Deciding to go to uni

I only have about 4 months left of uni so I’m going to tell you why I decided to choose the course and university that I did. If you’re about to apply for uni it might be helpful, and if you like to think about uni, it might be interesting? Maybe not but here we go!

In my mind, there was never any other plan of what I was going to do when I finished school, it just felt like the natural step for me. I know there are so many other options as most people I went to school with actually proved, especially coming from an area with huge amounts of apprenticeship opportunities. Nevertheless, I have always enjoyed education and learning and I suppose being 17 and finishing high school, I still wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to be doing and how to get there.

From about my 3rd year of secondary school I was volunteering at Rock Challenge events, this was when I was about 14/15 years old and when you start considering what you might be doing with your future. I was working with a team of professionals who got to run these incredible, important and fun events for a living. I could recognise it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows but the idea of being able to spend my life working on things that I cared about was really important to me. Tied together with my natural pull towards business subjects in school, it felt like the right direction to head in. (I wrote a wee post for the UK Rock Challenge Ambassador blog here, if you fancy checking that one out).

Near the end of high school when they start getting you to look at prospectuses and UCAS applications, I had my Rock Challenge obsessed brain set on Event Management because that was, like, fun business! As I’m lucky enough to have free tuition here in Scotland, there was no way I was looking outwith this country (although I probably could have) and so there were 4 universities that offered that course. The choice was between Robert Gordons (Aberdeen), West of Scotland, and Queen Margaret or Napier (Edinburgh). I looked up all the various options to compare, business subjects in particular are quite customisable because many of the subjects offered can blend in to one another. There was the option to just study Event Management, but also to do specific courses that included PR and Media or to do a joint honours degree in loads of subjects from accounting to entrepreneurship, human resources to hospitality. I decided to do a joint honours in Festival & Event Management and Marketing, because it seemed like a no brainer, two areas of expertise is better than one right? Whilst the course structure hasn’t always been the most even between the subjects, I still stand by the joint hons, because if I had just done optional modules, my extra knowledge would be more like a jack of all trades but master of none.

The other thing that was important to consider was the location. Not just for where you’d like to be living but also because of the location of your industry. For me, especially as an Events student, Edinburgh felt like a necessity. Not just for the experience to attend or work at the massive festivals and events that happen all the time, but also for the ability of the university to create connections and links with local businesses. A big deal-breaker for me was that my course allowed me to do a 6 month placement, working full time in a real job in the industry and that experience (having done it now) was the most valuable part of my degree (you can read more about my placement too if you fancy it). Between the two Edinburgh universities that offered the course I wanted, Napier seemed to have a greater level of academic staff who were experts and authors in the subject, plus as a bigger uni they had greater connections with the city’s festival organisations. Also Edinburgh has just been a dream city to explore and live in, and I’m so glad to have taken that adventure by going to uni – it is a really comfortable way to move away from home because university is a very social place, everyone is just as keen to find friends as you are!

With hindsight now, I wish I had considered more subject options, rather than being set on Events because I probably could have considered more universities. But the problem is that when you’re 17, it feels like such a big and important decision to make, especially when there are endless amounts of options, so I think I was reductive in order to be decisive. But hey, what are you supposed to do? You don’t know just yet what to do with your entire life just yet! Going to uni is kind of about figuring those things out, and your choice isn’t set in stone, I know a lot of people who have switched plans.

If you liked this chat, and would like to hear anything else about uni life, I’d happily write more about it, whether its helpful or just interesting to read, let me know!

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