The Uni Decision


So this month I have been consumed by a dilemma. By nature, I am a very decisive person, but this had me agonising for quite some time.
To go to University or not to go. Should I stay or should I go?
I never intended to go into the world of media production, it was never my life's ambition to be a production assistant. (Growing up I was more likely to be in front of the camera.) Up until this year I didn't consider it something I could potentially be good at, much less a career option.
The master plan was to go to University and study Multimedia Journalism. Since about the age of 12 I've not thought of not going. To study teaching, music, marine biology, english literature and finally settling on journalism. Being of the academic (*cough* nerd *cough*) sort, I didn't consider the possibility of going into something vocational, rather than earning a degree.
Turns out, I was more clueless about my chosen line of work than I realised. And over the last 8 months or so, I've come to realise that actually, the degree would not address this gap in knowledge as well as experience in the industry would.
I've been very fortunate in that, since starting my gap year, I've had the opportunity to meet with various people (both in the production industry, and successful people in their own companies) who have taken an interest in my dilemma and have offered advice and their own opinions on what I should do. All of them - I'm not exaggerating here - ALL of them, advised against going to University. much to the delight of my mentor/boss. The reason being that experience counts for more.
To try and get a (slight) balance of opinions, I went and met one of the professors from the course. Though he said the course would have it benefits, even he said that considering the fortunate, and very rare position I'm currently in, a degree 'would not be necessary'.
So if even my would-be professor values experience higher than a degree, why consider going to Uni at all? If I had decided on becoming a marine biologist (too much paperwork and not enough whale-spotting) a degree would have been necessary, and a PHD justifiable. I have friends studying civil engineering, chemistry and architecture, all who had to go, even though some of them probably would have preferred to go straight into work.
My best mate advised me to go to uni on the basis that 'why would you want to start something now that you won’t get away from for 40 years or more?' (If that’s his philosophy, it’s nowonder he's single and doesn't have kids!). But if I enjoy what I do enough to come into work when I’m ill, after being offered the day off, then why put it off? (Call it youthful naivety).
If I did go to University, in 3 years I’d only be back where I am now, gaining experience, but with a nice bit of paper stating I’m intelligent (a highly desirable accessory when you're blonde.)
But that certificate would only represent 3 years worth of academic theory. And as I’m beginning to appreciate, that is not a reason for someone to employ me for a production assistant gig. Recommendations, word of mouth and trusted opinions on my work carry more weight. Having experience on the job, and with kit, far outweighs just knowing how something should work.
So I've decided to stay. (Though I haven't given up my place at Uni yet, just in case!). There are so many more opportunities for me by not limiting myself to University for 3 years. There will be aspects about Uni life that I’ll be sorry to miss out on, but hey! Think of all that money I'm saving!
If you have any comments, advice or questions relating to this dilemma I was in, then I'd love to hear from you! Contact me via twitter; @emmabeanies and @tvbay

Tags: iss054 | university | production assistant | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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