DSC_4172p
Okay, I'm going all Carrie Bradshaw on yo' asses today. I've still got an outfit lined up (teamed with some A* ramblings) but the night before beginning one of few internships so far this year I thought I'd ask a question that I've been pondering... is it possible to gain a position in fashion, particularly writing, without a university degree?

Alright, so it probably is, but is it as straight forward to gain a position simply based on experience, and your own bare back?

Before I went to university I was incredibly undecided about what I was sure I wanted to study after further education. Up until late last Spring, I was even torn about what I wanted to do. I visited endless art colleges in London, certain a foundation year was for me, then argued perhaps it was photography I wanted to do, and after finally deciding my heart lies in fashion writing and styling I was in a bit of a pickle. After browsing endless courses, many a sob after being declined from my top two choices, I decided to opt for a course in English & Communication studies at The University of Liverpool (which, please don't get me wrong, is a fantastic university- and even better city with some of the lovliest people I've ever met living there). Sadly after a few months of studying the course, which sadly wasn't what I had expected- nor felt I was dedicated to, I left. Following leaving and several 'oh so you've dropped out? are you dossing about now then?' comments, I managed to find my feet again. Since leaving, I've interned at Company, LOOK, blogged for Cosmopolitan at fashion week, written for Miss Selfridge, and have three more internships in the pipeline- but still, I worry if interning and building my blog alone will ever land me my dream job without a degree happily living on my CV? Publications like VOGUE won;t even take on interns without one, so without the top contacts can you get the top job?

I can't lie, I'm scared of going back to university. With fees now soaring, the idea of moving away out of the question for me, and already having made the 'wrong' decision once- it's a scary thought thinking I could make it again. Additionally, to be honest, I really do enjoy interning- the thought of gaining instant skills, contacts and attempting to impress with my tea making skills in order to build a portfolio of knowledge and experience is pretty exciting- but I do wonder if there will always be a little stand out blank spot, where a potential BA should be...

What do you think? Is there a real place for non-graduates in the big world of fashion, or am I asking an obvious question? Answers on a postcard (or below in the comments section, you know...)

x
DSC_4172p
Okay, I'm going all Carrie Bradshaw on yo' asses today. I've still got an outfit lined up (teamed with some A* ramblings) but the night before beginning one of few internships so far this year I thought I'd ask a question that I've been pondering... is it possible to gain a position in fashion, particularly writing, without a university degree?

Alright, so it probably is, but is it as straight forward to gain a position simply based on experience, and your own bare back?

Before I went to university I was incredibly undecided about what I was sure I wanted to study after further education. Up until late last Spring, I was even torn about what I wanted to do. I visited endless art colleges in London, certain a foundation year was for me, then argued perhaps it was photography I wanted to do, and after finally deciding my heart lies in fashion writing and styling I was in a bit of a pickle. After browsing endless courses, many a sob after being declined from my top two choices, I decided to opt for a course in English & Communication studies at The University of Liverpool (which, please don't get me wrong, is a fantastic university- and even better city with some of the lovliest people I've ever met living there). Sadly after a few months of studying the course, which sadly wasn't what I had expected- nor felt I was dedicated to, I left. Following leaving and several 'oh so you've dropped out? are you dossing about now then?' comments, I managed to find my feet again. Since leaving, I've interned at Company, LOOK, blogged for Cosmopolitan at fashion week, written for Miss Selfridge, and have three more internships in the pipeline- but still, I worry if interning and building my blog alone will ever land me my dream job without a degree happily living on my CV? Publications like VOGUE won;t even take on interns without one, so without the top contacts can you get the top job?

I can't lie, I'm scared of going back to university. With fees now soaring, the idea of moving away out of the question for me, and already having made the 'wrong' decision once- it's a scary thought thinking I could make it again. Additionally, to be honest, I really do enjoy interning- the thought of gaining instant skills, contacts and attempting to impress with my tea making skills in order to build a portfolio of knowledge and experience is pretty exciting- but I do wonder if there will always be a little stand out blank spot, where a potential BA should be...

What do you think? Is there a real place for non-graduates in the big world of fashion, or am I asking an obvious question? Answers on a postcard (or below in the comments section, you know...)

x

52 comments:

  1. Uni was always something I was afraid of, I like working and playing with my own money. I never knew what I wanted to do, but knew it was something in Marketing or Events. After leaving college with a Beauty Therapist course (what I previously thought I wanted to do, but soon realised it wasn't) I just wanted to earn money, and gain experience, as my parents had built their way up (now owning their own business)

    I got a job in the call centre of Screwfix and worked really REALLY hard, and volunteering in the head office, I got my job finally! A marketing job in e-com. Workwear to be precise :)

    I did that all by myself, no qualifications. But I do fear if I wanted to move to other corporations they wouldn't appreciate my hard work and experience. (ASOS don't take people unless they have certain degrees) but my argument is... I had worked at Screwfix for a year, got to know the products, customers and company inside out, I had more commercial knowledge than someone fresh out of Uni. I learnt the skills to do my job in three months. A Uni student would have to learn that, and then the company.

    My experience with working in the call centre had given me an edge, I knew the customers from speaking to them countlessly, the uni students that I work with now don't know that. Considering I started in Head Office the same time as students, we have the same knowledge and skills to do our jobs now, but they are still learning about the business.

