University – was it worth it?

was_it_worth_it_300_ flickrSometimes you only appreciate the value of something with the passing of time. Putting aside the issue of cost, we asked four former students to look back on their university experience. This is what they said…

My experience at uni was all in all brilliant.The whole experience of leaving home and meeting new people at uni was fantastic and of course, some of the friends I made there are still good friends now. The past few jobs that I have applied for have had a degree as an ‘essential’ requirement – so it’s helped me on that level.  However the biggest benefit is probably having a three-year stepped introduction into the real world and how to survive it and the confidence that that gives you subsequently.

My subjects of study (modern history and English) took a while to have an impact on my working life but they helped me to grow my communications skills – both written and oral which of course has had a huge bearing on my career.”
Michelle Jenkins, Business Development Consultant


“I studied English literature at Sussex University. It was a good experience for many reasons besides the handful of hours a week I spent in seminars. There have been times when I wished I’d studied something else (politics, computer science), but in general a degree that was grounded in literature but rooted in an interdisciplinary context enabled me to pick up a little bit of many things that I’d need along the way. As a career, I fell into doing digital things for museums and archives; and there was no career path for that kind of thing when I studied, because the web barely existed then. Along the way I’ve bumped into many fellow English Lit graduates doing work in the digital sphere. I think a loose spirit of communication and generosity connects the two worlds.”
Danny Birchall, Digital Manager, Wellcome Collection


“For me, university was one hundred percent worthwhile. On a personal level, I loved spending three years immersing myself in a fascinating subject, I made lifelong friends – including my now husband! – and also gained independence and confidence.  When I left university, although I did not know exactly what I wanted to do, I did have a clearer idea of what I found interesting and what options were out there.

Although my degree subject, history, has not been directly related to my career, the skills I learnt have: writing clearly to deadline, research, proofing, arguing a point based on evidence, and backing it up in debate have all been transferable into writing marketing communications, justifying strategic marketing spend and being able to present myself to, and debate with, senior colleagues at work.”
Katie Whitlock, Marketing Manager


“The university experience for me was great. Getting away from home and having independence and making friends for life. Civil and structural engineering degree isn’t really what I am doing now but is such a solid and respected degree. University for me was just as much about life skills as academia. It is difficult to know at 17 years old what you actually want or are going to be any good at.  Studying isn’t the end of it, though the expectation is that it will be. Learning on the job is more important and thankfully my experience prepared me for this.”
Ruth Holmes, Project Sponsor


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Should I go to university?