Don’t judge me for saying ‘no’ to uni

What are the realities of dropping out?

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According to The Telegraph, one in 15 university students drop out after their first year of study – that’s over 26 thousand students per year. But why do so many people come to university only to drop out? Is university really all it’s cracked up to be? The Tab spoke to students about their various experiences and views of university education.

Modesta, 19, dropped out of The University of Birmingham after her first year.


Why did you decide to come to university in the first place?

“Society’s expectation. I am Lithuanian, and you can’t really make a career there without going to university. You would only get supermarket work etc. I wanted more than that. Uni is seen as necessary to prepare for the future and to make something good for your life.”

Why a different country?

“I came to England three years ago to visit a friend and really liked the country and the people. Also, my cousin studied at university in Edinburgh so I thought I could join her (Edinburgh was my first choice of university, UoB was my second).”


Why Birmingham?

“It was my second choice after Edinburgh. It was the same course and had really good ratings for the course I wanted to study (International Business with Japanese). I ended up in Birmingham because the year that I applied, the university in Edinburgh decided not to let anyone in from Lithuania. I didn’t know if I would like it as much as Edinburgh, but I had spent a lot of time preparing for English study so I thought I might as well try it!”

Why have you decided to drop out?

“I am still in touch with my friends back home who go to university in Lithuania. They love uni life and their course, and when speaking to them I realised that I didn’t enjoy it as much as they did. I felt that by being at university in England I was missing out on the proper university experience. I felt like I couldn’t get fully involved in uni life because of the language barrier and my friends, boyfriend, and family were so far away. The thought of spending two more years in a completely different country to them seemed impossible.”

Are you going to carry on with uni?

“Yes, I’m hoping to transfer to a university in Lithuania called KTU (Kaunas Technology University) to continue my course. I am considering doing a masters in the UK though. I know that I can survive a year because I have already done it!”

Bridget, 19, didn’t go to university, now a trainee duty manager


Why didn’t you want to go to uni?

“I was unsure of what I wanted to do as a career – I most likely would have studied law or criminology, but I didn’t get the grades to have even considered going to uni. I got fed up of the amount of work that sixth form made me do, and although in school I did my homework as soon as I got it, in college I lost that passion and this further put me off going to uni. Also, I am a real home bird so didn’t want to leave the comfort of my normal surroundings.”

Did you ever want to come to uni?

“I don’t think I ever really wanted to. Even at a young age it was never really in my ‘plan’ to go to uni and I think that stems from me being unsure of what I wanted to be when I got older.”

What do you do instead?

“I am a trainee duty manager in a busy company (Provenance Inns and Hotels) at The Black Bull, Moulton, North Yorkshire. I am doing an NVQ level 3 Diploma in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership which will help me progress with this career path.”

Do you regret not going to uni?

“Yes, I work too much and do not have a social life except from going to work. I am a confident person but I haven’t met any new people my own age and I sometimes feel like I miss out on the fun. But on the flip side, I am earning money and learning on the go and hopefully will be able to get my own house in the near future without having to worry about debts/getting a job etc.”

What are your views on university? Do you not agree with it/think it’s worthwhile?

“I think uni is a great place to learn about yourself and be able to forge a career for yourself, but it is too much money. It’s £9000 a year for not many lectures, and there isn’t much of a guarantee of a job. Only about 20% of uni students get a job in their field of study once they have left uni.”

Dan, 22, dropped out of Coventry University, now working abroad


Why did you drop out of uni?

“I was taking a placement year that turned out to offer such a good opportunity for development etc. that I decided not to return. I enjoyed working more than uni.”

What do you do now?

“I’m Director of Beauty and Fragrance for LVMH (Louis Vutton Moet Hennesy) Group, at Abu Dhabi International Airport.”

What are your views on university? Do you not agree with it/think it’s worthwhile?

“I don’t feel that it’s relevant for most actual jobs. For certain jobs, like being a doctor, it is essential to develop the necessary skills and networks, but for most it is just a stepping stone to delay employment because at the age of 17/18 you don’t feel you have a solid idea of what to do other than go to uni. As an employee who hires new recruits weekly, I do not even consider degree qualifications – it is all about experience, life skills, potential and likeability, not an academic qualification.”

Do you regret dropping out? Why?

“Nope. I have an excellent job, in a dream location, with an international company and huge development and progression opportunity to grow and develop. No regrets at all!”

Would you ever go back to uni?

“Nope. I have a dream job that allows me to travel the Middle and Far East regularly, work with international business partners and enjoy a lifestyle I would have only been able to dream about if I had stayed at uni. I would not go back to uni unless it was to change my career path completely.”