Is Uni Right For You? Pros and Cons of Going To Uni

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Going to university is a big decision. With tuition costs as high as they are a lot of people are wondering if university is right for them. I was the first person in my family to go to university and, for a long time, I wasn’t going to apply. I thought university was for rich kids, I didn’t think I’d fit. I thought that all universities were like Oxford and Cambridge (the only universities I knew) but I was wrong. Through the persistence of a great teacher and my boyfriend I realised I could go to uni. That said I know uni isn’t for everyone! So, I thought I’d put together the pros and cons of going to university.

Living

Pro: You have the opportunity to move if you wish – I was terrified to move to a place I didn’t know but it was the right thing to do looking back on it. It made me be independent, it made me know that I can look after myself and gave me space to work out who I was on my own.

Con: Moving back after uni is tough. I see a lot of people who didn’t go to uni who are starting to get on the housing ladder because they’ve been working and earning while I’d been studying.

Pro: Being able to run your own schedule and your own life. You can eat when you want, sleep when you want and come and go as you please.

Con: Remembering to look after yourself. I really struggled in my first year with loneliness, I wasn’t close with my flatmates. I’d lock myself away for days on end sometimes, which was really tough.

Work

Pro: Some degrees are needed to get into careers, that’s a fact. Likewise, there are some jobs where graduates are preferred.

Con: It can be difficult to work and study. Everyone knows that student loans are difficult to live on and so if you live in a city it can mean long hours.

Pro: Student jobs can pay a good wage.

Con: Student jobs can have very crappy hours.

Friendships

Pro: Making friends from all over the world is a great perk of going to university. I learnt a lot about other cultures

Con: When friendships go wrong it can be hard. When you’re away from home and friendships go wrong it can knock your confidence and make you feel lonely.

Pro: Meeting new people. Meeting new people was great for me, I needed a change and I needed to rebuild myself, which was a huge positive for me.

Con: Moving back after graduation. When all of your friends are all over the country or world it can be really hard to adjust and you do miss the.

Money

Pro: Getting a Student Loan to help while you study was great (although depending on what your parents earn and your circumstances will depend on how much help you get).

Con: Going to uni means you’re not on a full time wage. This really depends on how much you want to study because I know a lot of brilliant people who didn’t go to uni, went straight to work and have built up a good career for themselves.

Pro: Over their lifetime, on average, a graduate will earn more.

Con: If you’re not studying full time you can get a lot of knowledge and experience in your industry, all of my family did it this way!

Learning  

Pro: If you love studying then of course uni makes sense! I loved reading and learning theory and debating, it was the best part of my degree!

Con: Uni can be really tiring and taxing. In third year I didn’t really sleep much, I was very stressed towards the end and got sick because of it.

Pro: You can create your own education. There’s so much choice in terms of courses and modules.

Con: If you’re not interested in studying, writing and sitting in lecture halls uni might not be you and that’s not a bad thing! There are so many ways to progress, further your career and learn!

There’s so much more I could come up with so by no means is this exhaustive. Whether you go to uni or not doesn’t determine if you’re successful. What are your plans? I’d love to know in the comments below!

Why I’m Not Studying a Postgrad Degree

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A year ago I truly believed that I would be preparing for Fresher’s week again, with a stack of new stationary and pre prepared novels read. Instead I am sitting back in Basingstoke, curled up on the sofa, fairly relaxed with a to do list for work tomorrow. I’ve spent the summer earning money and reading whatever I like. I never thought I’d be so happy to be working, but I’m finally finding a rhythm for myself. That said, many people wouldn’t believe me when I said I was happy, because all I spoke about, wrote about, breathed about was becoming an Academic, so what changed?

Third year made me realise that I needed a break. I worked myself half to insanity, I was in hospital because I was so stressed and probably spent more time in tears than I did happy in my third year. I’m not saying all third years will fare this way but dealing with the recovery of my spine, depression and other personal issues on top of the pressure I put on myself to get a first made me very ill. On top of that, I realised that part of my decision to continue study was through fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of not knowing who I was outside of education. I’d always been the smart girl, I had always been the hard worker and over achiever, hence why my mental health struggled when my grades didn’t come back as constant firsts, as they had before. I saw myself in Plath, when she wrote of her struggles with what she should do, should she chase education, something she knew she could do?

In short, I didn’t carry on studying because I need a break. I realised that most of my ambitions were based on a false security. Education was safe for me, something I could do. I could work hard and be good. I’d stay in the library late, I’d keep winning prizes and scholarships and then I’d be an academic. I was scared to step out of that box I’d been in since I was 4 years old. And now, after speaking to countless other new graduates, I see that I wasn’t the only one and so many have gone into masters programmes after saying they don’t know what else to do.