    Little Miss Sunshine Style

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  2. I'm going through the same terrifying decition now. Im so scared to make the wrong choice! It just seems to me that you need a BA to give yourself the best chance.

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  3. To be perfectly honest since graduating I have felt increasingly like I wasted 3 years of my life doing my degree. It is nearly impossible to find a job in journalism unless it is in sport or business from what I have seen. I've just moved home to intern my way into job because a degree just is not worth anything, it would seem that experience and WHO you know over what you know certainly is.

    Granted there are some thing like learning to interview people confidently and working on my grammar, idea making etc I wouldn't have been able to do without going to Uni but at the end of the day experience is key.

    I would keep interning if I were you, your CV will already look amazing with all those bits on it! Perhaps write some bits of independent magazines etc to show you can come up with article ideas yourself and are really passionate in addition to your blog?

    I wish you all the luck for the future, I know how hard and confusing it can be! :) x

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  4. Olivia, you should not be scared to make mistakes. Because this is life and it wouldnt be one if there were no mistakes made and wrong decisions taken. Every tiny little thing that happens with you, be it a victory or a complete failure, is your incredible experience. Good luck :)

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  5. This is such a thought provoking post. I definitely feel experience has its place in the matter as well as a qualification, but there's no denying that sometimes the lack of one of the latter is impossible to get round.

    I personally have had the option of university taken away from me by disability caused by a head injury, though for years I had my heart set on the academic route so it has been hard to come to terms with. Yet here I am blogging away and I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities I've been given. ^_^

    Florrie x

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  6. I think it's so hard now, I'm hoping to go to uni starting 2013 but am so worried now about not only fees but the standard it is to get in! Stupid competitive fashion industry...

    http://ohmyolivia.blogspot.com

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  7. I think it's so hard now, I'm hoping to go to uni starting 2013 but am so worried now about not only fees but the standard it is to get in! Stupid competitive fashion industry...

    http://ohmyolivia.blogspot.com

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  8. Interesting post. I think people without degrees stand just as much chance as those with degrees in this industry, as the importance of work experience is stressed so much! As is the much clichéd phrase: "It's not what you know, but who you know." I'll be graduating in a few weeks and I'm just as worried as you about finding work, especially in this economic climate where jobs are far and few between xx

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  9. It's such a tricky question and an even harder answer Miss Purvis. I have gone 5 years in jobs without a degree, and only now when I started to apply for another job (just a bog standard) did I get put down because I didn't have a degree.. So what if I don't have a degree, a bit of paper that tells me a number? Who cares. But what I have to offer is people skills, and experience from travelling/meeting new people and also being flexible in every job. So why can't they see this?
    I think it's such a hard thing, because it seems that everybody goes to uni nowadays just to go to uni... You shouldn't have too prove your skills through a degree. I personally don't know about fashion and what it's like getting into it, but I can only imagine it tough! I say, go with your heart. If you aren't to be happy at uni, don't do it. Because I guarantee with a lot of hard work and experience, you will get to where you want to be one day, with or without the degree.xx

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    1. "It seems that everybody goes to uni just to go to uni..." - this is EXACTLY what I'm doing. I've just finished college and if I get the grades I'll be in university come September. Am I doing it because I want to? No. Am I doing it because I can afford it? Definitely not. I know I should go with my heart and that's always going to be the obvious answer, but not going to university and having no guarantee of getting a job (nevermind getting a job which I actually WANT!) is a risk which I can't afford to take.
      I've considered to take a year out to think about things and get some experience/intern to see if that's the better option (it's definitely something which I'd like to do, rather than university). But I live miles and miles away from London and thus I live miles and miles away from any opportunities to get any experience (I can't even afford the train journey there, not to mention the cost it would be to stay there for however long). I've emailed over twenty fashion magazines asking for advice on which route to take and if a degree is more/less/equally important to them than experience, (the choice I make is going to effect the rest of my LIFE, after all) but I didn't get an answer from any one of them.
      I am going to university for the next three years of my life because I have to, because I have no other option. In five to ten years time, when I will be in a ridiculous amount of debt - which I couldn't actually care less about as long as it will al be worth it - I really hope I'm glad I went to university and I don't think 'What a waste of time that was'. I completely understand your situation Olivia, but if I had even half of the amazing internships you've had/are going to have I'd be in a much better position than I am now! So I'm sure it will definitely work out for you, whatever choice you make!

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    2. This. I've been working since I finished college, and now I'm unemployed for the first time in 7 years and all the jobs require degrees. I know people work hard and pay a lot for their degrees but hello? Experience? God it's infuriating.
      x

      Delete
  10. This is a really brilliant post Olivia. I wasn't really sure whether to comment or not as I really don't know a whole lot about 'the world of work' as it were - but I just wanted to say that I personally don't think you will need a degree.
    You have done so, so well with this blog and it's just constantly growing. It sounds like you've done some amazing internships and the fact that you have three others lined up already speaks volumes. From what I know, the experience and contacts you've gained from blogging and internships will be enough to get you into the industry and you clearly have the drive and motivation to do it :)
    I've hated uni pretty much the whole way and I've found that it's actually stopped me from being able to intern which is what I really want to do, mainly because of the amount of money I've spent going to Uni etc.
    Whatever happens you are clearly a very talented and motivated girl and I always get that feeling with you that you're just going to do incredibly :) <3
    Love Holz oxo
    http://beautifulsimplicity-holziepink.blogspot.co.uk/

