnecessary anxiety and honestly? I didn’t think a degree was worth risking my mental health over.

Making this choice was both a happy and a sad moment. Happy because i was so relieved that I didn’t have to go. Sad because i had no fucking clue what to do next. And i think a lot of people feel like that – if they don’t go to uni, what else are they gonna do?

I chose to go down the Apprenticeship route. Until i did one of my own, i thought Apprenticeships were just for the trades. Joining, building, plumbing – all good career choices but not for me. I stumbled across some modern apprenticeships in more relevant industries – IT, business management and, bingo, digital marketing. And then my life just fell into place.

Just kidding, i grafted for about 7 months, had a lot of shit interviews and some heartbreaking rejections before i found my place. Then i worked my little butt off to complete the coursework as quickly as i possibly could, and moved on to a permanent position in the same place i did my apprenticeship.

Having a blog is probably the main reason why i’ve been so successful so far. I was accepted onto the Apprenticeship scheme almost immediately & was offered the job where i completed my Apprenticeship on the spot. If you have a blog, for the love of god put it on your CV. You have no idea how helpful it could end up being!

Treating your blog like a business means you’re already savvy in terms of social media growth, SEO and good copywriting – all things needed in a Digital Marketer. Anything you learn on your Apprenticeship can also be applied to your blog, and vice versa. It’s the best of both worlds. #hannahmontanagang

Being kept on in the same place was massively helpful – although completing my qualification gave me a sense of “wow what can i move onto next?!”, i definitely was not ready. So, i gave it another year and then hit a slump.

I started to spiral pretty quickly when i realised a lot of the jobs i was looking at required a degree or several years more experience. For a while, i felt so hopeless that i considered wasting 4 years of my life at uni getting a degree I didn’t want and, deep down, didn’t think i needed.

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Turns out, timing is everything. You wont get lucky on your first check, or even your fifth check. I checked job sites and agencies consistently for a few months before something that sounded ideal came up. And the best part is, i interviewed for it and i got it. Not to brag, but it was the first interview i did after deciding i wanted a change.

I’m now at a stage where I’ve been making substantial money for a few years. Had i gone to uni, i would be leaving this year and likely starting on the wages that i was on whilst completing my apprenticeship. I’m gaining more experience all the time and I’m extremely happy with the route I’ve taken.

University wont be for everyone, and I’m thankful that its easier nowadays to find another way to climb the career ladder. My parents have always been supportive and i think society is starting to change as well; more and more people are starting to choose alternative options which will result in more companies ending their “must have a degree” descriptions.

I feel really proud of myself and I’m not ashamed to admit that. My new job opens up a whole new side of digital marketing which was previously unavailable – I’ll have set targets, i can be a bit more fun with what i post and get to really tap into my creativity. It’s my dream job and i have to pinch myself all the time. I did it! I got here all by myself.

What is your proudest achievement?

View Comments (6)
  • I went to Uni for communications for 4 years, graduated last year, and am now 9 months into a digital marketing job. Personally, I don’t think university taught me that much, and looking back, I think I perhaps would have learned more in a 2-year college course as those are more hands-on. But my parents pushed school on me and University is, in Canada at least, seen as the better option. One thing I think it, as any type of schooling does, is show potential employers that you’re willing to learn, able to complete things, and that you have some training in that field. An employer may for that reason choose me and my degree over someone without one, even if I have less experience…or so my parents like to say…
    I think in our field, yes, it’s possible to climb the ladder without a degree. Blogging, volunteering, reading online are all great hands-on ways to learn the new skills, so I congratulate you for doing so. But it’s not an option in all fields, and I think that’s an important thing to consider when young people are thinking about their future and the options schooling can give.

    • I agree with everything you’ve said! A degree/further education does show dedication and willingness to learn – I’d like to think my Apprenticeship qualification can show the same, just on a smaller level. I picked an industry that I believed I could work my way up in, it won’t be the same with every career and a lot of them you need a degree for because there’s no other way to learn. Like nursing, there’s too much at stake to learn on the job. I tend to advise knowing what you want to do first, instead of writing off university as an option. Knowing what you want to do is the key to making the decision 🙂

  • Love this! I went to uni for a year and left because I didn’t feel like I was learning enough to warrant the cost of it. Afterwards I got an apprenticeship and the company paid for my degree, so I was doing full time work and uni together.

    I feel like I learnt a lot more from my job than I did at uni but I still learnt bits that have stuck with me.

    I think it depends on the person and if you can make it in this world without racking up thousands in debt then more power to you!

    Congratulations on all your achievements!

    Kim xx

    • I feel like i would’ve hated it too much and didn’t think a degree would be worth the misery….I got a qualification with my apprenticeship but it’s more like a helping hand into university than an actual degree. I don’t mind though – it shows i’ve done some learning with Digital Marketing and everything else I’ve picked up along the way!

      It’s absolutely dependent on the person and what they want to do – some career paths only have one way, through university! I think it takes a lot nowadays to stand up and admit you don’t want to go to university, because the other options are still so hidden away. I’m hoping this post will be the start of a conversation about not going! xx

  • I can relate to everything you’ve said in this post and it’s definitely something we all need to talk about more. So many people could save time, money and stress if they knew there were options other than university!

    Katy |

    • Definitely!! I’d never tell someone not to go to university but it’s so important to check out what other options you have, which schools do a really bad job of informing you about.

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