Feeling Dissatisfied with Going To University? Learn from My Experiences and Get Valuable Tips

University alternatives blog post image what to do advice post

Everybody tells you exactly what to do to get into university. Every avenue, every grade, every extra-curricular activity. But nobody tells you what else you can do. What other options are out there are how exactly do you achieve them. I learned the hard way so now I can be the one to tell you how to make the process even easier by giving you the questions I asked and the answers I found all in one post. Also as a disclaimer some of the following links may be affiliate links however I do not partner with companies who I am not 100% sure about and therefore none of the opinions expressed are dramatized or false whatsoever. They are either based on facts or my own personal experience so you can trust my recommendations. Ultimately the affiliate links are only a way for me to fund this blog and continue to provide quality content

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Personal Experiences

Over the past couple of months, my conversations have gone a little something like this

Them: How have your university applications gone?

Me: Oh I’m not going to uni I’m goi-

Them: Oh *eyebrows raised in an attempt to hide complete confusion and disappointment* OoooOooh so what are your plans for the gap year then?

Me: oh it’s not a gap year I’m just not going to university

Them: *whips out my A-level results* but why? Look at your grades

Me: *complete confusion at where they got my results when I haven’t even finished them yet* yeah well I just don’t think it’s for me and I don’t want to spend that much money on something I’m not fussed on

Them: *puts away results for future use* ok I just don’t want you to waste your life

Me: *recovering from complete jump to conclusion* oh well I mean you don’t have to go to be successful. It just isn’t the path for me. I want to be able to travel and figure out what is for me

Them: *light turns off and only their face is seen from the candlelight they are holding* You don‘t know what you want!

Anyways, that’s more or less what happens and I mean it’s every single time. And I think it’s just funny when people call it a gap year and I’m just sitting there with my eye twitching and an obviously forced smile like “yup” after they have completely ignored what I’ve said

Actually, in an interview I did the interviewer was like “I see you are a straight-A student but you aren’t going to uni. That seems worrying to us, what’s the issue there?” And I was like WTF I’m not mentally ill (well… not in a way that affected my university decisions)

So yes there is a lot to expect when you decide to not take on a bunch of debt and obviously, I think university experience is a brilliant thing to have if it’s what you want to do but if you don’t want to then that’s also a brilliant thing because the world is your oyster (if you can grow money on trees that is)

And believe me when I say it is pretty freaking terrifying especially when the university application deadline hits and you realize it’s for real now. But now I have tried really hard to find something I’m interested in doing and have a solid plan for the next two years including accommodation and the basic necessities along with being able to travel.

For me, I wanted to become fluent in Spanish, and guess what?! I now have a job in Spain with accommodation included and after that, I am going to Colombia on a fully funded TEFL course. So yeah I would say I’m pretty buzzing.

But if you are in the same boat as me but don’t yet have plans that’s totally fine because I was lucky to have some sort of idea of what I wanted to do and for a while, I had no clue how to do it and it was freaking scary.

Literally, when I told my counselor that I didn’t apply for university HE STARTED TO WRITE SOMETHING DOWN! I was trying to glance at what it was but I’m sure it was something like “lost cause”. Nah I’m joking. I mean he did write something down but he was fairly supportive. He does call it a gap year though so I’m not sure what to think.

What to DO when not going to university

So here are a few words of wisdom from someone who really has no clue what the hell to do but is doing it anyways.


1. What is your interest?

What is that one thing that actually makes you excited or that you find interesting? For me it’s languages so I worked based on that.

If you don’t know what it is that’s totally fine. Before making a commitment you can test out online learning options for literally any topic that you could think of.


You could do this by googling yourself or taking courses on platforms like Coursera where you can get a certificate for it. By self-directed learning, you can hone in on what you enjoy and adapt what you study to what you actually want to do. And it’s great because you don’t really have to fully commit to one thing yet.


Similarly, EdX. Maybe that makes it sound like I’m a dentist giving a sticker to a kid, but it is a program founded by Harvard and MIT so it’s a literal qualification that can legitimately improve your skill set. So if you are wanting to check out different career paths without university or test out how interested you really are about something then this is a great way to invest your time like the 42 million other people who make use of it. And besides, if you complete a course and realize this isn’t your dream career, you can still stick it on the CV and brag about the qualification! It’s a win-win situation. Plus, I feel as though a vocational training program will help to show employers, or whoever you are trying to impress, your independence and commitment instead of learning in a structured university environment where the information is just handed to you. Maybe that’s just my opinion


2. Where do you wanna go?

It doesn’t have to be exact, maybe just an area. Do you want to stay local? Don’t you want to go abroad? Do you wanna get as far away from the place you are now?

It’s also important to know how committed you would be to learning a new language. For me, this was not an issue and there are so many ways that you too can learn a language and really make the most of your experience abroad. I say it is important to understand your language commitment because obviously if you aren’t up for learning a language it is important that you either travel to an English-speaking country or find an English-speaking company to work for. However, if you are fully committed to learning a new language you can apply for a job in a foreign company, or if you can only find English-speaking companies willing to hire you, you can plan other ways you will be able to practice the language and make the most out the experience.