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  11. I think you have to consider the fact that you've had some amazing internships and possibly beat out people with degrees to secure them. it's no longer about the degree, luck and perseverance plays a huge part in it. getting a dream job is not an easy process, otherwise it would just be a 'job'. Xx

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  12. This has been a question on my lips for the past few months from the opposite side! Despite having a degree and lots of experience as well as my blog, speaking to editors and assistants at internships has made me realise that it's all about little snippets of knowledge, a little luck and lots of dedication to the role, be that on the cupboard floor or at a desk.

    I know you'll go incredibly far in the industry, Liv! Just keep at it, 'network' (obviously not our forte haha) and find new ways to show your enthusiasm for the industry (: xxxx

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  13. Such an honest post and one that applies to so many people! You are so brave for sticking to your guns and knowing that uni wasn't working for you and wasting 3 years doing something your heart wasn't in (exact same thing happened to me and after 3 weeks into my business degree I knew it wasn't 'me' and was luckily accepted onto the classical and archaeological course- something I felt passionate about).
    You have done so much in the space of a year I'm sure a lot of people could only dream of, your internships and opportunities obviously reflect that people know how talented you are. I think you don't need those two 'BA' letters sitting on your CV, whilst arguably some do for certain careers.
    So I would say enjoy your up-coming internships (I've been rejected from so many summer placements for not having prior experience in that field....god knows how that works- it's meant to be an experience!)
    Sorry for such a long waffly comment but hopefully you get what I'm trying to say- just keep doing what your doing :) xx

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  14. Im allot younger than you, but i know that fashion is what i want to do and im so unsure of the career path to take and what the different elements are. I know exactly how you feel, and reading this you should be honored you have took part in company magazine. This is actually one of my goals as i am such a huge fan of company. Whatever your life lands you, you will always take on great experience. I can't comment much on advice for you, as i have no idea myself and my paragraph may mean nothing to you. But i hope you get where you want! Good luck(:

    http://thefashiondistrictnlc.blogspot.co.uk/

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  15. I really love that you have sparked this conversation :) The degree versus experience debate is one me and my friends (and our BAs) have far too often.

    In some industries (like fashion *sob*) a degree can be a useful first step. You need huge amount of work experience, internships and contacts to make a start in your career, and a degree can provide those things as part of the course.

    But there are always exceptions :) The list of placements you have had is amazing, and I think the fact that you've managed to do it yourself rather than through a university makes it all the more impressive. Companies who have a 'graduate only' policy would be mad to dismiss people who have done so much based on just hard work. You are clearly destined to go far - eat your heart out ASOS ;)

    love Helen x

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  16. To me I believe it's the person that should stand out, and be best for that job regardless of a BA or not. BA's to help a person gain skills and so forth but for instance I studied Fine Art which hasn't set me up for a job at all, the mind frame is all different to an academic course. I'm worried of not obtaining my dream job due to confidence, and being shy.

    Don't kick yourself for dropping out, you dropped out for a reason. You could have stayed on and hated it but it may have made you feel completely rubbish inside, doing work that you had no passion in would probably never get you the grades you wanted so you saved a lot of money!

    Degree's basically just show the employer that you have the patience to stick at something for 3 years, I've been told that a few times. You have internships though, and a lot of them, so they show the exact same thing! There was a collumn in glamour magazine I think... got to have been last year, and it told the story of 3 girls who landed their dream job without a degree! It took them time, years and years but they landed it! So keep doing what you're doing and don't regret what you did, it wasn't a decision you just thought to do one day, it must have taken serious thinking so like I said don't knock yourself for doing it.

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  17. Olivia babe such a great post for all us girlies to read! I spend 3 years at uni doing something I absolutely hated and wished I went out there and tried to gain knowledge in the fashion world years ago. I agree with all of the above comments! KEEP doing what your doing...you have some amazing experiences to date...your CV must be amazing! Follow your heart and what your good at <3

    www.diamond-solitaires.blogspot.co.uk
    SHYLA x

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  18. I worry about this too. I've just gotten a BA in Commercial Music and am preparing for my Honours year; my ambition definitely lies within journalism but I'm not sure it's music journalism I want. My course is not music in the way of playing instruments, it's more about the industry, popular culture and even philosophy. My dissertation will be on music journalism, and through my course, I interned at the UK's biggest media magazine earlier this year. Also through my course, I set up the website A Girl's Guide to Glasgow (see, none of this sounds particularly music-related!) which I hope will be valuable additions to my CV alongside my degree. I'll also be interning at local newspapers next month.What worries me is that my degree isn't in journalism, although most people in the field don't actually have journalism degrees, which helps to settle my mind a little. I just worry that I won't be able to intern in order to help me get a job when uni is finished next year; I live 500 miles away from my parents and pay for my own flat, unpaid internships just can't be an option. This makes me wonder, is my degree enough? I've been told an awful lot that experience is what is more important, but I feel your worry about not having a degree, or the 'right' degree. I think you are terrifically lucky in the sense that you have managed to get some amazing internships at huge companies, which should make your CV incredibly appealing, with or without the degree. Good luck, I know we will all need it, but hopefully everything will turn out just wonderfully :) x

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  19. I kind of felt forced to go to university by my parents and over achieving older brother and also got rejected from my top two choices. I ended up doing a degree which I was in LOVE with in first year. I've finished my second year and I couldn't be less inspired. Going into my third year, I really don't care about what grades I get, I just need to get out.

