Pointless Degrees

In the UK, we use a search site called UCAS to help us decide where we want to go to University and what to study. You type in the degree of choice or even just a word relating to a degree and suddenly you are inundated with results. At school, it was demonstrated to us simply by typing the word 'pig' and sure enough, at least 10 results appeared to do with the little pink animal. 

This is an extremely sensitive topic, at school I remember being sat at lunch and a particularly bitchy girl was slagging off English Literature degrees. At the time, me and 2 of the other girls at the table had just applied and got offers from University for that very same course. Obviously we were offended, who wouldn't be? But with rates of unemployment going up for graduates and the amount of people earning degrees also rising, people have began this talk of a 'pointless degree'. These typically range from non-vocational degrees that don't lead to a particular path, unlike medicine graduates or education graduates to the more obscure degrees which have come around in the past five years or so, like 'horticultural studies'. Students have begun to treat degrees with a hierarchy, Law or Medical student? You're right at the top. Film and Television Studies? Not so much. 

In my opinion, there are definitely some things you don't need a degree for. You don't need a degree to ride horses and you don't need a degree to learn how to farm. But if you want to go to University for the experience, to meet new people, and if you work your ass off and end up with a 2:1 or a first, whatever the subject. Then who is really to say it's pointless. If somebody comes out of University with a degree in Horticultural Studies but has got their act together, knows what they want to do and used their time at uni to make contacts for once they've graduated then they're far better off than the Law student who didn't really know what to do, thought Law sounded intelligent, ended up hating it, pissed around for 3 years and came out with a 2:2. A pointless degree only exists if you make it pointless. If you make it worthwhile then it can be of complete value.

I think education, much like life, is what you make of it. If you don't want to go to university then good for you. But make the most of the free time, get out there and find something you love to do and earn money. Earn money so you can support yourself and support a family and don't end up living with your parents when you're 40. Equally, if you do want go to university, find something you're passionate about and prove you love it, do extra curricular classes, join sports teams, be active in your role as a student. Just don't let it go to waste. People underestimate the worth of life experience. But if you have one graduate who's never worked a day in his/her life up against somebody who has traveled and experienced new things, met new people, employers will often vouch for the latter. I honestly believe a degree isn't everything, but experience definitely is. Who cares if you don't know what you want to be 'when you grow up', my dad says he still doesn't know and he's 52. It's all about what you make of it, to prove that your degree isn't pointless at all. 

I know this is a very controversial topic, and knowing my majority demographic is teenage girls,  I'd love to hear some opinions and views in comments or through email. 

Ciao for now!


  1. Love this post and completely agree! When I was in high school there was definitely that competitiveness to do something 'smart'. I ended up studying Media and Communications - there was a lot of pressure from my parents to do something more 'worthwhile' (apparently media wasn't...) but I went ahead anyway...my course is pretty crap, it's not very organised and the modules aren't great, but I thoroughly agree it's what you make of it. I'm now doing an internship that has hopefully landed me a full time job when I graduate in a year...there are a number of people on my course who clearly picked it as an easy option to leave home and get pissed...couldn't have said it better myself!! x @iamnotkirsten www.herestilly.blogspot.com

  2. I really like this post, as I just finished my first year in college, I still don't really know what I want to be but I know what I want to do during and after so that's something right? I definitely agree that the whole entire experience is what you make of it, if you don't like school then don't go, or find something else. This was a lovely post, good job! :)

  3. My flatmate does Physics and Maths and has admitted that he couldn't do my English Lit course or my other flatmates' Art History course - peoples brains work differently and therefore different degrees appeal to different people and they wouldn't really exist if they were pointless
    idk, I agree with you
    Jalice till I die x

  4. Very, very well said. I study English and French and people tend to immediately talk about the French in awe, and the English as if it's kind of... useless. The most common question asked in small talk is 'oh, so you're going to be a translator? An interpreter? Oh, a teacher?', and the ridiculous thing is that I don't want to be any of them, and I'm not even sure whether or not I want to use my French at all in a job. I love the language, but I certainly won't be searching for a job specifically requiring my French skills, and the thing is (and what people don't realise), I don't need to. Those that study degrees with an assumed career path such a Law or Economics often see a humanities subject like English as a 'soft subject', because we have less hours, and an incredibly wide range of appropriate career paths. To be honest I would happily have more hours, that's not my choice and it doesn't mean that I don't have to work hard researching and reading texts for myself.

    I also really like your point about degrees in vocational studies such as Horticultural studies. One of my best friends studies Equine Science (horse related), and I spent a very long time confused as to why on earth you would study that when you could get some hands on experience instead. As you say though it's all about the experience. She's had an amazing time at university, she's working really hard, she's enjoying her course and she says that she is learning so many skills she just wouldn't know about had she not gone. So I agree with you that if you believe University is right for you, try to pick a useful course for your career path, and do it for the experience.

    Imogen x

  5. What a good post! I'm studying French and really often I hear the question "So what exactly are you planning to do with it'' as if this degree is pointless, sometimes people ask my why would I study language in a university when there are classes for languages. I am not sure what I am going to do with my degree once I get it but I really don't think this hierarchy of degrees should exist, that's just completely insane in my opinion.
    MiglÄ— x | Meet Me On The Balcony

  6. I am not bloody 53...I am 52!! Dad x

  7. Such a good post! definitely a topic that needs to be discussed more

  8. Amen! I'm glad someone finally said it! I'm currently doing a course called American Studies, and every time I tell people what I'm doing, I'm met with faces of confusion and questions about what the hell I'm going to do with it. The answer is, I don't know what I want to do with my degree, but I really love doing it. I'm obsessed with travelling and the US, so why not put all my energy into studying it? Plus I'm biding time to think about what I want to do with my life, I know had I'd made the decision a few years ago I'd have been completely lost, and stuck doing something I would've ended up hating. At least by giving myself a few more years I'll be in a much better position to decide on my future! xx

    1. Ahhh I was so close to applying for American Studies, I actually have a friend who does joint honours with History and he loves it!! Exactly, if you do chose to go to Uni then you might as well be doing something you love and enjoy, I'm sure you'll come out with a great degree and experience, so who cares what the other humans think! Good luck love xx

  9. I completely agree with you Alice. I study psychology and I can't tell you how many times i've been told that it isn't a "proper" degree. At first I was rather hurt by it and felt like I had been judged as 'less intelligent' or 'wasting my time'. But I soon realised that I may be terrible at maths, awful at physics and even worse at most things artistic, but i'm good with people. I'm interested in how and why we are who we are and what effects our behaviour. My degree may not get me a job in a specialised field without a further masters degree but it has given me life skills and an understanding of people that will be applicable to any job!

    No matter what subject you study the experience of university, if you commit yourself to it, is extremely rewarding. It isn't a substitute for hands on experience, but you can get that whilst you're at university. We get such long summer and Christmas breaks that we have plenty of time to get jobs or volunteer and start to build on and pick up skills.


  10. I love this! I study Dance and soo many people discuss how much of a pointless degree it is, but if I had picked another degree that was less 'pointless' then I definitely wouldn't have been doing as well as I am in my degree! People need to look at it from this point of view more often :) xx