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The crossroads at 18 - Lisa's experience

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over 2 years ago

by Lisa Veale

​​Next up it’s Lisa’s turn to share the choice she made at 18!

What did you want to do at 18?

​“After my GCSE’s I headed off to Exeter College rather than stay on at the school sixth form – more than anything because I wanted to meet new people. I did a BTEC in Business Studies at Exeter College that gave me the chance to study lots of different topics and meant I wouldn’t be pigeon holed when it came to carrying on with studies or starting work.”

​“When the time came to choose – I remember being pretty fixed on becoming a lawyer. I love detail and that type of job would have suited me down to the ground. However the more I thought about six years training and the amount of money it was going cost – the more I was put off!”

What did you choose to do at 18?

​“I decided to carry on with education, more than anything because it was what pretty much what everyone around me was doing. I’d obviously toyed with the idea of being a lawyer but I in all honesty I really didn’t know what I wanted to do work-wise so this option bought me some time to decide too.”

Where did you go?

​“After a good look at the options I finally settled on an HND Business Studies course in Luton. Let’s say I quickly decided this wasn’t for me! I did the first year then switched to Glamorgan University to study for a degree in communications that turned out to be far more me!”

Was it what you expected?

​“The course was broad – something that suits me and meant I didn’t lose interest.”

What did you get out of university?

​“More than anything I developed my independence. During the holidays I worked to make sure I came away with as little debt as I possibly could. Something I’m proud to say I almost achieved – I think I came away owing about £400 – a far cry from the debt you get saddled with today.”

Was going down the university route the right thing?

​“Absolutely! I enjoyed the course but more than anything I grew up.”

​“No-one in my family had been to university before so getting a degree gave me a real sense of achievement. It also gave me confidence and self belief – I knew at the end of it that I was able to stand on my own two feet. Once I left my parents at 18 – I never moved back in with them.”

What would you tell your 18 year old self now?

​“I’d tell me to have more self belief. I’m far more chilled out now so would also tell me not to worry so much – things WILL work out.”

If you were making the decision now – would you go again?

​“In all honesty, probably not. I don’t think a degree has the same value as it used to have, unless of course you absolutely have to have one for the career you want – like medicine.”

​“I like the apprenticeships that are on offer now that give you the chance to get work experience and the opportunity to study at the same time. It’s a win-win in my book!”

​“I think the message from all of us is that if you work hard it will work out – even if it’s not what you expected it to be!”

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