Nathan Cowley/

It is commonly said that it is better you choose a course based on what you love and not what you think you should be doing. So when people abide by this advice, they chose a course based on what they loved doing. What happens at the end of their academic year? Why would some people come up to regret studying whatever course they have studied or regret going to university?

Now, let’s talk about why a lot of people regret going to university. This is not a common issue to talk about because a lot of people preferred to die in silence rather than open up to others especially those of us from this other part of the world, the Africans. There are people who have certainly regretted or are currently regretting going to the university. We don’t like to share our views on certain issues especially issues like this, but those from the western world are so free with words. They can easily tell you how they feel straight away. Okay, it will definitely surprise you to read about reasons why a lot of people regret going to university below.

Research on why people regret going to university

Let’s look at this research published in 2008 in the Financial Newspaper by the Backley’s Apprenticeships in the UK. They carried out a study of why a lot of students and graduates are not happy after passing through university education. At the end of their research, 48% of graduates and students who left the university in the last five years regretted going to University, 44% said that they do not need a university degree to do their current jobs.

What does this suggest? It stands to reason that they are currently working in the fields different from their majors in the university and this is peculiar to most of the graduates today. Looking at the research again 65% of young people felt under pressure to go to university with 34% citing their’s as coming from their parents. 70% said that their parents would have been disappointed if they hadn’t gone to the university, and 19% claimed the pressure came from their friends.

Furthermore, a shocking number of 71% of parents said they would have encouraged apprenticeship over a university degree to their children. 70% percent of employers reported they value degree apprenticeship over a university degree.

Apprenticeship degree


What are these apprenticeship degrees? They are similar things you study in the university over time and why are they different? They are different because you do an apprenticeship degree while on the job, you train from the day one you started working in a company. You can now understand the relevance of apprenticeship degree over a university degree.

So, how then can people stop regretting after their university education? If you have been to the university, you can understand a lot of what happens in the university, a lot of courses are approximately not practical based.

Reasons why people regret going to university?

A lot of young people are over-excited about going to University. They see education as a process, a means of going through one level to the next level whereby after your secondary education or high school you go on to the college, Polytechnic or university because this is what is obtainable in the society.

Andy Kuzman/

As a young person, you are certainly overwhelmed because you’ve just gained admission. That’s a piece of great news! Now, someone just asked you, what course would you want to study? You simply name a course, ”I want to study medicine”. You can recall how an English language teacher in high school or secondary school would ask the students to write a composition about yourself, what would you like to become in the future?. Some students would go on to say yes! We want to become medical doctors because doctors save lives. This is why we want to become doctors. Some of the students would also say yeah! We want to become newscasters just like I wished in my days in high school because I had also wished to see myself on television casting news.

While we aspire to be lawyers, doctors or this and that during that younger stages, none has ever considered the underlying processes required before one can become a practicing doctor or a lawyer. You definitely don’t know the duration of these courses because you don’t know the processes involved, you’ve just said that as a child and you continued with the wish.

You might be unfortunate if you do not have educated parents who can guide you through to what you are going to expect in the process. You then rush into the university with that mindset. after the first year, and the second year, you started feeling as if you’ve made the greatest mistake. It becomes clear that you’ve made the wrong choice and then a lot of people find it difficult to withdraw. At the end of the three or four years of your program, you begin to look as if you’ve just been woken up from a huge nightmare.

Some parents are also not helping issues. They like bragging about their children’s’ attainments. My child has just graduated from high school or secondary school, he or she will soon be going over to the University. Oh, my daughter, she’s now doing her first year, I want her to become a doctor, I want my son to become an engineer or to become this and that!


Have you ever discussed the contents of what is required of a particular course with your child? For instance, your child wants to study engineering have you ever sit your child down to talk about the contents of engineering, different branches of engineering such as civil engineering, electrical engineering, chemical, building, and other branches of engineering. Having analyzed all these branches of engineering, do you go on to ask him or her to make a choice of which aspects they would want to major in or you just just want him or her to go to the University and become an engineer.

If actually you are an educated parent, you would remember that it’s about during the second year that they may sometimes breakdown the branches of a particular course to the students. This was how a lot of people rushed into the university with the mindset of simply becoming an engineer only to realize at the middle that engineering has branches and in each of the branches, you have to go through a lot of processes and practicals in order to qualify as one.

So, most often parents should please allow their children to make choices of the courses they would love to study. Their role is to guide them and not to make these choices for them because they might end up regretting going to university or they might end up feeling bad about their choice of courses because they actually did out of persuasion or simply to please you, the parents.

