Stephi LaReine studio


University Isn't The Only Option

Other Ways To Achieve Your Dreams Without University

Everyone is getting their A-Level results in, and I'm perfectly familiar that a lot of young adults read this blog, so I thought I'd ease your minds into knowing that there are other options in life beside university. I graduated last November from a BA in Photography & Graphic Design and often reflect on my time throughout and whether it was worth the debt, hassle and did I gain any knowledge from it. Higher education isn't for everyone, and when I say it I mean that it's pointless for the dreams of some to undertake an expensive career path that isn't directly informing their practice. The debt is one thing, but are the skills you've learnt worthwhile out in the real world. I'm talking about the pro's and con's of university to better inform your own decisions. 

Live & Learn Art Print Quote

Take A Breather & Strategise

Would I have been in the same position if I had not have attended university? I think I might have. I never regret for one moment going to university as it gave me the skills and confidence to jump into the real world and find my own path in life. As many of you know I created this blog throughout my first year of university, and actually spent more time in my second year developing this blog than I did care about uni. My third year was dominated by my final degree show as that was the year I found the spark of creativity. My sister is going through a very similar situation, by the time she got to the end of her second year she had a crisis of confidence in her skills, but luckily big ol' sister here was cool to help her out, we both studied the same course so I knew exactly what she had coming. So here's me being the big sister to anyone currently in university - its going to be okay! 

Losing A Few Feathers Won't Stop You From Flying

But to the people who are currently deciding their path in life, take a breather and really think about how university will benefit you? Will it open new financial doors? Will it give you skill sets that are required in the line of work you want to pursue? These sound like daunting questions, as at such a young age you're pressured into deciding the rest of your life and what you intend to do with it. This is why people have gap years, and internships - they go on the path of self discovery to find out what they want to do. You've been in education for years, and only just forming into a complete adult, most people don't know what they like, as all their time was dedicated to their A-Levels. So sit down, think for a while whether its worth the choice. 


What The Career Advisor Never Told People

I intended to do a Masters in Photography but I'd never had a supposed "gap year", I leaped from stages of education into my full time blog. I said to my parents "give me a year, just some space for clarity" and within a week I knew that I made the right decision, giving myself time to become a person, and learn to love the career world that we're often told is big and scary. I still intend to go back to my decision as after university you're given all these amazing skills and creativity but unless you're freelance you usually can't actually put them into practice, so you go back to pursue a few more years of getting that creativity out your system so your practice has progressed. 

It must seem odd that I'm jumping between opinions, because on one hand some of the most successful people in the world never had any qualifications to their name, or flunked school. But on the other hand university does teach a lot.

What a careers advisor will never EVER tell you is that qualifications aren't actually everything in life. It's fun to stroll up on stage with your hat and gown to collect a very expensive piece of paper you've worked yourself so hard for over 3 years. But frankly, it's true...if I already had the skills I wouldn't need to attend uni. The internet is an extremely powerful tool, so if you need to learn a skill set, google it. I've learned more fundamental and realistic skills in the creative industry through exploration and research than I did throughout my three years. 



Would Chanel Do It Art Print


Consider Self Education To Suit Your Lifestyle

There will be some, that wanted to go to university but didn't quite get the grades they wanted, which is also fine. You're only human, and we all make mistakes. But take this opportunity to think up a strategy as to whether your dream career path can be achieved in another way. Self education can be equally as beneficial, and there's plenty of online courses that will give you access into the industry you want to fufill. Experience is much more insightful than a piece of paper saying you've got a qualification. 

The majority of jobs these days only require a few basic skill sets that can be workshopped through shadowing, interning or through personal endeavours. People skills and IT skills are usually at the top of every job requirement as it's important to deal with others and there will usually be some sort of documentation thats to be filled out. I know plenty of people who ditched university to set up their own companies, all they required (for themselves) was to do a short online business course, some even read the most basic of books and used their own intuition to figure out their path in life. 

In my line of work, all I needed was a creative eye to achieve what I wanted. In all honesty my attendance throughout university was terrible, I'd go weeks without seeing my peers because I wanted to figure out everything for myself - it defeats the object of paying for higher education but I think I'm one of the few that education didn't quite correlate with. I'm incredibly independent and function perfectly fine like that, that's my workflow, no distractions just indulging in pure knowledge at my own pace. It's difficult in the creative industry as there's no button to start and stop the creative flow, you live in that moment and do everything you can before you hit a wall where no inspiration is coming. University wasn't very kind to that, as their regimented rules didn't match my hours for when I felt creative. I was incredibly nocturnal and if my course was available throughout 9pm-3am that would have suited me very nicely. 



Choose Happiness

So digest what I learnt from my experiences and inform yourself as to whether it would suit your kind of person, lifestyle and aspirations. We're all unique snowflakes and must tailor our lives to suit being happy. 

Because for most of your life you will be in a job, so choose to be happy. Choose to get up every morning feeling revved up for the upcoming day. Choose finding what gives you hustle, and what your mark on the world will be. So whether you got good results or bad results take time to think what will make you happy right now. Careers can change as quickly as the wind so it's not always forever, but it's nice to know whatever skills you take from self-education or higher education will always benefit you and your dreams.