University teaches, well forces, you to teach yourself. If you don't teach yourself at university then you fall into the grades between failing and 2-2. Anything above means you've started to teach yourself, and it's the most valuable skill you gain at university. I'd actually go so far as to say it's the best reason to go.
A job doesn't force you to learn, they expect you to already know, and that's easy. You can sit comfortably in your own little bubble of knowledge and never step past what you already know. You can do just fine with this in a lot of different industries, including software engineering. But you'll never be the best.
University is a golden opportunity for you to learn to learn. If you use it properly, as many don't, you can grow a whole new superpower. That's right, knowing how to learn is a superpower! We've all seen those people who seem to be able to pick up anything and be good at it, those people know how to learn. High performing athletes spend hours learning how to get better at their chosen sport, as should we in academia.
School doesn't force you to understand the concept of learning, sixth-form and college won't either. University does, if you want to do well at University you need to be able to learn all on your own. You're not going to get spoon fed and you're not going to get the best grade for delivering "to the spec". You've got to start stretching your muscles and running on your own.
Do you want to be a professional footballer or on the Sunday 5 aside team? No one is going to turn you into a the professional athlete, that's up to you. University is a training ground that provides you anything from three to ten years of learning to learn. It lets you practice, at learning. That's an absolutely golden opportunity and that's what you're paying for. You're not paying for lab time, you're not paying for lectures or material, your paying for time. You don't get more time, it's always slipping through your finger tips and you've got to decide what you want to do with it.
The Art of Learning - Josh Waitzkin is one of my favourite books. Josh Waitzkin sits there and lays out the foundation of learning for you, he discovered these over years and years of practice and training. The number one thing you notice about the entire process though, is he has taken responsibility for his own learning and training. He's propelled himself to very high levels of chess and push hands, heights that many others would never achieve simply "turning up".
So yeah, University is a waste if you waste it. You're paying for time, so start using it because time doesn't wait for you and you've not got much left.
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