What My Degree Has Really Taught Me: Part One

This is part one in a series of posts about what my non vocational university course has really taught me.

So for those of you who don’t know me, I am in my final year at university studying politics and international relations. I also plan on going into marketing and advertising after university and as you already know I like to write in my spare time. So, why study politics you might ask, and you’d be right too. At school I was pretty good at political studies and I thought maybe I’d like to be a journalist so it was a pretty good fit to be honest. But as time went by at university it became abundantly clear that politics wasn’t really for me, and journalism probably wasn’t either. That is unless I could go straight into a job as a columnist with the freedom to write whatever I liked. But lets face it that was never going to happen, hence the blog.

I’ve now been aware of the fact that I’ll never use what I’ve learnt in my degree after university for about three years. But that doesn’t make my time at university useless. I’m certain there are a lot of you out there studying liberal arts degrees, not because you are hugely interested in the subject matter but because you’ve got ambitions of a real career and a university education seems to be the way to get one. It’s not the only one but it’s certainly the most conventional and accepted. We can’t all be entrepreneurs selling fruit at a market straight after school ends and somehow turning that into a world wide fruit making company which is now in the fortune 500 and makes the best mangos in the whole world. Very few people have the natural talent to make that happen, I certainly don’t.

So off to university for me!

Now we’ve established that my non vocational course (and perhaps yours) isn’t really that useful beyond showing that yes – I can read, write, and learn. What can I really have learned at university? It might sound a little corny but what it all comes down to is life skills. After 3 years at university I took on an internship in London. I was (and am) 21. I had to up sticks for the summer and move to one of the most vibrant cities in the world, I had to negotiate my way to and from the office through rush hour London, work a 8:30-5:30 day 5 days a week, participate in meetings, help create a new website, run marketing campaigns on social media and tip toe around the office politics occurring around me. With my university trained brain I’ve turned this into a job for after university (pats self on back).londonview_2500920b

Now, what if you through 18 year old me into that environment? 18 year old me had just returned from a lads holiday Zante, still a virgin and with a severe dancing injury (some idiot scratched my cornea with her ridiculously long fake nails, I spent two days of that holiday in the dark unable to open my eye, it’s okay to laugh at that I admit if it hadn’t been me I’d have laughed pretty hard). Let’s take a moment to imagine that young man, with his damaged liver and eye, driving from Glasgow to London by himself. I imagine I would have freaked out somewhere in the congestion zone  and racked up charges of around £200. After that I’m certain he would have missed many trains over summer and been late for work. I’m sure he would have also made inappropriate jokes in meetings, turned up hungover for work and maybe even left early a few times out of boredom and because he was too scared to ask anyone for help. Needless to say he would not have a job lined up.post

So in this situation university has taught me to be mature, to be on time and not to make jokes when important people are talking. Thank you education for helping me make slightly better decisions!



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