The crossroads at 18 - Lisa's experience

13 February 2020

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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