    What I have loved is learning. And meeting incredible people. And having independence. But, maybe it's just the beatnik in me or I'm just hopelessly bohemian, but all I want to do is write.

    I think passion and talent are all you really need to make it - at anything, not just writing - and I think you have that in abundance. Your talent at writing and eye for fashion shine through in this blog and hasn't gone unnoticed. Your even way ahead of most people by getting so many internships.

    Making mistakes is what makes us human and I admire you for admitting you made the wrong choice in going to uni the first time around, but you've made that mistake and you can now learn from that. Whatever you decide, your spirit will carry you through to success.

    Alina x

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  20. I went to Uni and it was honestly the best experience of my life. Unfortunately when I was deciding what to study, I didn't really know what I wanted to do with life so studied Business Studies. I knew after 4 years of studying that my heart was in the fashion industry and writing and I now really wish that I had studied something along those lines. I was recently passed up on a job because although they "really liked me" they decided to go with someone with a "more specific journalism degree". To be honest I was pretty crushed. Just because I haven't studied journalism doesn't mean that I wouldn't do a better job than that other person.

    I don't want scare you or anything but I just wanted to share my own experiences. I think a degree is important but you definitely need to be 100% sure in the chosen subject.

    xxxx

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  21. In a way degrees don't matter now, there are too many of us Graduates out there with essay writing skills and not much else! I don't regret my degree but I wish I'd taken the time to think about it more.. If you go to Uni in London I'd say do as many internships as you can because it seems no one cares about your degree they just care about who you know!

    Good luck in making your decision, as long as you're happy it's all the matters and there's no point in dwelling on mistakes or regrets, just live and go with it!

    x

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  22. I went to Uni (in Ireland) and hated every single second of it. I was going to leave so many times but was convinced that a degree was the only way I would get anywhere as I want to do beauty journalism. After finishing in May, I started an internship at one of Ireland's beauty mags and haven't looked back since. But we never discussed my college results, or if it was relevant. It wasn't brought up at all. It really is about who you know and what experience you have - I'm convinced one of the main reasons I got it was because I had a blog (and the blogging scene would be miles smaller here in Ireland). So definitely keep up with the internships and get as much experience as you can because at the end of the day, that's what employers will be looking at - not a course you did in something you hated. Its all about experience!

    Hope that makes sense, even a bit! Good luck :) xxx

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  23. I'm kind of worrying about this as well. I left uni prematurely this time last year and - although I don't intend to go back - I often wonder where do I go from here, especially considering I live nowhere near London for internships. I hope you figure everything out soon x

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  24. A lot of journalistic positions require both a degree and/or an NCTJ diploma or certification. But even I - with my degree, NCTJs and blog - am finding it difficult to gain internships and work experience, let alone a full-time job. It's a tough market, and yes, some places look for graduates, but experience is always key.

    Oh, and if you're looking for a good media degree, I've found Multimedia Journalism at Bournemouth University is excellent.

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  25. This post is so refreshing with its intimacy and honesty. I often wonder about the true worth of a degree nowadays, too. I take English with Creative Writing at University with no real plan once I've finished! I took English because it's always what I've enjoyed most, and decided to add Creative Writing once I had found that it had been my favourite module over the first year. Also, I just assume that an English degree is broad and acknowledged enough to help me land a decent job once I've finished!
    I've struggled at University right from the beginning (even with living at home the entire time), and I've stuck it out purely because it makes my mum proud, but I've been lucky enough to see the pros and cons of being with and without a degree from members of my boyfriend's family. I'd say to just make sure you're happy. You can always start a degree in a few years time if you feel like you need more; there's no rush! Without a degree you just need to become established and work your way up which, in the long run, I think counts for a lot more!
    I hope you find happiness in whatever you do! It's clear to see that you're a smart girl who has an amazing, thoughtful outlook on life. xoxo

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  26. I say don't stress it. I dropped out aftermy first year at the Uni of Nottingham but still ended up digital marketing manager at Vice. Hard work, dedication, enthusiasm, talent and a big pair of balls count for a lot more and you know I think you have all those things in spades ;)

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  27. Thank you so much for writing this post, it's so relevant for me right now. I'm waiting for my A level results to study a fashion marketing degree which I really want to do. The course gives you so many opportunities, which without and contacts in the industry I'm sure I'd never get. However, it's a hard course to get onto I'm pretty worried about my grades and the comments on this post and your personal experiences have reassured me that if I don't get the required grade it won't be the end of the world and I can still work in Fashion xx

    http://alicesstylenotes.blogspot.co.uk

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  28. Also, whenever I was looking for a new member of staff/intern the first thing I'd do would be to check out their online profiles. I think your blog would be seriously impressive to anyone thinking about employing you in publishing/fashion. Alongside your amazing internships at such big names, I think you would be a brilliant.candidate and I would definitely interview you! Also, don't be put off when job ads ask for a degree. I've had interviews even though the employer has wanted a degree and I've applied regardless. Good luck!! Xxx

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  29. I can totally agree with this, I'm in my second year of a degree but am finding it incredibly hard to get any experience or internships etc. The fact that you have gotten such impressive experience will stand you in great stead, whether you have a degree or not!
    Your blog is also so well known and extremely well written, so I'm sure you'll do brilliantly in whatever you want to!

    www.littlekjf.blogspot.com

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  30. I don't think you should qualify whether you should do something based on 'will it get me a job at the end of it?' - instead maybe try thinking 'will I enjoy it?' 'am I passionate about this?' and 'will I learn and grow from the experience?'