Another reason a lot of people have regretted going to the university is that a lot of them are not practicing what they studied in the university. Many graduates are working in different fields outside what they studied in the university, they never had the chances to practice that profession which they have spent three or four years of their time and money studying in the university. A lot of people regretted or are regretting because they are currently occupying job positions that do not worth their qualifications, you might be one of them I supposed.

Now, imagine a situation where someone who studied chemical engineering is working as a cashier in the bank, definitely, the person will be feeling unsatisfied and sad! Many graduates are currently doing some jobs that they do not need a university degree to do. They suddenly realized that, and felt that definitely their times and money in the investing were sort of wasted! They felt they shouldn’t have gone to the University if they had known. They would have learned something skillful, they could have trained themselves in some sort of skills or trade.


This is why a lot of people regret going to university because they are doing menial jobs after spending four years in university. They spent money, and their time yet, they came back to pick up jobs that do not require any qualification, jobs that do not worth the stress they went through in the universities. You can now understand why a lot of people are sad and regret going to University.

I am certain you can attest to this because you must have known one or two people that are doing something that they are not supposed to be doing in their levels. Those who proceeded to do a master’s degree or a Ph.D. are also not exempted in this plight because some are equally occupying lesser job positions. Isn’t that enough reasons for people to feel terrible, disappointed and to regret going to university?

Avoid regretting going to university?

Young people and undergraduates can avoid these regrets by making the right choices of the courses they would love to study from the beginning. They should carry out personal research on their cellphones to understand the job opportunities opened to people who study those courses they are interested in. They shouldn’t just go to university because their parents want them to acquire a university education.

Young people and intending graduates can overcome these regrets at the end of their academic year by choosing to study a course they have passion for. Something you would love to do and something you think you should be doing at the end of your educational qualification.

Most importantly endeavor to learn a skill attached to your professional qualifications so that at the long run, if you are unable to find a reasonable job offer in that particular field you have studied, you can start by working with the skills you have acquired. This would definitely put money in your pocket and food on your table while you live happily without regretting much about going to university or not finding a white-collar job.

You can also learn more about why people regret going to university by clicking on the highlighted link. Please do not forget to like, comment, and hit the subscribe button while watching the video on youtube.

Wasting time in school

Am I really wasting my time in school?

If you are already in the university, polytechnic, or institutions of any kind studying any course. You have done your first and second year, perhaps, you were persuaded by your parents or your friends to take up a particular course in the higher institution, along the line you discovered that you are not grasping what is being taught in that field. Dearest young person, please just quit! so that you won’t be wasting your time, your energy and your parent’s money studying a course that at the end, you won’t be proud of it or be doing well in it. So, why not quit?

A hard decision to make

I know it’s hard to quit because you have done your matriculation, rag day on your street and locals. Everyone is aware that you are now an undergraduate therefore, quitting is not something to be considered. On the other hand, a sitch in time they say, ”saves time”. It is better to take this action on time before you end up like most of the young adults who after graduating from the University, at the end of their service year, they looked as if they’ve just been duped! So, please it is better you take a walk on time and make a fresh choice of that course you have passion for.

A case of a medical student

There was this case of a medical student whose parents persuaded to study medicine and surgery. This young man was not doing well in medicine. On one fateful day, their result was published. He went to check out his result and found out that he was withdrawn, as that was the rule for any poorly performing student in medical school. He was so excited and thankful that he could now have his breath and make his choice having fulfilled his parents wish. This young man moved over to the Law Department and graduated with a first-class and he is doing happily well and fulfilled.

It will be more beneficial for you to carry out research about the course you would want to study. Find out the job opportunities opened to a particular course you intend to study. for instance, Know where someone who studied accountancy, quantity survey, mass communication, and others can work. Learn about all these before you take up a given a course.

However, if you did not make this research prior to your startup, and towards the end of year two, you were still not finding it interesting-please take a walk! This would save you a lot of stress and regret. So that prior to, or at age 25, you are already an independent young person. You will be happy with your attainment than at the age of 30, after your National Youth Service (NYSC) program, you still go on looking for another course to study because you totally feel empty about the one you have studied.

It might also interest you to see another video where I admonished young people to stop wasting their time and parents’ resources in school especially when they aren’t convinced about their interest in their majors or course of study. See video here

Thanks so much for your time. I hope my write-ups help.

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1 Comment

Finding a job in Nigeria as a foreign-trained graduate- ChifraneJournal · October 5, 2019 at 3:21 pm

[…] so many young people and graduates regret going to university. You can read more in this article- why people regret going to university and how to avoid this regret Before you consider coming to Nigeria to find a job, ensure you have taken these factors into […]

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