Is it good to study at university?

In most cases, yes   But I hope you came not just because of the headline, but also the arguments on how to reach that conclusion anyway. This issue becomes especially relevant when, at the end of each winter, more active high school advertising begins, and students of the final issues begin to think more and more about their near future. In a recent post, I tried to summarize some of my thoughts and those of my colleagues who had the same question in the recent past.

At least once a year you have to talk to another student who has a similar idea – who is the university, if you can start your own business right away? After all, knowledge is already available on the Internet, and when you need it, you can enroll in short, targeted courses, and even on a paid job, skills are more valuable than a diploma. It is also interesting that such thoughts are not only in the minds of future informatics, but also in the minds of fans of other fields. So what are special studies at university?


In my opinion, this is the most important advantage of the university after the professional knowledge it has. Studying with dozens or hundreds of like-minded people not only makes learning much easier and more fun, it also helps you build relationships with prospective coworkers or even employers. No other tool can help you get to know people with whom you might be developing a promising startup in the near future.


Studying at university is actually harder than at school, so gradually every student finds the most effective personal way to best remember new things with tight deadlines (so-called deadlines). And real life learning will require constant learning – there are hardly any specialties whose knowledge has remained unchanged for decades. As far as interest is concerned, learning skills and discipline independently is extremely difficult, so the university is just a great medium in this regard.


In reality, programmers spend a lot of time modifying programs and explaining what others have done before them, photographers spend hours upon hours retouching photos, scientists usually drowning in books rather than hands-on experiments. Each specialty also has a big, inevitable boring side, so you can practically feel during your studies whether or not this activity is for you.


Each university has direct contacts with a wide range of British and foreign companies, so you can make contact with employers you are interested in during your studies. Don’t like working for someone else? Often you will also find a department at universities that specializes in helping students set up and develop their startup.


We are living in such a rapidly changing world that it is hard to imagine what our everyday life will look like in a few decades. According to researchers, a significant number of current students will be doing jobs that have not yet been invented. It is the university’s broader knowledge of the workplace and not technology-specific knowledge that should facilitate future adaptability.


The internet is just stuffed with information, and yes, all the information you need to master your specialty can be obtained from it. The only minus is how not to get lost in this information treasure? Unlike self-study, the university offers carefully designed study programs – clear paths to becoming a globally recognized specialist in a given field over time.


Another very useful thing that the university brings is preparation for work in a particular area, not in a particular job. Former teammates who have joined computer science have repeatedly changed both their workplace and their activities (say, from programmers to project managers, analysts, and hair administrators). So I can confidently say that with this versatile information you will be able to migrate between jobs and between jobs without fear.


Gone are the days when students left the university without a bit of touch with actual work. At least while studying at KTU, it takes a few months to work in the company, and performance is usually part of the bachelor’s thesis. Perhaps this does not apply to all areas of study, but certainly a good number of students have a high chance of being employed immediately after their studies at the same firm where they did their internship.


The University is also a very good place to gain experience from the excellent experts in its field. And I mean not only lecturers, but also guest lecturers from companies and talented peers who are surprised by their knowledge or ongoing projects. This is again a great learning aid that will not be replaced by any forums or discussion groups.


Probably the cheapest way to navigate around the world is studying abroad. And how do you miss the opportunity when the university not only collects all the necessary documents, but also often finances various travel and living expenses. And the benefits are obvious – new acquaintances, impressions and professional knowledge, sometimes surpassing that obtained here in UK.


Practically all universities are interested in having a good command of at least one foreign language (usually English) after graduation. But this is just the beginning – there is always the opportunity to learn a second foreign language, with a strong focus on proper and professional language. Of course, the latter improves simply by delving deeper into your field of science, but it is the language used in the vocabulary that often gives out less proficient self-learners.


An unnoticed but undoubtedly positive aspect of university studies is the development of communication. In addition to a great deal of extra-curricular communication, universities focus on group learning and team projects (results often need to be publicized). I have heard from more than one company that they would rather accept someone who is less knowledgeable but easy to communicate / work with than a closed professional who likes to work individually.


While studying, it may seem like some things are off-topic, and you’ll be surprised later in life how a random math or economics course might work. And even not necessarily at work – you can accidentally spark your broad knowledge somewhere in chat, online discussions or even brainstorming  


Even before I entered university, I thought I would be a sophisticated software developer, and during my studies I became fascinated with web pages, discovered photography, started virtual tours, and eventually became … a teacher. Now I feel happy doing my favorite job and I doubt if I would have discovered it all through self-study. The University is definitely helping to open up and provide many tools to do so.


At present, there is no lack of opinion in the public that a diploma is just an ordinary “paper”, but that is not true. First of all, finding a qualified job in UK without a diploma is extremely difficult. Second, for an employer, a diploma is important proof that you not only got caught in some field, but also had the patience and determination to graduate. And thirdly, I know jobs where, without a diploma, you will not have access to well-paid projects.


Competitions, conferences, seminars, competitions, festivals, concerts, exhibitions, camps. I can assure you that at least a few of these events take place every week. Of course you have to keep in mind and study, but it is also a fun life at university – knowledge, dating and eventually new impressions can reach you in the most unexpected ways.


Even though the university is uneven, and some programs of study prepare students negatively, university education still retains some prestige. It is not visible at all, and jealousies that undermine your achievements will always appear, but believe me, respect is there. If you do not believe, try to become a member of the Seimas or an influential public figure without a diploma and you will understand what I mean  


Lots of peers, lots of peers, ongoing events – where else than at university is the best opportunity for you to catch the other half? It is not without reason that most people remember their study years as the most memorable in their lives, because later, believe me, opportunities are rapidly diminishing …;)

What about colleges? They are also engaged in higher education, but there are some important differences:

Colleges are more interested in preparing an employee for a particular job, so it can be a lot of trouble if you think about changing the job area at least a little

College studies are shorter and more focused on practical skills – this is useful for “here and now” work but can be difficult in the face of future challenges

Fellow-citizens, events, all kinds of contacts – there is no shortage of them in colleges, but in universities it is far more

According to scientists, university graduates earn more in the long run and the employment rate of graduates is very similar

In conclusion, is it possible to learn by yourself and become a specialist? In some areas this is possible. Is it worth studying at university? Undoubtedly. Not only do these studies provide a good education, they also have the invisible benefits that are revealed in various areas of life. And finally, I liked the collection of short films made by director Tadas Vidmantas. It simply explains the key milestones of your career – from starting a job search and ending with a happy ending – to finding your favorite job.