    This might help your decision. I hope your internships are paid. Best of luck and your blog is brilliant by the way, you are clearly a talented girl!

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  31. To be honest, I would like to ask you how you managed to get such fantastic work experience placements because let me tell you, competition is getting bigger and tougher and thus far, I could not get experience in fashion at all (which is quite depressing). But regarding your question, I think it is possible to find a job without ever having a BA degree and let me tell you why: because many of the greatest UK journalists don't have one and I think you should learn to play up your own experience. Nowadays, I feel people care more about experience than a degree, with so many people already having way too much education. I expect you'll find your place in fashion because you clearly have something they like (otherwise you wouldn't have been given work experience or internship placements). I would really love to pick your brains about your experiences!

    x Joana

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  32. I wish I knew, Liv. I won't leave a long, rambling comment as everything I could possibly say has been mentioned above, but even with (well... I'm on my way) a degree, you still feel ridiculous amounts of doubt. I'm finding it impossible to get internships with magazines, so you've one-upped me! You'll make it though, for sure (: xxx

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  33. This is so bizarre! I'm 19 and started at Liverpool (John Moores - got in through clearing) last September, doing history of art. I have since dropped out as well (but waited until almost the end of the year to do it, march/april time but didn't really go in towards the end!) I know how it feel to have all those 'oh, so you've dropped out? and you don't have a job yet?' comments haha - i'm pretty much still in the thick of it at the moment, though not for lack of research into different industries i could try to go into (such as tv/film production, - was going to apply for work experience/internships but it just didn't happen). I haven't really been as proactive as you but in fairness i've not been out of uni as long and i still don't really have a clue what i want to do - i just know that i'm creative and want to go into something interesting no matter if it means me working my butt off for no money to get to where i want to be without a degree. Like you i don't like the idea of going back to uni, especially not at the moment what with fees, the fact that i don't really know what i'd study and my own ideas that experience and perseverance can and should equate to what you would get out of a degree, even though i know i can't really talk seeing as i've not done anything yet! Anyway, i'm going to have to stop rambling so what i wanted to say is i would encourage your doing internships and the like over a degree and not to go back to uni because you think you should. We're fed the idea all the way through school, 6th form and beyond that we won't get anywhere without a degree nowadays but from what i saw at my uni/course (although you were at a better uni so maybe it wasn't the case), it's all fur coat and no knickers stuff. Not having a degree may mean that you can't just jump ship to an internship at Vogue but after three years plus of non-stop experience in the industry and a lot of determination, i don't see why you wouldn't have as much of a chance as a graduate with getting any kind of work it took to work your way up in a magazine as big as vogue, elle etc. I reckon we should start a revolution! Haha i'm probably getting ahead of myself but anyway, even though i don't know what i want to do, i've decided to go to either Rome or Paris for a year to au pair for a year(already talked with families and got firm offers in both cities so i'm deciding atm). I'm hoping to gain language skills, have fun discovering a new country whilst doing what i can online etc to get into writing (i wrote a blog last year and plan to start a more professional one v soon to help this) as i've realised that while i looked for some fancy degree to go and do because i thought i 'should' go to uni, the thing that i've always enjoyed doing the most and have been best at throughout school etc is writing - so why not. Also, to be fair, i'm the absolute shittest at studying things i don't want to. Don't let the lack of degree stop you from getting to where you want to be - prove to those that think it should wrong. Shit this was long and i probably sound like such a tool but anyway - good luck & great blog - judging by it's success and the fact that you're the same age as me and look where i am, sat on the sofa jobless haha, i'd say you're going to go far! x

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  34. I have a degree in journalism that has gotten me absolutely nowhere, if you're lucky enough to have internships and experience behind you then you're already ahead of the people that studied writing. Keep at the work exp, that's all they care about in the end x

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  35. I've just found your blog and I love it! Found this thought provoking post and read all of the comments so I thought I'd share my own experience and add to the discussion!

    I've just finished the second year of my degree in Journalism I'm studying in London (I'm originally from Bournemouth.) During my time at university I have interned at Company, The Times Fashion, Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph Fashion, GQ twice, British Vogue and I'm going to New York at the end of this week to intern at NYLON magazine!

    The reason I'm saying everywhere that I've interned (and normally I actually feel uncomfortable talking about it because I so don't want to seem like I'm bragging) is because that even after all of this experience I still feel that getting an actual job at one of these publications is extremely difficult!

    The truth is that proper jobs aren't out there at the moment, while there are a few positions at entry level (normally one year long contract paid internships) they are paying minimum wage and the amount of girls even applying for those positions is overwhelming.

