Over 25 and lost in life
"You can learn on the job, which could be more valuable than what you learn at university."
After finishing university, like many of my other classmates, we were clueless in what we actually wanted to do. We all studied BA Product design, yet a very small percentage of the class actually continued to pursue that career. As for the rest of us, we were left with a degree, that we can only use to show off on our CV's, along with our university name. It made me wonder if university was really the right way to go, since we are left in debt to the government, until we all get decent jobs.
Until 2015, I managed to get in to a bakery/patisserie apprenticeship, as I enjoyed baking as a hobby. That's already 4 years after I graduated. Before that, I did part time jobs in anything but design related. I knew I didn't want to pursue a Product Design career, during a university trip to Milan, visiting design studios and manufacturers. I couldn't imagine my future as one and I was already in my second year of university. But I was determined to finish my course, as it would have gone to waste, with all the course fees.
The downside to my course is, there were no work experience opportunities and you had to find it by yourself, if you really wanted one. Most of the time, if you were lucky, you had connections and that was your golden ticket in to the industry.
There was a girl in my course that reminded me of a modern barbie doll. Her hair was long, brunette/blonde and she had a perfectly symmetrical face with full lips and batting eyelashes. You could say, she was the pretty girl of the class. She always had debates with fellow students and tutors. She stuck by her beliefs. Then one day, during the third year, she was no longer turning up to class. It turns out she went to America and became a famous makeup artist. I was shocked to see her in an article in the Asos magazine, a few years after I graduated. But it was much better than being clueless after graduating.
I remember one of my classmates asked me during my first day at university, "Why did you choose Product Design?" My answer was, "Because I want to become a toy designer and become more famous than Hello Kitty." That statement is still partly true. I still enjoy character designing and the idea of having my own merchandise. But that is still a distant dream, as I need to have regular income.
If you are still at college and you are aged between 18-24 and you don't want to go to university, go for a traineeship or an apprenticeship. It is all paid for by the government. You can learn on the job, which could be more valuable than what you learn at university. Having the right work experience can get you the job you want, rather than studying an expensive degree.
If you are completely lost after university, just go for any job and if you don't enjoy it, at least you have some work experience. There are skills that can be applied in any job, no matter what type, such as being a team player and using your own initiative.
Unless you are 100% sure university is right for you, I recommend training in the job you are passionate about. Although at such a young age, many of us have a lot of dreams and aspirations, but end up doing something totally opposite. Take my advice, don't leave it too late, as it gets more complicated to apply for such rare opportunities. Apprenticeships normally last one year and you have to be dedicated in learning new things. All you need is at least 5 GCSEs, grade A-C to qualify. You are also more likely to be offered a full-time position in the company you train for, which is a bonus.
At the end of the day, I believe everyone needs to be given a chance to prove they are capable of anything. You can learn anything, if you show determination and put your heart and soul in to it.
Thinking of becoming an Apprentice? Please follow this link. (UK only)
- Become an apprentice - GOV.UK
How to become an apprentice – what you can expect, levels of apprenticeships, pay and training, how to make an application, what to expect, complain about your apprenticeship