This doesn’t mean I won’t go back and study later on. I still have a passion for literature, I’m still interested in looking at Gender, Sexuality, about the impact of literature on young people’s lives, about Mental Health in post WW1 literature.  I still have a passion for it and I still read things about these issues. BUT! Now I have another passion, something I love and want to get into. I love my job and the more I get into it, the more I feel like a masters isn’t something I need, it’s something I might do at some point. I’ve moved on though, I no longer feel trapped by being the ‘smart girl’. I have people around me in a job that value my opinions without me having to be the ‘know it all’, because I’m not stupid I know that there were occasions people spoke to me because they thought I had the answers. I finally feel that my self worth is tied to more than grades.

Of course this is all personal, this is all how I feel right now. In a year it might change, I might save and go back part time but it’s good for me to get away from feeling like a number and someone’s opinion defines me.  I’m not doing a masters because I needed a break, I needed to grow on my own and I’m enjoying it.

Sunday Seven: Seven Things No One Tells You About Graduation

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This week I became a graduate. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will see I have been absolutely spamming my accounts with pictures and thank yous and a lot about the whole day. After this I will stop badgering you all on social media about graduating. I did think, however, I’d share with you seven things no one tells you about graduation.

Gowns may look good, but they are hot as hell.

If you graduate later in the year you may be ok but graduating in the hottest week of the year meant a lot of sticky, sweaty gowns. I was very pleased to get this off at the end of the day.

No shoes are worth taking skin off your feet. 

I tried two new pairs of shoes and I’m still paying the price. Make sure you wear them in if you really want fancy new shoes and take a lot of plasters.

Souvenirs are worthwhile, but expensive. 

I was not prepared for how expensive souvenirs were going to be! Photo’s were the most (although I’m yet to order mine), followed by £45 for a hoodie, £15 for a bear, £10 for a scroll holder and £15 for a pin of the university’s coat of arms. It’s only because this is the only time I plan on doing this in the near future I bought what I wanted but be prepared!

You will need to charge your phone. 

Phone calls to relatives, messages to you, photos, some sneaky Pokemon hunting. I really wished I had taken one of those charger blocks that you carry around in your bag. Ali has one and it’s a good investment, so it might be worth getting one.

Speeches are both long and boring, but can make you feel proud of where you’ve come from. 

There were some great parts of speeches but there was no denying that they were very long, especially in the heat. While a lot of us tried to be serious, but were really like a bunch of grown up kids, it was nice to think about how far we’d come and that Kingston would always be a part of us.

You’ll have an overwhelming amount of University pride.

I was SO proud of myself, the people I studied with and the university I spent 3 years of my life at. I never knew I would feel that much university pride on graduation day.

The day will go faster than you think, so soak up as much as possible. 

Just like your degree, the time will go so fast, so enjoy as much as possible.

 

 

Looking back at University -I’m a Graduate!

On Thursday 21st of July my journey as a student came to an end. Yes after 3 long years I am now officially a graduate of Kingston University, Chloe Metzger BA Hons. I’m going to try and keep this blog short, because I feel like I could write a book on this chapter of my life alone. I went from a girl who was terrified of leaving home, to a young independent woman. I’ve gone through more than I thought I could enjoy and have had experiences that I never thought I would but I’m so pleased I went to university, I found out who I was.

The past 3 years have been overwhelming such amazing highs and very tough lows. I’m nothing like the girl who started, who was so anxious the thought of getting on a bus nearly sent her into a panic attack, now I’ll travel around London for work. I’ve met the Chancellor and had a good few chats with her. I started this blog, interviewed by various people, made friends, started a band, played all over London and the South East and released 4 singles. I’ve watched countless bands and artists and met some of my absolute heroes. I’ve also met authors, celebrities and inspiring people. I’ve won awards, became a society president, got firsts and two ones, become a Student Ambassador and in charge of social media. I’ve given talks on mental health and found my voice as well as a way to use my past to create a better future.

Of course there were tough times too the homesickness, the really tough times with my depression when I wouldn’t leave my flat or be around people for days on end, friendship breakdowns, breaking my spine and not getting some of the grades I wanted. Originally I didn’t post that I got a 2:1 for my degree because I wasn embarrassed. My goal from the first year was to get a first class degree and I missed it by 3.5%. I cried, a lot, I was full of self loathing, how could I not get that extra 3.5%? Then I spoke to a friend, someone who chose to love me rather than being Ali or my family who were proud whatever, who told me not many people can recover from a broken spine and be in hospital for IBS and still come out so close to a first. It made me feel a lot better. I put this pressure on myself and it’s one of my flaws. I wanted to tell you all that because university comes with the good and the bad.

My future has completely changed from that I thought it would be before I went to uni, hell it’s different from what I thought it would be a year ago, but I’m happy. I’m happier sitting writing this than I have been in months, because third year was hard. It wasn’t just the workload, but my personal life. If I’m honest I’m surprised I made it through. I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting but I want  to be truthful to let others know that even when life gets so tough that you don’t know how you’re going to keep going, you can.  I haven’t you the space to write everything I loved about studying at university, but I did. I’ve got some incredible friends and memories from my time at KU and it’s honestly one of the best decisions I ever made.

So thank’s Kingston, you were great!

