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September 21, 2020, 02:34:53 pm

Author Topic: Uni. Is it really worth it?  (Read 5437 times)  Share 

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keltingmeith

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Re: Uni. Is it really worth it?
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2020, 01:15:56 pm »
0
If I unexpectedly hate it all, I can go right back to my current job options anyway – I have little to lose and everything to gain.  Sure, I already have open doors, jobs I can thrive in without uni.  But uni gives me extra keys, more available doors, more flexibility, more progression.  It doesn’t close (most of) the already-open doors.

To be fair, I don't think it's entirely all to gain and nothing to lose, as you suggest. Having a university degree can be more beneficial than people are aware - my dad has actually told me that when hiring people, he often looks favourably on those who have a university degree. Not because they have skills associated with it, but because he knows how hard it is to get one (for context, he failed year 12 [back when VIC did HSC lol], then had some troubles in university that he's never gone into but I know meant it took him a couple years longer to get his uni degree), and so he knows that those who have one have the grit to dedicate themselves to a task and get it done. Even with a nursing degree, and him hiring into IT, you'd be looked at favourably for employment (I mean, you'd probably have to demonstrate some IT skills still, but eh, you're a bright cookie)

However, if you decide to just go back to retail, you do have this HECS debt that needs to be paid back still, and so you're not just losing money in the short-term - you're also losing it in the long-term. Just something to be aware of - I don't personally think it should be a deal-breaker, but if you know you're going to end up in a job that's not going to require a university degree by any stretch of the imagination (in particular, trades and those that you can get qualified with a 1-year TAFE course which is usually cheaper than uni). Having said that, I think my mum's managed to get a cert IV she'll never have to pay off because she won't be able to get into the work force, so that's something

Limiting views

A couple of views I held that contributed to the perspective above in 2016:

1.  I wanted to special, not do things the way 'everyone' did them.  Everyone went through uni by default, so I didn't want to.  (Note: working in a low-skill area I’ve since realised that it's not actually the default I thought it was.)

2.  I felt like three years was an interminably long time.  In reality, if I'd completed that degree then, I would currently be in my second year of working post uni - not that long after all.

3.  Quite an entitled attitude.  I expected uni to offer me everything, rather than realising what Brenden said above at the time - I have to use it as a jumping off place to earn and find things myself.

It's really interesting looking at these comments - the amount of people I've met who had the same biases is astonishing, and it is honestly REALLY refreshing to see someone admit that they had them and there was an issue with them. I had one person who used to say all these nasty things about TAFE, and when I tried to stop them, they countered with, "well if it's so great, why didn't you go to TAFE?" - and when I said because TAFE didn't offer science, they were genuinely shocked. They literally thought TAFE was just somewhere you go because you didn't get an ATAR, and it was a shameful thing to do. She had absolutely no idea that TAFE was just a place that got you different qualifications, or that there were people who went there knowing that they were never going to go to uni.

I will note - nothing of what I said is reflective of any users on AN, only people I've met IRL. Maybe there are people here who think that way, idk, but I promise I'm not calling anyone out. Unless you feel called out, in which case you're definitely projecting onto yourself, and should maybe spend some time in self-reflection to try and figure out why my words seem so hurtful to you? (and if that comes back to you think I'm an arse - hey, I'm happy to discuss that with you, inbox is open)
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literally lauren

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Re: Uni. Is it really worth it?
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2020, 01:46:38 pm »
+10
Right now I'm imagining AN pulling out sparklers and party hats because HEIDI'S BACK.


heids

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Re: Uni. Is it really worth it?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2020, 03:33:45 pm »
+8
However, if you decide to just go back to retail, you do have this HECS debt that needs to be paid back still, and so you're not just losing money in the short-term - you're also losing it in the long-term.

Yes, absolutely.  It's still not hugely significant if you're on a lower (e.g. a lot of retail) income due to staggered repayment thresholds - I think I paid back around $35 last financial year.  I have several friends in retail with completed degrees (including a super intelligent linguistics major) who don't pay anything back because they don't even earn enough.

But you never know when legislation may change and make this a much bigger burden than it currently is.

Quote
Just something to be aware of - I don't personally think it should be a deal-breaker, but if you know you're going to end up in a job that's not going to require a university degree by any stretch of the imagination (in particular, trades and those that you can get qualified with a 1-year TAFE course which is usually cheaper than uni).

As I noted above, I don't think I could personally do a degree just for the sake of learning/enjoying it/getting a degree, without expectations of related jobs.  I know lots of people value that (see Brenden, J41 above), but it's not for me.

I HIGHLY support TAFE.  Many with certificates, diplomas and trades end up with excellent jobs.  I do have certs III/IV, and would be reasonably confident of decent lifelong employment with them.  I'm just ready personally to go further in a way I simply can't without a degree.

Quote
It's really interesting looking at these comments - the amount of people I've met who had the same biases is astonishing, and it is honestly REALLY refreshing to see someone admit that they had them and there was an issue with them.

It's much easier to admit one's clouded or biased views after the fact :P  While I try to be self-aware, in reality I'll only see a lot of things in hindsight.  I'll probably have a different perspective on this very topic in a few years time (when I do, I'll try to re-bump :P)
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turinturambar

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Re: Uni. Is it really worth it?
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2020, 01:52:38 am »
+7
I'll answer just because I think my answer will be somewhat different from others and might be interesting.

