It’s the moment you’ve been working towards your whole schooling career. Your parents are hovering over you anxiously. Maybe your best friend is waiting on the other end of the phone to share the moment. You open your email and there it is. The offer you’ve been waiting for. But as your parents embrace you and your friends congratulate you, that sense of excitement and accomplishment that everyone so fondly looks back on is missing… there’s nothing. You brush it off and blame it on shock. It’ll sink in, its early, it just hasn’t hit you yet. But days and weeks roll by and you still struggle to summon any sense of joy when you think of your offer.

Believe it or not it’s common to feel this way. Yes, a lot of people plaster their offer all over social media, and they talk about it every waking moment to anyone who will listen. They’ve already bought their textbooks, and they comment on every post on the university discussion page. They seem to be born uni ready. But there are just as many people who have doubts, who are unsure and keep their offer hidden because they don’t know what to do yet.

It’s normal to have doubts about uni and if it’s for you. Maybe your final exams ruined study for you and now you can’t bear to go back to it. Maybe full time work is more appealing, you love your job (and the money that comes with it). Maybe you genuinely don’t know if what you applied for months ago and worked for is what you want to do anymore.

So you decide maybe you don’t want to go to uni. But then you start to think: what would people say? There are friends of yours who worked themselves sick all year to try to get an offer like this. You have the best opportunity and you’re not going to take it? What it in a few months’ time you regret it, and wish you’d taken it. What if your job doesn’t work out, and you don’t have an offer to fall back on?

All of these immediate thoughts seem extreme when you step back and look at them, but they can actually be valuable in helping form your final decision. Put them into a pros and cons list – yes I know, pros and cons list is the advice you’ve been given sine you were six years old deciding what to spend pocket money on but seriously, it helps. Ask yourself, if you don’t do the course, what are the advantages and what are the potential risks.

By writing out all the facts you can then look at both options and make a more informed decision. Consider if you did the course, what qualifications you would come out with, how long it would take you, how easy the jobs are to get into once you get your degree. Compare it to what you could do if you declined, how much experience you could gain working in an industry you are passionate about, other study options or if you could use a gap year to travel or just work.

It’s normal to lack the excitement heaps of people have when they’re receiving their offers. But don’t feel pressure to accept yours just because everybody else is excited. It’s okay to not accept it. It’s okay to let the opportunity pass you by. It’s okay to accept it and say ‘nope this isn’t what I want’ and withdraw. It’s never too late to change your mind so take a deep breath, think about your options and remember that whatever you decide isn’t the end of the world.

Caitlin Burrell

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