Don't know which path to take
Posted: 23/02/16 by Catt Hurman
Hi, so this will be a pretty long-winded question so bare with me... I ALWAYS knew I wanted to go straight to uni once I had finished school and from the age of 14/15 I pretty much had decided I wanted to do Computer Science. But I had alway had a passion for dance and my dance teacher kept pushing and pushing for me to go and train as a professional dancer but I didn't want to deal with all the rejection and uncertantity of emplyment that the industry had to offer, I much prefered the idea of going into a stable career which I knew I would do well in. So it gets to the end of year 12 and I start to realise I could have a shot at the whole dance thing so when I come around to putting in UCAS applications I apply for 4 universities to do computer science and maths and I apply to 1 dance college. Well within a week I have all of my university offers and 1 month left until my audition for dance college. So I go into my audition thinking, if they offer me a degree, that's it, I know it's mean I'll just go off and that will be that. So it gets to the week after my audition at dance college and I get an email saying that I have been successful in gaining a place on their one year foundation course (which has no government funding by the way). So after some 'um'ing and 'ah'ing and some persuasion of the parents I decide to get my arse in gear, find a job and start earning money to pay for this foudnation, in the mean while I also call all the uniervsities I have offers from and request to change my application to deferred entry. So that's all sorted, I'm going to do a foudnation at dance college and I've put down my firm and insurance for university for September 2016 if I decide not to carry on with the whole dance thing. Results day comes around and I've done better than I ever could have expected and I get my place to study Computing Science/Mathematics at my firm choice Glasgow and it's great because I have my backup plan secured. So I start my dance foudnation and it's amazing and I love being there but can't ignore this little voice in my head saying that it was a stupid decision to try and do it as a career, that I won't be happy and that academically I won't be challenged enough. I love dancing but I just don't know if doing it as a carrer will ruin why I love it. Not helped by the fact that my auditions for degrees at other colleges haven't been going well so far. So in the meanwhile I also ring up Glasgow to enquire about the possibility of second year entry and within 3 minutes the admissions officer comes back to me and says yes straight away and so the idea of going to uni becomes even more appealing. But then at the same time I feel after living off of my own back for a year in London and then going back into education it'll feel like I'm going back a step, plus I'm not too into the idea of the social side of uni either. So I start thinking about the possibility of doing a higher apprenticeship because then I can actually get my foot in the door within the industry and get a degree but only have to deal with the academic side. But yes, this is my dilemma, do I carry on with the dancing (provided I get offered a 3 year course from somewhere this year) and train in something I love but then have a career of doing odd jobs here and there whilst trying to hope some casting director notices me and gives me my big break as a leading lady in a world tour of a musical? Or do I go to Glasgow and start straight into second year of a Computer Science and Maths degree when I haven't done either for a whole year and so there's stuff I've missed and need to catch up on and sure I can dance at the unviersity dance company but it won't be the same level of training that I have become accustomed to this year and I'll always think what if, and I'll slave through for 3 years only to come out of uni and straight into unemployment hoping to compete against all the other graduates for a 'proper job', even though I'll only have the expereince of whatever summer internships I would've managed to bag myself over the last 3 years. Or do I carry looking into this whole Degree Apprenticeship thing when yes, I still won't be dancing but atleast I'll have a 'proper job'(ish) for a few years, get my foot in the door industry-wise and get a degree on the side without having to dedicate my whole life to just unviersity. I'm just very lost - can you tell? Please help, I know there's only so much advice that you can give, everyone says the only person who can make this decision is me, but would atleast like to know your thoughts and whether there are any paths that I haven't thought about that I could be better suited to. Thanks, Catt.
That is an interesting and difficult question. The positive aspect is that you have talent and ability but because of this you are faced with choosing between multiple competing options. Your good fortune is only a burden if you approach the decision making process in that frame of mind. As your friends have rightly said it would not be appropriate for anyone to tell you what you should do. All decisions in life carry to varying degrees a loading of uncertainty regarding future outcomes and an inevitable risk that things might not work out like you hoped. That is just how life is. It is your responsibility to weigh up the various factors in both a positive and negative sense and come up with a decision that makes the most sense to you.
I'm not clear why you asked to miss out year 1 of the degree. It may be to reduce the final student debt bill? Just because the tutor said they would let you do this doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good idea. In fact they may have an agenda in saying this which is not based on your own best interest but on theirs. More uncertainty!
In the end a lot depends on how risk averse you are. If you are not really a free-wheeling, risk taking bohemian type then you will probably decide to take the safer option of either a degree apprenticeship (if you can get onto one - they are still in their infancy) or pursuing the maths/computing degree. By the way, it is to be hoped that you have thoroughly researched the course content, teaching systems etc and satisfied yourself that the course will be stimulating and enjoyable. So many people don't bother to do this and end up bitterly regretting it.
On a factual point; higher apprenticeships do not lead directly to the award of a degree but rather to a vocational qualification at level 4 or 5. It is possible to go on later to top that certificate up to a full degree in certain cases - it very much depends on who you are working for.
I think that's all I can contribute right now. I hope it is of some help.
- Posted: 25/02/16