25 June 2012

10 Reasons Why You Should Go To Uni

I am still coming to terms with the end of my university life while my little sister prepares to embark on her own university adventure this coming September. She will, unfortunately, be part of the first batch of students forced to pay £9000 a year in tuition fees. I was therefore a little shocked to find out that on top of these disgustingly high fees, that she had chosen to attend a London university, therefore increasing the additional debt that will be accumulated due to higher maintenance loans in order to accommodate for London's living expenses. 

Talking about her decision and if she had realised the extra debt she was getting herself into, it became quite apparent that she had not even thought about it. She then panicked about the money and about going to uni altogether. So I then found myself back tracking and telling her that she must go to uni because it was the best thing that I had ever done! Perhaps it is a good thing that she has approached it this way and just followed her heart in what she wants to do...

I'm sure that the majority of future applicants will be pondering whether or not it is worth racking up a £40000+ debt for 3 years of study. My answer? Yes, it is. If it were me having to do it all over again at £9000 a year, I would accept my place in a heart beat, pack my bags and be on my way. Here are my 10 reasons why:

1. 'Because I want to, because I want to,' (in the words of Billie Piper). There was nothing that I wanted more when I left college than to go to university. I wanted it so bad I would have cut off my right arm, re-attached it to my body then cut it off again, just to get my place. Nothing was going to stop me from going. I had no interest to travel, to work or save money (I'd saved everything I'd earned during College anyway...) I was going to uni and that was that. A round the world ticket would not have swayed my mind. If you really want to go, you should just go. 

2. It's exciting. A new city, a new subject (in my case at least, I had never touched Philosophy until entering the doors of Kent Uni),  a new home and new friends.

3. A new found independence, way of life and way of studying. It is all so different and you cannot know that difference until you experience it first hand. It is a great way to experience leaving home for the first time and living with other people who, hopefully, will become life long friends and really make for a great uni experience.

4. It's a confidence builder. I was so ridiculously shy when I went to uni, the idea of simply meeting new people, let alone living with them, made me feel sick to the pit of my stomach. I remember my first night alone at uni and I was certain that I would either vomit in front of my house mates or have a nervous break down, there and then. How you grow as a person at uni is amazing; the social skills that I learnt and the confidence boost that it gave me, I will be eternally thankful for. The person I was then is a shadow of my current self and it is such a relief to no longer have that anxiety hanging over my head.

5. Chances to travel. You don't just have to be studying a foreign language to spend a year or a semester abroad. My year in France was one of the toughest of my life, but it was also amazing at the same time. I got some great work experience, met yet more wonderful people and was able to make a final career decision on reflection of my time there. Living in another country for a prolonged period of time is an invaluable experience. If given the chance, you should grab it with both hands and run. 

6. Money isn't everything. There is no point in earning lots of money if you don't spend a little once in a while and enjoy yourself. I feel the same about my uni debt. Yes, it makes me want to weep sometimes when I think of its magnitude, but oh my, it was so worth it. You have to spend money to make money and uni is not too dissimilar. It is an investment in your future. Even if the fees had stayed the same for the next generation, the debt would have still been pretty overwhelming. Don't forget that. Forget the 'then and now' price comparisons and focus on what makes it worthwhile for you.

7. Work then study. If money is really holding you back from applying or accepting your offers, defer for a year and work to save some money. This could lessen your debts slightly if you're able to use your savings a little and not rely solely on the highest loan available to you. But, also remember that the interest you earn is extremely low, you only have to start repayments once you earn over a certain threshold and even then, it is only 9% of what you earn above that threshold. (A slight dent in your wage packet at most). 

8. Are you really ready to start your working life at 18? Okay, so not everybody goes to uni at 18, some do go later. But personally, I was just not anywhere near ready to leave education at 18. Heck, I'm 22 and the idea of mapping out a fully fledged career still scares the bejesus out of me! Are you ready to join Dolly Parton in her 9-5 or is there something about studying Music, English or Fashion that you are just not ready to let go of yet?

9. So many beautiful cities to choose from. I decided that I didn't want to study at a London based uni due to the extra debt it would give me. But thankfully, there are countless other amazing cities to study in. I think that this kind of consideration is even more important given the debt that will be accumulated through the new, higher tuition fees alone. London will always be there. It is top of my list, along with Brighton, of where I want to live once I finish my journalism course next year. But I want to do it when I start earning, not drown myself in more debt straight away when I can enjoy the beautiful city life any time I want to in the future. London will still be there when I can afford to make the move.