    While I was at Vogue, there were amazing girls aged 23/24 working for 6 month/1 year contracts on a low wage but once their time is up they are still out looking for another, more permanent position. The managing editor of Vogue is an amazing source of inspiration and when I asked her about the job situation she said that they : "pay low because someone always will work for that little money and there are no jobs because people are holding on tight in this recession!"

    All that being said, the fashion industry is yes, incredibly tough, but also extremely rewarding! Working within something you love is of course a dream come true so it IS worth it! The industry is really changing and I've learnt so much from spending time in these environments! While not having a degree can feel like a gap on your CV, experience is what people look for, trust me!

    If you feel that you'd be more secure having a student loan to support you over the upcoming 3 years then a degree is worth it, but not everywhere is as traditional as Vogue and Conde Nast in terms of needing a degree (nobody's ever asked me about mine!) On the whole, experience and a good portfolio is worth far more than a 2:1 which everyone has!

    To conclude this absolute essay (sorry!) all those who have just graduated feel exactly as you do and getting a job really is difficult for those with or without a degree! The job market is changing and experience really is everything; be as proactive as you can and forge your own path - degree or no degree anything is possible! Especially with a great blog like this to back you; the possibilities are still endless, it's just the approach that is now slightly different! x

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  36. I've just found your blog and I love it! Found this thought provoking post and read all of the comments so I thought I'd share my own experience and add to the discussion!

    I've just finished the second year of my degree in Journalism I'm studying in London (I'm originally from Bournemouth.) During my time at university I have interned at Company, The Times Fashion, Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph Fashion, GQ twice, British Vogue and I'm going to New York at the end of this week to intern at NYLON magazine!

    The reason I'm saying everywhere that I've interned (and normally I actually feel uncomfortable talking about it because I so don't want to seem like I'm bragging) is because that even after all of this experience I still feel that getting an actual job at one of these publications is extremely difficult!

    The truth is that proper jobs aren't out there at the moment, while there are a few positions at entry level (normally one year long contract paid internships) they are paying minimum wage and the amount of girls even applying for those positions is overwhelming.

    While I was at Vogue, there were amazing girls aged 23/24 working for 6 month/1 year contracts on a low wage but once their time is up they are still out looking for another, more permanent position. The managing editor of Vogue is an amazing source of inspiration and when I asked her about the job situation she said that they : "pay low because someone always will work for that little money and there are no jobs because people are holding on tight in this recession!"

    All that being said, the fashion industry is yes, incredibly tough, but also extremely rewarding! Working within something you love is of course a dream come true so it IS worth it! The industry is really changing and I've learnt so much from spending time in these environments! While not having a degree can feel like a gap on your CV, experience is what people look for, trust me!

    If you feel that you'd be more secure having a student loan to support you over the upcoming 3 years then a degree is worth it, but not everywhere is as traditional as Vogue and Conde Nast in terms of needing a degree (nobody's ever asked me about mine!) On the whole, experience and a good portfolio is worth far more than a 2:1 which everyone has!

    To conclude this absolute essay (sorry!) all those who have just graduated feel exactly as you do and getting a job really is difficult for those with or without a degree! The job market is changing and experience really is everything; be as proactive as you can and forge your own path - degree or no degree anything is possible! Especially with a great blog like this to back you; the possibilities are still endless, it's just the approach that is now slightly different! x

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  37. hey liv :) its maria just wanted to say do not be scared! my friend Tamsin went to do philosophy at essex and decided it wasn't for her then she went home worked a lot, the next year she did a foundation course and now shes off doing a fine art degree. Its really hard to know what you want to do but don't let the fact that you "got it wrong once" stop you from trying again. Have faith! in the mean time you've built up a very impressive list of work experience you've definately used your time wisely and you should be very proud of that. Remember you can do what ever you want to do ! good luck and keep up the blog! ... p.s. that playsuit - looks - amazing.

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  38. I'm currently studying journalism at uni. When I applied I was pretty sure that's what I wanted to do, but now I'm un-sure. I think experience etc would rally benefit me and I'd really like a career in fashion of some sorts, probably writing. Whilst a degree can look good, I think companies really value experience. I'll probably start searching for internships for next summer etc so that I've done a variety of things. Saying that, I'm enjoying uni and as I'm not 100% sure what I want to do once I finish, at least for now I'm doing something I enjoy. x

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  39. My advice is to carry on doing what you're doing now - it sounds like you have tons of opportunities available at the moment and if you're enjoying them it would be silly to go to university which is something you potentially won't enjoy. If it ever becomes a big problem not having a degree then you can just go to uni later, it's never too late! That's my plan anyway, I did an art foundation last year, well I did half of one, failed in the end, possibly due to the fact I went and worked/lived in Berlin and Southern Italy... and I've now deferred my uni place for September. To be honest I have a lot more respect for people who take a few years out and gain more experience because I think for most people going to uni straight after year 13 isn't the right thing to do, sure there are some people who know exactly what they want to do and it works out great, but for most people it's impossible to know what we want to study because we have limited experience of life outside school! Don't be afraid to take the less mainstream choice.. and remember if it ever is a problem that you don't have a degree, you can go back to uni at any point in your life! Woo! xx

