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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

University wasn't for me.

My A levels dragged most of my desire to succeed academically out of me. Most of this was through the stress and pressure I put myself through; obsessing about my grades like it was a religion. By the time I sat my final A levels exams I was drinking by myself at home, no longer giving a shit. (I got two A's and a B). Since then, time and time again I have asked myself; why did I go to university - twice? 

A girl goes to university twice - once for several months, the other for the full two year course - and ends up not even getting a full honours degree. I know most of it was through my own apathy and lack of interest. The truth is, from the moment I set off to York until the moment I finished at The Academy of Contemporary Music, I really wasn't bothered about having a degree. I didn't go to university to get a degree. These are all the real reasons I went to university.


  • because I was depressed and wanted to 'run away' from my imaginary problems
  • because I was developing an alcohol problem and needed an environment to drink in that was socially acceptable (university is a great place to drink until your housemates start to worry about you)
  • I did have a certain interest in Philosophy 
  • I was lonely and wanted new friends
  • I thought that I could go to uni, form a band, become successful and drop out
  • I wanted to live away from home because I was sick of the arguments
  • university life appeared attractive to me

Yes, yes, so many reasons, none pertaining to actually getting a degree. Many intelligent people attend higher education every year across the country (and world), and some will do well, some won't. To those that do; congratulations. To those that don't; ignore Chicken Little. The sky is not falling down, although it can seem that way when your Facebook feed is full of people you'll probably never talk to again proudly stating their firsts and two-ones. 

And proud they should be. Personal achievements and accomplishments are unique to us all. Whatever it means; if you studied hard for something and got a grade you are happy with, that is something to be proud of. Nothing and no one can take that away from you.

What am I proud of today? I am twenty-one years old and I am a published author. Little else in this world matters to me; being a published author is something I have dreamed about since I was a third of the size I am now (and I'm pretty short). I've published two books, and I published them myself. I spent an enormous amount on editing on the first book with my student loan money - I don't plan to spend as much next time but I wanted to do it right, since it was my first. (Thankfully I now know how to format a book). 
Check my books here via my website:

So why did I transfer from York to ACM if I possessed little interest in actually obtaining a degree? More bullet points:
  • to learn about the music industry
  • to form a band
  • to hopefully record an EP
  • to become a better all-round musician and writer
As it happens, I achieved all of those things. ACM may not have been perfect, but all the things I wanted I ultimately achieved. I formed a band, I learned some things about the music industry from my lectures, I am a better musician and writer then I was two years ago, and my EP is in its final stages of mixing/mastering as I type this. 

This isn't my first post on education/university/school stuff. I probably need to create a new category on my blog titled 'Education.' But I will close it with this Mark Manson-inspired message:

Life is short. We are not here for very long. We have to make choices about the kinds of things we want to give a fuck about. This means choosing not to give a fuck about other things. If I prioritise my creative writing over my degree, it means I'll probably be more successful in my writing but not so successful in my uni work. If I prioritise my sobriety over clubbing, it means I'm choosing to spend my evenings snuggled up watching Breaking Bad rather than being out getting hammered and then throwing up and being depressed and possibly ending up in A&E. 

I've made my choices. I know what I want and what I care about. They can be summed up within three bullet points:
  • the people I love 
  • the music I make and stories I create
  • my sobriety
That's it. As long as I have those three things at the forefront of my mind at all times, I know where my place is and what matters to me. University wasn't really for me. I'm not going to moan about how I failed my degree (to my knowledge I will at least achieve a Diploma of Higher Education) because I only failed it by choosing to prioritise other things. To all the hundreds of individuals who may or may not see this post written by a sneezing twenty-one year old girl in her pink leopard print duvet in her mum's house in London, the choice is yours. It doesn't matter what you choose; a degree, an internship, a child, a job, crystal meth - make sure you choose wisely, and own your choices, as it is through this that you will find something along the threads of happy fulfilment.

EDIT: as it happens I haven't failed my degree; I achieved 300 credits so I'll be awarded a BA Ordinary Degree (a degree without honours) in January. So I'll still get a BA in Music Industry Practice after all that! 

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  1. Great post. As you noted yourself, I'm willing to bet you've learned a lot more from the last couple of years than could ever be summed up in a grade. It's important not to let a grade define you or your craft.

  2. This was relatable as well as inspiring thank you for sharing <3

  3. A delightful read--thank you. It inspires a number of thoughts... which, I suppose, is one of the things it was meant to do. I'll try to give you some of them later (and probably in a different venue).


I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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