OK, everybody's experience with university is different. But for someone who had no idea what to with their life and gained pretty average A Levels in August 2015, university was a step too far. That person was me, and it's one of the reasons why I decided to do an apprenticeship.
In case you didn't know (if you don't I'm very disappointed), apprenticeships are courses that enable you to work full-time whilst also studying for a qualification. Put simply, you earn whilst you learn.
My interest in apprenticeships began in 2014 when my sixth form college did an open day for universities/employers, who set up their stalls & began socialising with the other students - handing out various prospecti and freebies. I remember sitting on the floor with most of my college friends staring endlessly at these massive booklets, nothing registering in my mind, whilst simultaneously scoffing at the high prices of the courses and tuition fees.
I also didn't really know what I wanted to do in life. I loved music and art, but I had no idea how to take that forward. So the best option was to start from the bottom and work up… I also didn't know how to approach that either. Fun times!
Fast forward to the day after I left college, and Google became my closest friend as I looked for entry level jobs and did career tests to try and find a substantial job to keep me occupied for the next year.
I looked at apprenticeships at this time as an option just in case as I sort of doubted that I would do well being flung head first into a full time job with no prior experience. That was when I discovered the Projects Assistant Apprenticeship on the Gov.uk website, offering a Level 3 qualification in Community Arts Management! I hastily sent over my CV & cover letter, waited a few weeks, got an interview, got the job!
That was 2 years ago.
Being an apprentice has really given me the step forward that I really needed - I gained more confidence, I became more computer literate, I made friends (despite my misanthropic attitude), I brushed up on my social skills, and I received a fantastic qualification.
"I wanted to get on with my life, not spend it constantly 'preparing' for it."
I've never been to uni, but I can tell you that having this kind of experience was far better personally than studying for a degree. I wasn't ready for uni, so if I did get into university (somehow) I would've lasted no more than 5 seconds. That massive jump from living with parents 100% of the time and never really going out to see friends, to hastily writing essays and meeting deadlines whilst having to get a part time job to be somewhat financially stable and awkwardly trying to socialise with strangers would've killed me.
I'd like to think that I'm a lot more ready than I was for uni, but working full time has been so beneficial that I don't think I'll be applying anytime soon. I had spent so much of my youth studying for the sake of it; I began to find it dull. I wasn't enjoying life, and quite frankly got fed up of comparing myself to my other peers' career paths. I wanted to get on with my life, not spend it constantly 'preparing' for it.
My apprenticeship allowed me to do something completely different with my life, and I gained something incredibly important. There's no way I'm regretting this.