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  40. I'm going to talk more of a general sense, as the whole fashion writting and that area I know little about. I think it's sad that you said about Vogue not touching people without degrees, because they need to!
    You getting all those interns and doing what you have done is amazing, and you've done that by your self. You're very talented (and I fancy you a bit, but that's got nothing to do with this- ha!)
    I think people do look at experience, as a younger person looking for jobs I think what grades you have and what Uni you've been to does count more, which isn't right. You get to a certain age and the experience you've had does you 1000X times better. When my friend looked for jobs after he got a 1st degree a few wouldn't touch him because of this reason. So what are you meant to do, and at the same thing but opposite. My friend got a 2:2 and has worked her way up in a company (NOTHING TO DO WITH HER ART DEGREE) and they're paying for her to do a marketing course, and she has fabulous experience with event management, PR and general office work- for her, this has been a billion times better for her than her degree.
    I think a degree shows a level at sticking to something, seeing it through for X amount of years, and if nothing else I guess that's what people look for.
    I am 24. I have never been "Career minded" and 3 1/2 years a go I decided what I wanted to do, and am STILL in training for that. Fast forward to now, and I feel in a huge rutt and am worried thinking this job isn't for me, and at this age it's hard to do something else. I've got a meeting/chat with a fabulous wedding planner on Thursday & fingers crossed I'll be able to get something under my belt from her. But I can't leave my job, I have a loan and a flat to pay for. I can't give up on Veterinary Nursing because I've spent 4 hard years trying to get qualified.
    WOW, went off course a little bit there.
    I think you need to do what you think will be best, and if you want it, you'll get there. You will never know if it was the right thing to do or not, because you won't know how the other way turned out
    <3 x

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  41. Hi, I haven't ever in my life commented before on any blog, let alone your blog! But I feel I have something relevant to say... my sister-in-law works is a fashion magazine senior editor who worked her way up, and her two sisters both work in fashion as well (one designer and one freelance stylist). I asked her for some advice for myself and ended up having a very long, frank, eye-opening discussion with her. I'm not actually involved with fashion at all but find it very interesting so I'm going to share what she said and maybe it will be of actual benefit to you or somebody else (I read the blogs of some of the commenters too - Rebecca and Ciara!)

    On degrees -- My sister-in-law works is a fashion magazine senior editor who worked her way up, and her two sisters both work in fashion as well, one a designer and one a freelance stylist (both parents in fashion industry too!). She worked as local news journalist initially, moved to lifestyle and eventually into fashion. Speaking to her, she said that she rarely checks for a degree and that generally in all journalism, degrees such as Creative Writing, English Language or Journalism are passed over anyway and that although this rarely gets said, traditional, senior type figures place no value or merit or those kinds of degrees, preferring "hard" options such as History, English Literature etc. Most senior workers in fashion publication never studied fashion at university level and there is still a kind of frivolity attached to degrees in fashion/marketing.

    She said for journalists going straight into fashion that there are many degrees and qualifications existant that she and her contemporaries completely ignore and can actually count against graduates (some based on the university) because of the perceived "type" of graduate certain universities create. She instead goes largely on the person and their experience.

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  42. On bloggers - She also said that she, like many other publications are wary of bloggers as actual journalists for the paper. Her actual phrase was "We keep the bloggers at arm length - we flirt, we never marry". Bloggers can provide exposure (i.e. having blog awards, using bloggers as models or having DIY features from bloggers etc) but that bloggers as actual members of a team she, and other publications tend to avoid as she said bloggers have become largely stereotyped in the publishing world at least as often having poor writing skills (she said bloggers are always checked for their writing normally across their archive, not just the most recent post- her advice to my blog friend was to have a look what her most popular posts were), using too much slang/lazy reporting, lack of clear individual style and voice (which she said was in part due to the media grouping bloggers together, i.e. "trend x is taking off in the blogosphere) and being highly independent and therefore poor team players. Her sister (designer) said the opposite was true for them and they liked to have well-known bloggers (i.e. 8000 followers plus) working in promotional roles for the added exposure. She says the fashion world have adjusted to the importance of bloggers in a promotional and marketing capacity but that she thinks design and inspiration don't come from bloggers (which fits in with what my sister-in-law said about magazines wanting to be involved with bloggers but not at a direct level).


    On experience - She said it is almost 100% on the people and that personally amongst her writers she wants to have clear, recognisable individuals rather than "identikit" fashion grads and that with so much of fashion media now being user-generated she looks for candidates who are a massive contrast to other applications and have wide-ranging experience in many fields (i.e. styling and promotion) because it is often all hands on deck and she prefers applicants who have lots of different experience rather than experience all in a similar field.

    So maybe you can benefit from the advice I was given! For background context, I'm 22 and have a masters degree in the totally separate field of music so I don't her advice was biased towards me or anything like that!