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Pre Graduation Nerves

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Tomorrow, after 3 years of reading, tears, late nights, hungover mornings, trying to stay awake in lectures, essays, library days and trips to the pub, university will be over. I left with no idea what I’d do once I left, or if I’d even want to stay in the first place. So I’m sitting here (and a big follow up post about the end and looking back and all that jazz to come Friday or Saturday) and just thinking about tomorrow, this big ceremony that we’ve all been told about for years. I’ve had my hair done, my eyebrows, I have a new dress and even heels for the actual ceremony (not all day though, you have to be kidding me), Ali’s going to be there, my parents, my sister. Mostly I’m feeling nervous right now, worried about how the pictures will look, the walk across the stage. I’m not as panicked as I thought I’d be, actually I’m pretty proud of the fact that next week I’ll have spent a month in a job that I love, I have a car I saved up for and I feel like I have some idea of how I want my life to go. Fingers crossed I don’t fall over in the 5 minutes I have to be in heels.

Image from Pinterest

Why We Need to Talk About Post University Depression

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It’s that time of year. Exams are long gone, results published and gowns ordered. We’re told that now is when we enter the ‘real world’ of jobs and adult things. While it is all new and exciting there is something that many people don’t, or don’t want to talk about, that’s the feeling of loss that comes with finishing university. There’s almost a feeling that you can’t be sad, you have a degree! You’re one of the lucky ones, right?

Post university depression is something that I’ve come across a lot online. Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself struggling sometimes and although people may just say that’s my pre existing depression, I can tell you it’s something different. You got from all the pressure and stress os exams to nothing in a matter of weeks and then from that point onwards you’re asked about what you’re going to do next, do you have a job lined up/ There’s also the inevitable, for most, of having to head back to the old town, into your old bedroom and having to stay with Mum and Dad again. Add that to not having your friends around the corner, is it any wonder it can all feel a little bit much?

Of course it’s not all bad BUT society just seems to have a filter when it comes to the impact that these changes can have on someone’s mental health. I’ve noticed that in the period straight after my coursework was handed in, a mere few days after deadlines I felt a huge pressure to get a job and know what every part of my life was going to be. I started falling back into more days spent in bed and more anxiety attacks about my future than I’d had in awhile and on top of it all the access to my mental health support was cut as soon as I handed in my last essay. With all the uncertainty, moving and, for some, not getting the result that they wanted there can be a lot impacting a person emotionally.

So, I’m writing this blog to start the conversation. To say that even though I have a job and it’s going well I still have days where I feel really down and can’t believe university is over. There are still nights when I just can’t sleep because I don’t know how to do this adult thing and I miss my friends and knowing that I just have to go to classes and read a lot. Apparently this is all normal, but we still don’t want to talk about it. I have to say if anyone feels like it really is more than just post uni blues PLEASE talk to someone about it, and if you feel you need to see a doctor (they’re not going to put a ‘crazy’ stamp on you and that’s that, trust me).

Sometimes we all need a little bit of help in times of change, you’re not alone.

 

 

image from Pinterest

The Freedom List!

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I’m so close to getting everything submitted that I can smell the freedom, on Tuesday at 11am it’s all done. I go out for a drive in my car and just take in lungfuls of fresh air, because I know that soon enough I’ll be back in the flat looking at a screen and an essay that bores me almost to tears. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to try and get down my ‘freedom list’, things that I’m looking forward to doing once I haven’t got any more academic pressure on me. I know I’ll be moving and looking for work but it’s going to be nice to have some spare time again! To be able to pick up a book or go for a walk without feeling guilty for leaving two essays on the table! I’m adding to this list day by day but here it is so far!

  • Finish my Cosplay outfit for MCM in May – I have most of the pieces now I just have to put it all together and get a few accessories
  • Start writing my own book, finally! – I still love writing but it’ll be so nice to just be in charge of what I’m writing, take my time and not have to show it to anyone until I’M ready. I have a few chapter plans and some great ideas, can’t wait to get them on to paper!
  • Read for FUN – Ohh I’m going to shrink my TBR pile!
  • Start my Youtube Channel – Keep your eyes peeled!
  • Go to Richmond Park – this one can wait until we get some sun.
  • Get some good sleep.
  • Buy my Kingston Uni Hoodie!
  • Get my haircut and eyebrows waxed, feel slightly more like a person and less like a werewolf…
  • Go to the V&A
  • Go to Madame Tussauds
  • Play my ukelele more
  • Write whatever I damn want
  • Get back into a gym routine!
  • Go to Durham to visit Ali’s family
  • Find a new car (sorry Harry, I think 20 is the year to retire)

It may looks like a lot but there are no pressure with these, they’re things I can pick up and then change my mind, things I’m in control of. Although job hunting will be happening soon, I’m taking a well deserved few weeks off to recharge and just do what I feel like and recharging my batteries.

As always I love to hear from you, what’s fun on your to-do list? Leave me a comment or a Tweet!

 

 

I found the beautiful image on Pinterest by the way!