Since I now have a degree (I’m still not entirely sure how that happened), the whole uni thing has been on my mind recently. It’s also come up in a canny few conversations and I found myself talking to some friends of mine about whether or not it was worth it.
I’m not just talking about the financial cost, though it certainly was expensive, but I also invested four years and a whole load of stress into a piece of paper. There’s a lot to way up and, since I’m a blogger, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the matter on the internet. They might not entirely make sense but I’m going to tell you about them anyway okay? Okay.
So first up, it makes sense to talk about the subject specific stuff. I can happily say that I know a whole lot more about Classical Studies and English than I did before I moved up to St Andrews. If you want to chat gothic literature, curse tablets, or temples, I’m game. But even that took me by surprise. I never intended to take Classical Studies all the way through my four years but somehow I loved it so much that I couldn’t let it go. And I do think it was really beneficial having an interdisciplinary degree. It kept from getting to stuck in an English bubble, and kept me on my toes. It also meant that I got to do something cool and jazzy with my dissertation, which made it a little easier. Even if it wasn’t the degree I intended on taking when I first arrived, it was definitely the right degree combination for me, which was a pleasant surprise.
But really, as cliche as it sounds, my degree taught me a lot more than just how to work with books and old things. My time management and organisational abilities are now something I can be proud of. There’s nothing like trying to a million things at once to make you reassess your productivity tactics. It may have been a steep learning curve, but it was a worthwhile one.
Add all the extra curriculars into the mix and you’ve almost got an adult. This is the stuff that has really helped me to get ready for the real world. It helped me figure out what I wanted to do for a career and gave me the skills to get started on it. I managed to get a whole load of work experience in throughout my four years, which has not only helped me out when it came to interviews but it’s also convinced me that I can do the job. It’s a pretty nice feeling, I’m not going to lie.
It’s also been good on the personal front. A challenge, of course, and one that at times felt insurmountable. But now I feel ready to move to the real world, ready for the next chapter. I made mistakes here, but I also learnt how to stop feeling like every mistake was the end of the world as I knew it. I began to realise that I can push myself a lot further than I ever thought possible and that I’m at lot less breakable than I thought. I can make decisions – sometimes they’re even good ones – and I can step up to the challenges that enter my path. I even feel like an actual adult from time to time. The other day I fixed the internet hub all by myself and everything. But to return to a serious note for a moment, my degree gave me more faith in myself than I ever thought likely. And that’s not a bad thing.
So was it worth the endless student debt? The late nights and early mornings? The endless hours of hard work and frustration? The acceptance of a new home for four years? The evenings spent putting the world to rights with my friends? The pride when it comes to feeling like you know your stuff?