Dave: Why you should stick it out with your uni studies
David is a playwright, director and writer, who graduated from a Bachelor of Theatre Arts at USQ in 2007. His career highlights include writing and producing the highly-acclaimed April’s Fool, which was shortlisted for the Premier's Drama Award in 2011.
I’ve just spoken to the fifth person in as many days who is seeking advice after dropping out of uni to pursue a job in their chosen industry without a degree.
I can’t comment on people’s mental health or personal circumstances, nor speak with any great certainty as to the quality of all university degrees these days. However, I think you’re exceptionally brave to consider ditching uni early. There are some exceptions to the rule, but the overwhelming majority of successful professionals studied at university and completed their degree. I think you will find it extremely hard to find a job that fulfils you without the right qualification under your belt.
As an artist, studying at USQ gave me the infrastructure to refine my taste, educate my palette, find my support network and work out my processes. Doing all of that without the structural support of uni would be extremely difficult. And I know I might sound like a snob, but I’m afraid, as an arts student you simply DO have to read Shakespeare, Beckett, Chekhov, Churchill and others to know what you’re talking about within the artistic world. Uni gave me a lot of the maturity and knowledge I needed to get to a place where I could erect an independent production without diving into debt (like actual, serious debt) and despair.
More than anything though, I’m forever glad I stayed in uni because I wasn’t a good artist when I was 19, not that I realised this at the time. I thought I was fantastic, but the idea of charging people money for the stuff I was creating even in my third year of uni is deeply embarrassing to me now. But that’s okay. You need a space and a time where you cannot be good without consequences. Uni is one of the few places where that’s absolutely true.
Not to mention that I met my wife and most of my best friends at uni – who then went on to quite literally save my life and provide the best second family a man could hope for.
You may find uni boring at times. You may think you’re above it. Your classmates may be annoying. Your lecturers may seem out of touch, or on a different planet. You may come back from holidays GROANING. But, I’d ask you to seriously consider the pros and cons of staying at uni. Also, know that your semester-to-semester experience can change significantly.
Talk to as many people as possible before you make the leap, and keep the bigger, long term picture in mind. USQ’s Career Development Team are a great group of people to have this conversation with. They can help you understand where and how a degree fits into your career aspirations and even help you explore other career options you may not have considered yet. You never know where life could take you or what opportunities could present themselves to you as a university graduate. Don’t believe me? Check out USQ Alumna Lauren’s amazing, albeit unforeseen, career path on page 12 of HeyU magazine.
Make the decision that’s right for you in the long run, not just right now.