I was a self-taught software developer from pre-teen years, and one of those annoying people who spent Year 10 - 12 thinking "What do you mean it's really hard figuring out what to do after school?  I know exactly what I want to do".  I could quite possibly have wrangled a job without a degree, but figured a software engineering degree at Unimelb would be interesting and would make it easier to get a job, so that's what I did.  And it worked: I had a part-time software development job from the end of first year, and had accepted a full-time software development job offer before my final semester (at a different company - the company I'm still working at).

I did learn a lot while I was in Uni, and still use some of it today in my work.  Some of that learning was in class, but much of it was self-taught. As a teen, I'd read just about every computer related book at my local library, but it wasn't much, and I couldn't usually get exactly what I wanted.  The Uni libraries were just so big, and I could get access to so many books on any topic I wanted.  In particular, I fell in love with the Engineering library, with its rows and rows of books between Dewey 004 and 006.  I spent hours in there, and borrowed heaps of books which formed most of my reading on the train to and from Uni.

One other unexpected thing I found at Uni (which certainly contributed to making it feel worth it) was fellow students who were interested in the same thing as me, and fellow students who were more intelligent than me.  I had come from a small school, and was at least arrogant enough to think I was best at most of the things I cared about, but it's really helpful being able to talk with others.

And so I completed Uni.  It was a bit sad leaving a place I had happy memories of, but I was busy, I moved onto the next stage of my One True Life Plan, and I'm not sure I really expected to be back.  I think I had acquired a respect for the concept of "life-long learning", but didn't feel I would need to return to Uni to achieve that.  I was self-taught before Uni, I was partly self-taught during Uni, and I would remain self-taught after  Uni.  And I haven't gone back as a student, and don't really expect to.  But it still became a more important part of my identity than I ever expected.

At the time, I clearly had a very transactional view of Uni.  I paid my fees, I got my degree, I got my job.  End of story.  I didn't really understand the talk of the importance of Alumni involvement, etc.  But a few years back I had more time and was feeling less happy with the One True Life Plan I set myself, and that's when I began to reconnect with the Uni and discover I appreciated it far more than I realised.  I began going to a few seminars after work that alumni were invited to.  I got on more mailing lists and was invited to more events.  I realised how beautiful the campus itself was (I think Unimelb Parkville is a really nice campus).  I felt like I belonged.  I even went along to the Unimelb -  USyd Boat Race last year, which I would legit never in a million years have expected to do while narrowly focused on a degree as a springboard to a job.

This shift also came with my shift from software development being a passion to just a job (though there are worse things than a stable and well-paid job).  My interests widened significantly, and my job couldn't keep up.  As a result, the events I was going to weren't in software, but in areas I probably wouldn't have given the time of day while a student. I've been to events in BioSciences, in Agriculture, and in Space Science.  I went to the launch event for a new history curriculum last year.  I've dined at University House - a place I didn't even know existed as a student.  I was at a release of Eastern Barred Bandicoots at Mount Rothwell just before Grand Final holiday last year, specifically because of my involvement with the university in the last few years.

That path is probably slightly unusual (understatement?), but I've come to learn that a university can mean as much or as little as you want it to.  Was my university experience worth it?  Clearly yes, whether from a transactional perspective, from meeting new people (only a few of which I'm still in touch with), or from coming to form an unexpected part of my identity.

A degree can open doors, and if you want to be self-directed and self-learning, University lecturers may or may not be able to support you, but it does give you access to a lot of resources that I found harder to get elsewhere.  If I were to do it again I might want more breadth and less laser-focus on preparing myself for one vocation, but I can't really fault former-me when I still use that knowledge in that vocation.
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brenden

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Re: Uni. Is it really worth it?
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2020, 01:46:24 pm »
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Great fun to hit a random log in and see this update at the right time!  Thanks Heidi!
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heids

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Re: Uni. Is it really worth it?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2020, 07:43:31 pm »
+3
I did learn a lot while I was in Uni, and still use some of it today in my work.  Some of that learning was in class, but much of it was self-taught. As a teen, I'd read just about every computer related book at my local library, but it wasn't much, and I couldn't usually get exactly what I wanted.  The Uni libraries were just so big, and I could get access to so many books on any topic I wanted.  In particular, I fell in love with the Engineering library, with its rows and rows of books between Dewey 004 and 006.  I spent hours in there, and borrowed heaps of books which formed most of my reading on the train to and from Uni.

Uni definitely offers far more access to a wide range of information than you can usually get.  I wonder how much this varies from uni to uni (as I'm planning to go to Deakin, which may be less valuable in that regard than Monash or UniMelb).

Quote
I didn't really understand the talk of the importance of Alumni involvement, etc.  But a few years back I had more time and was feeling less happy with the One True Life Plan I set myself, and that's when I began to reconnect with the Uni and discover I appreciated it far more than I realised.  I began going to a few seminars after work that alumni were invited to.  I got on more mailing lists and was invited to more events.  I realised how beautiful the campus itself was (I think Unimelb Parkville is a really nice campus).  I felt like I belonged.  I even went along to the Unimelb -  USyd Boat Race last year, which I would legit never in a million years have expected to do while narrowly focused on a degree as a springboard to a job.

[...]

I've come to learn that a university can mean as much or as little as you want it to.

I'm really intrigued!  Fantastic perspective, thank you.

I'm definitely feeling more encouraged to get involved in what uni offers rather than seeing it simply as a means to an end.  Rather than focusing on minimising time at uni and maximising money earned, I want to maximise the opportunities uni offers I won't necessarily get again.  Realistically, if my career goes well, I'll be easily able to make up the money I miss during a degree.

Great fun to hit a random log in and see this update at the right time!  Thanks Heidi!

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