For example, iTalki can probably get you prepared quicker because it’s 1 on 1 tutoring and it’s one the best programs out there.


There is also the classic Duolingo if you are very self-motivated and have a longer period of time to learn a language or maintain the knowledge that you already have.


3. What’s the budget?

For me, it was a matter of how low can you go. Let me tell you I am a stingy ass kinda gal so I was looking for the impossible but let me tell you I found it

But if you got that parent’s money then this may be easier in terms of not needing to find somewhere that pays for accommodation, food, or flights. This may include finding government-funded programs or internships as well as house/pet sitting which is an amazing way that I found a loophole in terms of free accommodation. Of course, this comes with responsibilities and isn’t a long-term solution however if this seems interesting then there are many websites you could take advantage of.

Student universe

However, if these perks aren’t all included, the budget can still be met through different websites like Student Universe. While you may feel the name means only university students can use it, that’s where you are wrong because, yes they do provide student discounts, but they provide youth discounts too. So unless you are in fact a fully grown adult who isn’t in university then I think you will find this website amazing. You can find discounted flights, accommodation, and tours all in one place.

Their entire goal and purpose are to provide students the chance to enlighten themselves and learn through the traveling experience so you can be certain their best interests are always in mind. And if you are curious about how trustworthy they are it is useful to point out their partnership with over 200 airlines like Virgin Atlantic and British Airways to get you the best possible prices. Oh, and of course, they are part of one of the largest travel companies in the ENTIRE WORLD. Flight center travel group! Student Universe is also mentioned in The Mail, Forbes, CNN and The New York Time


You can also search for apartments that are for rent or for sale on places such as SpotAHome, which is more for Spanish accommodation, but obviously, it is simple to find similar sites for other locations


This is the perfect site for you to find the best plane ticket deals and to ensure you travel efficiently. And obviously it’s a well know brand so that always helps me to feel more confident about my decisions. They also provide support around the clock so it’s great for if plans change and you need a little support on what to do next, helping you to minimise costs/money wasting and keep you on budget.


4. Do you know what area of work you want to do (If at all)?

For my entire life, I thought I knew what I wanted to do until I realized I actually have no clue which was a scary thing to realize in my last years of school. So for me, it wasn’t a matter of doing something that would be like relevant work experience but just something that paid.

That’s how I ended up becoming a classroom assistant in Spain and getting a TEFL certification in Colombia despite not wanting to become a teacher whatsoever.

If you know what you wanna do, then slay. But if you don’t know what you want to do that’s also fine because you have so many options and you don’t have to make a long-term commitment.

Trusted housesitters ltd

For example, Trusted Housesitters LTD. This is one company that I found provides all the best features and provides the best safety, in my opinion. Its aim is to provide a safe opportunity for people to either hire or become a house sitter/ pet sitter and isn’t really aimed at helping provide cost-effective travel so as long as you go with the motivation of taking care of animals and maintaining homes then this would be amazing for you to gain work experience and bulk up your CV while also gaining new experiences.

encounters travel

And again, if you don’t want to work right now and want to just live your best life traveling and learning new things then you can make use of programs such as Encounters Travel. This allows you to go to literally wherever the hell you want (literally check out their website they have locations all over the globe) and take part in sustainable tourism either with a small group or by yourself at the best price. And if you don’t trust it then why is it also featured in National Geographic, The Mirror, The Telegraph, The Times, and The Lonely Planet? So if you were to ask me I would say they are pretty legit. Is Botswana your vibe? Or do you prefer Antarctica? Either way, you are covered and maybe this can help you find your passion or encourage you to look elsewhere. And better yet you can get 5% off all tours!


5. Search until you break Google

This stage can be pretty frustrating and may be quite long if your search is literally “work Spain”. The more you can refine the search the better but I managed to do it somehow. I added fully funded and cheap at one point I think lol

Be careful though because you don’t want to end up paying for flights and realizing you are 5 years too late or it was literally a scam. Luckily the options I have given above are all tested and trusted so there should be no need to worry about them. I am affiliated with several of the companies listed above meaning I may receive a small commission to help me keep this blog going but I want you to know that I would never partner with a brand that I did not fully trust had your best intentions and I am in no way trying to change your perception on the brand for my own gain.

But it’s ok to be nervous about some of the options because it is a scary thing. I mean everybody was taught that university was the next step so it’s obvious that doing something other than that is going to be terrifying. But it’s ok because you aren’t alone and you are paving a path for so many other people in the future who may not thrive in that type of education and would find more happiness and fulfillment elsewhere.

So be brave. Take that gap year or don’t go at all because it’s your fucking life and you don’t need a piece of paper to tell you how smart you are! Do what you find interesting! It may be a little difficult to find a way to do what you want within a budget or time frame but if you really want to do it then I know you can achieve it and it will work out for you in the end, so keep making use of Google! Search away because it’s free my gals. And if you are struggling ask a friend or family member or even leave a comment so I can work my stuff and help you out.

Ultimately we are all in this together and I hope this post finds itself in front of someone who needs it. That being said, I hope you have a great day, stay safe and stay yourself PERIODT.



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