I attended one of the top universities in the UK, a Russel group university to be specific. For those who may not be familiar with this term, a Russel group university is one of twenty-four research intensive universities in the UK.
It was a privilege to attend such a prestige university especially being a female of South asian background. My parents were very pleased for me, and I myself, was proud of my efforts. My university had students from all across the world, and brilliant academics and I can confidently say that my experience was a good one. I lived at home and not on campus as the university wasn’t far from where I lived, and I doubt my parents would have agreed anyway, not that I was fussed. I think the cost of university and the price we pay to receive an education is ridiculous and I wasn’t willing to borrow more loans for student accommodation when I had a cosy home to go back to after a long day of studying.
I was never fussed with obtaining first class honours. It’s not that I didn’t think I was good enough to achieve it or smart enough. Personally for me, gaining a 2.1 would be a huge achievement in itself. In this way, I guess I differed a little from many of my peers who had their eyes set on a first. At the end of the day, getting a first isn’t something that will differentiate you from another peer who studied the same course and obtained a 2.1. Both are great achievements and employers won’t be going around asking ‘so did you get a first or a 2.1’?
I always do wonder where I would be if I hadn’t ended up at university. Maybe, I would’ve successfully launched my own business. Or maybe I would’ve landed myself an apprenticeship that allowed career progression. Or maybe I would’ve spent some time learning practical skills and utilising it to make an income from it.
Sometimes, I do wander if I’m just a statistic: ‘person x is one of 532,300 to enrol into a university in 2015’. But I do understand the importance of minority groups receiving higher education. For so many years, people of BAME background really struggled with reaching higher-educational institutions. To be part of the generation who are now having access to universities on a much greater scale compared to previous generations is definitely a good thing.
Everyone has a different experience at university which can range from the ‘worst years of my life to the ‘best years of my life’. I read an interesting article a few weeks ago. It found that several phd student’s reason for pursuing academia was to prolong their time at university. Being at university does feel like being in a bubble. You’re an adult but you don’t feel like an actual adult and a lot of students enjoy that – having responsibilities but not actual responsibilities.
So that’s just some of my thoughts on university. Let me know if you attended university. If so, did you enjoy it or did you feet like it was a complete waste of time, money and effort? Did you choose a career related to your degree or did you end up in a completely different sector?