University? Apprenticeship? Work? Unsure?
It’s ok to not know what your next step is. Even when I was at University I didn’t know. I didn’t know whether I made the right choice, whether I should have got a job and worked my way up the ladder or if I was good enough for the career I wanted. When leaving College you are guaranteed to have teachers, family, friends, even social media telling you what you should be doing. My clear and blunt advice to you is this: Don’t listen. Leaving Sixth Form, I was young and did what was expected of me; to go to University and leave with a degree. Especially being in a black household, University is seen as the only choice, as if it makes you elite. I always wondered what my life would have been like if I did what I wanted to do.
I strongly advise you to think about what you want to do with your future and work backwards. Sounds strange right? People around you will back off if they know you have a plan in place. For example, if you want to be an English teacher, do your research on what qualifications are needed and what routes you can go down. There’s always more than one way of getting to the end goal. Talk to other teachers and people within the education sector. University is not the only route for this role. Keeping with the example, you may look into Apprenticeships, Vocational courses, Volunteer work and Internships. Alternatively, you can take a year out and teach abroad (look at Gap 360). Spend time understanding the role and if its truly something you want to do. If you need to take a year out in order to find out what you want, that’s ok; you need to find your feet.
If you are thinking about University, think about the variety of courses around your chosen field. I ended up graduating from a Hospitality course but there were hundreds to chose from, from BA Event Management to BA (Hons) Travel & Tourism; some Universities offer more than others. Picking the right University for you is very important. You need to think about whether you would rather stay at home and commute, move out, go to University or do Open University. There’s so much out there. Whatever you choose, once you settle into it you’ll be looking for a sense of belonging. I went to two Universities. At my first, I was surrounded by people I already knew, loved the nightlife but I was commuting from home and felt no connection to the course or the career possibilities it would provide. When I changed University I found my sense of belonging. I knew no one there but left with new life long friends, lived on campus, got into the different nightlife and environment and loved every moment of it. The University you pick will shape your future however, like me and thousands of others you can transfer and put your studies on hold if you need to.
Be open to all options and opportunities. I’ll repeat again, start with research and stop listening to what everyone else wants from you. Be selfish and focus on yourself; only you can create the path for your future.
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