    My sister-in-law did mention specific universities, bloggers, brands and magazines but I don't want to type them up here but if you want to e-mail me for actual names I can pass them on :)

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  43. I'm kind of in a bit of a pickle also. I'm starting a photography degree in september, but have this worry about whether it is actually what I will want to do in the end. I'm not too sure whether it's my love or not and as i've only just started blogging etc I wouldn't want to put all my eggs in one basket and go for something along these lines.

    http://studsanddreams.blogspot.co.uk/

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  44. i, i'm a textile design student (finished 3rd year), and i feel the same but kinda opposite to you. all i can think of is that i'm wasting my time, yet enjoying it, but while you and other bloggers/youtubers/etc are out there i worry about my next presentation. until i get to the point of asking is this BA is worth my 4 years of study?! you need to remember, that you will have the experience that many like me wouldn't have. and i believe that if you are talented and believe in yourself you will accomplish everything. so maybe you are not taking the expected way, but who guarantee me that i will get my dream job with a BA... i got a bit carried away, i think that you are talented, and trust yourself! i already am:)
    take care, nofar.
    btw i read your blog more than a year now, i'm just not a 'replying' person, but when i saw you question yuorself, i just had to.

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  45. This is a great post. I've just finished my first year at uni studying English Lit and Creative Writing (in the view of becoming a fashion writer), and part of me does wish that I could cut out the middle man and just jump into internships and placements. I look at what I'm doing on my course, and then I look at people like you who are actually out there actively building their portfolios, and I do wonder whether the degree I'm dishing out so much for really is worth all that.

    Personally, one of my main incentives for going to uni was to get away from my family home in Cornwall, so I'd be able to stretch my wings in the real world. It seemed the only way I could afford to leave home at that point was by going to university, which is quite sad I suppose, but in the end the scales did end up tipping in the favour of university.

    I do love my course, and I know that I will appreciate my degree in the years to come, but I do often wonder 'what if?', and wish that I'd had the courage to just jump in and apply for internships and the like without a degree. I'm very impatient, and two more years at uni feels like a lifetime!

    You're so determined and talented, I'm certain that there are very bright things in your future - with or without a degree! x

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  46. This is a really interesting post and I love reading all of the comments too. It's definitely something that I have struggled with for the past 3 years.

    After I finished my A levels, I was due to go and study English Literature. I interviewed for Cambridge University but ended up selecting Loughborough as my first choice. I chose to study English because I was genuinely good at it all the way through school. I got really good marks and really enjoyed writing, analysing and researching. But it's for this reason that I decided NOT to study English. I didn't want to be stuck reading compulsory literature for hours a day, I wanted more freedom. I also felt like everyone was going to uni to just pass time and I wanted a more valuable experience.

    I have worked in retail for 3 years now and worked my way up to a position as a Buying Assistant and I feel like I have got more experience than anyone else that I left school with. I think you have done fantastically well to get so many internships, it's something that I aspire to be able to do. That experience is invaluable and anyone would be lucky to have you!

    I think that because so many people are going to university now (even if it is just to pass time) it is becoming almost expected and that is why some companies are only considering people with degrees. I honestly think that sometimes it is the smarter thing to do to NOT follow what is becoming the conventional route.

    Having said that, there have been changes in the company that I work for which mean that I am unable to progress any further and I have decided to go and study for a degree in Marketing, starting in September. I am so excited! I was NEVER excited about the prospect of university before now. Fees aside (that was what I was really worried about), is there something that you would be passionate enough about to study? If it feels right, go for it. If not, you will 100% find an alternative route :)

    Love your blog :)
    N xoxo
    http://breathebeautyfitness.blogspot.co.uk/

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  47. Ooh, I can't comment on this post in reference to what you want, I don't work in fashion so have no idea! I'm just excited because I did English and Communication Studies in Liverpool, it was a great course but I can't completely understand why you would have dropped out! I'm sure something will come along for you that will be perfect, just keep doing what you're doing because your blog is great :)

    allaboutthegirlblog.blogspot.com xx

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  48. Personally, I would say that the path is equally as frought - for those with AND WITHOUT a degree.

    Though with the experience you seem to have acquired already and this lovely blog of yours, I've no doubt you'll land your dream job in the future!

    Rosie x

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  49. In my opinion, I don't think there is an answer to this question sadly - sorry! I've met & spoke to lots of people in the industry, and at my Uni we've had so many industry guest lecturers, and what I've learnt from them is that they all got to where they are now in completely different ways. But something almost every single one of them said is that they just 'fell into' the line of work they are in now.
    I used to worry about what it was I needed to do to get where I really, truly want to be. But now I just work my hardest, and trust a little bit more in fate - which has finally landed me my dream job :)
    x

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  50. I've recently stumbled upon your blog and it's now at the top of my favorite blog list!

    This is probably a little late but your situation is incredibly interesting, as i'm living in a similar dilemma. I took a year off uni after high school and decided to pursuit my passion for writing, fashion and design writing in particular. I began a course in media and communications which turned out to be nothing that i had had in mind and contemplated leaving. Having met some incredible people, and enjoying the uni lifestyle, i decided to endure the three years simply for the degree, and do as you are doing now, intern my little heart away after uni.

    That being said I implore you and your guts. Quitting uni is terrifying. But i believe in life, when you're truly passionate about something, and work as hard as you can, you will eventually get to where you dream of being. It just takes time and effort.

    Best of luck! ^-^

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MEET OLIVIA

MEET OLIVIA

Hello, you! I'm Olivia, or Liv- a 23 year old girl living in London, spending most of her time blog writing, photo taking, social media updating and occasionally cake baking.

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