Making the right choice for me - my apprenticeship experience

Mia, Retail, Marketing and Management BSc

When it was time to apply for university, I really didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I didn’t know where I wanted to live, what career I wanted, what I’d study, or even if I’d do well enough in my A-levels to go anywhere.

No particular courses were screaming ‘pick me!!’ and I felt really pressured to make the right choice. I always knew I wanted to go to uni, but I didn’t have amazing predicted grades, and everybody else seemed so sure on what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go, so I went into panic mode and started looking at my other options, thinking I needed my entire future career and life plan sorted within the next week.  

False Starts 

I found a degree apprenticeship at a great company that was local, offered a decent salary and accepted you with just three passes at A-level. It was the first one I found and seemed decent – I applied, and then before you know it I’d had the assessment centre and been offered the job!  

“You’ll be set for life there” 

 “You can earn whilst you get your degree, you’ll have no student debt!”  

“You’ll have so much work experience as well as a degree at the end of it”  

These are just some of the things that friends and family said when I told them I’d accepted an apprenticeship, and it convinced me that it was right for me, so I didn’t even bother applying to university. I was proud of myself for getting the job, but I wasn’t really excited to start. I had a weird feeling about it but just thought it was nerves about leaving school – as soon as I started the job I knew it wasn’t for me. The company was great, the people were nice, and I mostly enjoyed my time there, but Project Management in engineering just was not for me at all… I felt confused, because it turned out I did wayyyy better in my A levels than expected, so I decided to just apply for university and see what happened.

Mia with children during her volunteering experience in Nepal.

This is what happened! Me in Nepal volunteering with LSU Action

Trusting Myself 

I decided to stop stressing about the future and just study what I actually enjoyed, which was marketing and I have interests in fashion and retail. I got unconditional offers from all of my choices, including Retailing, Marketing and Management studies at Loughborough University. I’d been to an open day before and enjoyed it, so I decided to come and have another look around. 

I spoke to some Business students who really enjoyed their course and told me a bit more about student life, and gave me a bit more information about what it’s actually like to study a course at Loughborough. I left the apprenticeship a couple of months into it – it was an amazing opportunity, just not right for me at that point in time. 

Mia standing in front of a Loughborough University banner with three colleagues during her placement year.

Me and my colleagues helping with the Inspiring Minds events during my placement year

No Regrets

As soon as I accepted the offer to study at Loughborough University I felt so much better! I really liked the sound of my course and I wasn’t worried about what the future was going to be like, because I’d be studying something I actually enjoyed.

I definitely don’t regret choosing the apprenticeship because the year out before uni gave me a chance to get some work experience and enjoy myself, and I’m grateful for all the people I’ve met during my time at university so far. After doing a placement year and trying loads of new activities, from various sports to overseas volunteering projects, I’m now entering my final year at Loughborough with a solid set of friends – overall I’m really happy with how things have gone, and would strongly encourage anyone who’s struggling to make a decision to just go with their gut!