Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Skip university to travel the world? Sure, if it’s the right decision for you.

Do you remember your parents saying to you “do as I say, not as I do”? Well I certainly do and I’m about to say the same thing to you.

I studied in the UK and whilst I was in sixth form, I applied for university like everyone else because that is just what you did. I didn’t know what I wanted to study or what future career I wanted but I applied for some generic business degrees nonetheless.

Quickly, I realised I did not really want to go to university. Well, not for the right reasons anyway – the partying, meeting new friends and moving out of home sounded great!

I had spent some time in a well-known European bank over summer holidays and school coordinated work experience and felt like that was something I was more interested in than going to university.

School was nearly finished and I had taken all my practice exams providing me with fairly decent predicated grades. At this point, I was lucky enough that my auntie worked at said bank and got me an opportunity to interview for a low-level operations position.

Whilst I waited for my final exam results to come through, I received a phone call telling me I had the role. I was ecstatic and kept thanking my auntie but I will never forget one of the things she said to me – “I may have got you the interview but you got yourself the job”. These words gave me the confidence to propel myself into the real world of work.

The rest is history. I went onto work at that bank for four years. Left to go travelling. Moved to Sydney, Australia. Got a similar job at large investment bank and then became a relationship manager for a software company. Then after another four years in that role decided to get married and quit my job to go travelling with my new husband.

It sounds great, right? Well, I think it does but I’m biased!

Now comes the big “do as I say, not as I do” piece. Skipping university to travel the world can be great and lead to even greater things. BUT it doesn’t mean it is the right choice for every person.

If you know what you want to study or you know what career you want in the future, do the study now. Don’t skip anything, take this wonderful opportunity to learn and develop yourself to be the best person you can. Studying later in life is certainly possible but it is so much harder (and more expensive).

If you are not sure what you want to do after school, consider doing a few different work placements, internships or volunteer work in fields that you think might interest you whilst you are still at school. There is no rush to jump into university or a place of work “just because”.

Take some time to evaluate and really think about what things interest you and where you foresee yourself in the future. Speak with friends, family, teachers or anyone you admire to get inspiration on what opportunities might interest you.

Travelling the world might inspire you but it also might not and then you are back to square one.

Education is an invaluable tool to enable you to achieve great things in life, not only professionally but also personally. Please don’t dismiss further education to travel the world because you see so many travel bloggers on Instagram that seem to have the perfect life earning six figures from travelling the world.

That life is possible and if that is what you absolutely dream of doing then I encourage you to go for it (also be prepared for many hours on your laptop, negotiating with sponsors, writing heaps of content, spending most of your “vacation” time taking photos and writing instead of actually enjoying it and building up your personal shield to jealous trolls). I’m just telling you the reality.

So really, what I am asking is that if you feel that skipping university is the right thing for you then 100% do it. Go for it and don’t let anybody stop you. Make sure you work hard in whatever you decide to do and do it with purpose. Now more than ever it is not a requirement to have a degree to do certain jobs and people recognise that your personality traits are more desirable than a piece of paper.

But please don’t do it because you don’t know what else to do. Or because someone else is doing it and it seems like the easier option.

Take your time and decide what the right decision for you is. You can do anything and you deserve the opportunity to make your life the best it can be.


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