The college I taught at in France.

10. They will be the best years of your life! Seriously. I cannot gush over how brilliant the experience is. The amount of jealousy I feel towards current students is unhealthy. It's not for everybody and by no means a bad thing if you decide it's not for you, but for me, it was everything I hoped it would be. I'd recommend it to anyone.

What I would say to people umming and ahhing over uni is to make sure that you are 100% certain that you have chosen the right subject and, just as importantly, at the right university. Make sure that if you want to study in a particular city that your course is not based at one of their other campuses. It could lead to a great deal of disappointment and take away from the experience.

There is no shame in not going. And there is no shame in changing your mind. It is an awfully brave decision to realise that you have not made the right choice and decide to leave. But, a lot of careful consideration could lead to a very happy uni experience.

Would you still go to uni at the current rate? Are you planning to go in the future? Let me know what you think!

14 June 2012

I Covet Thee, Zara

Oh, Zara. Why must you bring out such beautiful things when I don't have a whole lot of dollar to spend. Today I took a trip to town as I needed to go to the bank and seeing as I was already in town, I thought I'd have a muse around a few shops. 

Now, I haven't been into Zara for ages and thank goodness I haven't because I just wanted everything in sight. Their current collection is just too beautiful, so many pretty lace pieces, floaty dresses and drop dead gorgeous hand bags. A quick browse and I had to run out as fast as I could, just in case temptation became too much. Sorry, Zara, but I just can't give you my pennies right now, no matter how beautiful you make your clothes. Another time, another place. For now, I shall just have to blog about what I'm currently loving:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

6 // 7 // 8 // 9

13 June 2012

We Grew Up At Midnight

Goodness, I didn't realise it had been so long since my last post, and there I was pledging to be a better blogger post exams and what not... However, I do have lots to tell. It has been a wonderful couple of weeks since then, that I think it best for us all if I break it up into bite size pieces for y'all. 

#1. On the 2nd June, I attended what was sadly my last ever summer ball at Kent uni, *sad face*. It was such an enjoyable evening. We were lucky enough to have Noah and the Whale headline who were brilliant. I heard part of their set at Bestival last September so had quite high expectations for their performance, and I thought they were great. The Saturdays, meh...A let down. Easy on the eye but harsh on the ear drums, so thank goodness that Annie Mac could be relied upon to finish the night in style with a fantastic DJ set. It was a shame that the bumper cars closed so early as that would have just been the icing on the cake, and boy do I love cake.

Noah and the Whale
#2. On the 6th of June I turned 22 BUT IT'S OKAY because I still look 12. Well, my height says 12 anyway. However, I do still get ID'd everywhere I go and as long as that continues to be the case I shall be a happy bean. My birthday was lovely, despite the weather raining on my parade (read: barbecue) in the evening, but nevertheless I had a wonderful day. A long awaited game of Articulate later and we were ready to dance the night away. My house mates bought me the best pen ever (the flower winds up), an introductory book to journalism (so thoughtful) and the most beautiful diary, which I am too scared to write in as of yet! (Such a neat freak when it comes to diaries and journals... anyone else get that?) I also received my first ever 'for a special auntie' card from my niece and nephews which I am going to keep forever!

#3. My siblings bought me an awesome present, which was to see The Maccabees at Alexandra Palace in London last Friday. OH GOD. So good. They were just amazing, so incredibly on the ball live and with the perfect mix of old and new songs. I was pretty blown away that they would have thought to get me a gift like that and Rob and I had the best time. It has been forever since I went to a gig and it makes me ever so sad that I don't have a festival to go to this year due to my limited funds; the first time in four years, I'm not quite sure how to handle it. I did not want the gig to end, I could watch and listen to Orlando Weeks forever. The support act, British Sea Power, were awesome as well.

#4. The following day, I was lucky enough to have some friends from home come and visit me in Canterbury. We got very merry and once again set out to dance and sing our hearts out! It has been a wonderful couple of weeks filled with some amazing music and company. I will be ever so sad to say goodbye to it all this coming weekend, when I have to leave this beautiful city.

I have had some truly lovely comments on my blog as of late and I feel awful for not having had the time to reply to them yet, but this past week has just been so crazy! I promise that I am going to do that right this minute, just bear with me because I really do appreciate the time that is taken to read and comment on my posts. 

Finally, I know that it is a week and little bit later than I said that I would announce, but the winner of my Delialah Dust give away is Lucy from Slices of Style! I will pass on your details to Antonia and get her to post your bracelet to you!