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Is University just about ‘getting a degree’?

University: more than a degree? Source: paseidon (via Pixabay)

By Joanna Cunningham

We’ve heard it all before; people, mainly those who didn’t go to university or the older generation, telling us that there’s no point in getting a degree – we should simply go out to work as soon as we can to save up. This is true to a certain extent, as our generation is plagued with a housing crisis we can’t seem to escape, so maybe if we left school at 16 and started saving up for a house, we would all be better off?

However, since I’ve been scouring the internet for post-grad jobs, I’ve more recently realised how important a degree is in accessing a wider array of careers which offer a higher salary. For example, to gain a job in writing articles, I need a bachelor’s degree – they don’t specify in what, they just prefer a degree. So my history degree will obtain a multitude of jobs, simply because of the word ‘bachelor’. It’s a little backwards really, as surely a breadth of experience in writing would set me up a lot better than a degree in history to become a journalist? But it seems we need both.

The question is, am I getting my degree simply due to this underlying discourse of ‘getting a degree’ to obtain a job I am happy with? Yes. Yes I am. Nevertheless, we must remember that, although we often need a degree to gain a good job, I know I picked my degree based on the fact that I love my subject. This is something we often forget – many young adults enjoy learning, and enriching their minds. Indeed, I have certainly enjoyed the extra-curricular activities that have accompanied my university journey, including sports, friends and nightlife, but that makes up only a small part of your university experience.

There is so much to gain from university, not least obtaining a degree you are proud of, and learning skills and information to take on later in life. You gain so much more than this; you gain life experience! Not only have I learnt how to cook interesting and diverse meals for myself and others, I have learnt the importance of money management and staying strong through adversity (and yes, you will experience a lot of this at university). I’ve learnt how to tackle mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, alongside learning empathy for others suffering from these conditions. I have also learnt so much about relationships and sex, and have learnt to be more open-minded in so many aspects of my life.

Before uni, I was a completely different person to who I have become, and I am better off for it. University is so much more than just ‘getting a degree’ – it will shape the person you want to become.

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