In this article we hear from two people who made different decisions after leaving school. I decided to start full time employment. My guest in today’s post, Lizzie, went to university.
To read the post on Lizzie’s blog, click here.
Lizzie (university): Hey! My name is Lizzie and I run TheLifeOfLizzie blog. I created this blog as a space to collect my ideas and thoughts, from my experience of working at a summer camp in the USA, to helping students (similar to me) find their way through their University years with advice and personal experiences!
I am originally from North Wales, however I study Events Management at University in Liverpool. I found through University that I love marketing and have recently been doing some online courses during lockdown. I also love travelling, meeting new people and flamingos!
Kate (employment): Hi! I’m Kate, the creator of honeyandwatch. I completed sixth form, but never felt university was right for me! Instead, I decided to go into full time employment with a recruitment agency. I’m now in my early twenties, I’ve had a couple of different jobs and feel like I’ve been on such a journey. Now I’ve started my blog I think I’ve finally found something I’m passionate about!
Table of Contents
What We Learnt About Friendships
Lizzie (university): I have recently learnt massively about my personal friendships, as during my first year of University my high school friends were not as present in my life. With all of us being in sixth form together, we created such a close bond, even going on a ‘girls holiday’!
However, with each and everyone of us going to University all over the UK in September 2018, we went out separate ways as our lives were all types of crazy, with new experiences. I recognised this throughout my first year, and it took me until lockdown (through the famous ‘Zoom’ calls) to realise that I needed to get back on track with creating these bonds again.
These friendships (from sixth form) are the ones that you need to focus on when going to University as they can get lost with everything else going on and all the NEW friendships that you will make.
Kate (employment): I have learnt that friends are much more difficult to make when you leave education. In school, you are assigned classes and these people just automatically become your friends. In the workplace, it is expected that you don’t become friends and that you remain professional.
Also, you’re often surrounded by people who are a different age to you, so you don’t have as much in common. However, this means that when you do connect with someone, the friendship is always really great!
What’s good about leaving education is that if you don’t like someone, you can literally cut them out of your life. At school, you have to be there by law, so you’re stuck with the people around you. Now, I have the freedom to get rid of negative influences from my life.
What We Learnt About Relationships
Lizzie (university): Relationships are all over the place at University. New ones forming and others disappearing. Once I started University, I found that I wanted to create as many relationships as possible with different people, these being friends, classmates, lecturers and many more!
Throughout my two years there so far, some of these relationships have stayed with me (and I am ever grateful for) and others I have drifted apart from, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Just people going their separate ways!
I now have a boyfriend too from University, exciting I know! University is the place where you are most likely going to make everlasting relationships with others, so I have learnt so far to make the most of this time, be confident and meet as many people as possible!
Going into full time work was a great opportunity to mix with a diverse range of people.
I had never really mixed with people who were a different age to me or who had different upbringings. So although I would say my net amount of people I socialize with has decreased, the quality and learning experiences from who I socialise with has definitely become much richer!
The way you date changes when you leave education. It’s definitely harder to meet people because you spend most of your time at work, and it’s advised that you try to avoid workplace romances.
I find that it is much easier to find quality people to date. When you work full time, if a guy doesn’t make an effort to plan ahead and ‘book in’ dates with you, then you don’t really waste too much time on them. Often, you are just too tired or busy to put up with men who are not organized.
What We Learnt About Finances
Lizzie (university): This is a tricky subject for a student at University. Initially, I had saved my money for when I started University as it was a new experience and I did not know what I was going to spend! I learnt the hard way from being in my overdraft one to many times, that I needed to balance my spending with my earnings in my University job.
I personally did not take out a maintenance loan, meaning I worked to live. Getting a job at University definitely helped in becoming more independent and allowed me to go out with friends as I had the money to do so. Although, my job was irregular with the hours it gave, meaning I sometimes struggled with balancing my money.
Finances at University is a lesson that we all need to learn and balance ourselves, in our own different ways.
These lessons have stuck with me throughout my University years so far and will be used when I purchase my own house and balance money with my future career. This will hopefully will be the same for you guys too!
Kate (employment): When you first start working full time and your earnings go up drastically, it feels amazing! But then, you soon realise that life is much more expensive than you think. Especially when you consider the car you need to get to your job and all the other expenses.
However, it does give you a good opportunity to save money. You just have to be careful not to go wild when you see that first month of full-time salary.
I can now afford to go on holiday or buy a treat with the money out of my own pocket. You can enjoy things you’ve paid for with your own hard work so much more than things paid for from your parents or a loan. Although this has come at the expense of giving up the ‘university lifestyle’, and perhaps not having as much fun on a day to day basis, I think the decision was definitely right the right thing for me.
What We Learnt About Opportunities
Lizzie (university): The opportunities are endless at University and all I am going to say is, get involved in them all. Volunteering, joining societies, meeting employers from local businesses and getting involved in student events, are a couple of opportunities that you can immerse yourself in.
These have widened my experiences that I have had in the world so far, especially with the experience of travelling and working in a summer camp in the USA. Some of the opportunities I got involved with, meant I had to be proactive myself, by researching the city and actively talking to different people to get my foot in the door.
However, others were given through the University themselves (due to their connections within the city), such as guest speakers attending lectures of mine, in which they offered opportunities instead. Despite this, I would not just wait until the opportunities arise themselves but go search for them in the meantime! It could lead to amazing things!
Kate (employment): When it comes to your career, it’s easy to become stagnated. Most bosses do not want to push you to move on and achieve better things. It’s really hard to judge how long you need to stay in a job to learn everything that you can, and when it’s time to leave to find something better.
You must take every single opportunity you can when it comes to your career. The world of employment can be competitive, meaning every little extra thing on your CV is great.
Also, you learn that things never go as planned. You may think you have your career path planned out, but as you meet people, opportunities you never expected often spring out of nowhere! Therefore, I think it’s important to have a plan, and have determination, but also be open to changes and new experiences.
What We Learnt About Ourselves
I would say this is the biggest area that I have learnt about. Myself. Sounds cheesy I know, but I have learnt so much about myself as a whole throughout my two years at University so far. I have grown in independence, confidence, and happiness.
Lockdown has allowed me to reflect on my time at University, giving me time to calm down and refocus. At University I would work and live my life to the full, always trying to keep myself busy and make the most of my time, however I would always feel as if this were not enough. I wanted to do more and make the most of every opportunity that came my way. I have learnt that this is not always a good thing.
I should take time for myself, regain my energy, and focus on the most important opportunities that I will gain the most from, in the long term. This is something I still need to work on and will aim to do so throughout my final year at University in September!
Kate (employment): I’ve surprised myself with how confident I can be. I went through my weird emo phase at school, and when I got teased, I changed myself to do everything I could to fit in. One of my favorite things about being out of education is that I can be my authentic self, and if people do not like it, I don’t have to keep them in my life.
I’ve also surprised myself with how determined I could be. I feel like I was a bit of a floater in school, I was never appallingly bad at anything, but grades just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t feel motivated.
I’ve learnt that I’m the type of person that once I have my sights set on a goal, I’ll do anything to achieve it. Whether this be passing my driving test, starting my own business, running 5k or getting that promotion, I know that these things motivate me so much more than grades ever could.
When choosing whether to go to university, it’s important to consider what path is best for you and your ambitions.
Hopefully this article has given you a little bit of insight into the different choices!
Let us know in the comments below if you found this post useful!