3 LGs Tell Us About Their Decision Not To Go To Uni
3 LGs Tell Us About Their Decision Not To Go To Uni

3 LGs Tell Us About Their Decision Not To Go To Uni

University isn’t for everyone. These days, there are plenty of alternative routes you can take and still have a successful career. To prove it, we reached out to three members of the LuxeGen community to hear why it was the right decision for them.
By Eleanor Magill


I went to quite an academic grammar school. It was a high-achieving school, and it focused quite heavily on core subjects like maths, science and economics which I wasn’t really interested in. Because there wasn’t a subject at school I loved, I felt so confused about what I wanted to do as a career. I knew I enjoyed art but it still wasn’t for me in terms of making a career out of it. I initially thought I wanted to study law but that was really only because I knew I enjoyed reading. The more I thought about being in education again for four years, the more I was put off the idea of going to university.

At first, I was really anxious about my decision. Everyone else was either having a gap year or heading off to university and it felt like I was going against the grain. I ended up getting myself into quite a negative mental space. Surprisingly, I thought my parents would be unhappier with my decision than they were. I told them my reasons, and they said they just wanted me to be happy. 

I used to run nightclub events in Newcastle. It was a job that relied heavily relied on social media, organisational skills and marketing nous. I did this whilst working as an events co-ordinator for a lifestyle publishing company. Both jobs introduced me to different sides of marketing and helped me identify what I enjoyed within the roles. The people management side of it and social media quickly became my niche. 

I was lucky to experience different parts of marketing quite early on into my career. It pointed me in the right direction when looking for my next role. I was fortunate that a family friend who owned an independent publishing company was looking for an events co-ordinator. The role included planning lifestyle shopping events, selling ad space, as well as a bit of social media. This then led me to be able to apply for a role within the PrettyLittleThing social team and my career progressed from there.

Starting as a junior means you learn so much on the job. I’ve always been very aware that you can learn something from anyone, even if it’s not within your scope. Taking notes and listening in meetings – even those that don’t have a direct impact on what I’m doing – has really broadened my knowledge. I realised I didn’t know some of the acronyms people used, so every evening I would go home to do a Google Garage Certificate just to help me fill in the gaps. My best advice is to be a sponge – you can never know too much.


My dad is the hardest working person I know. He’s worked for his company for more than 32 years, so he’s been through it all. He’s always been there to offer guidance but ultimately, he’s always let me to make my own decisions. 

I’ve achieved so much already. I helped run a global team at only 24. I never imagined getting to where I am so quickly and doing it on this scale so early on in my career has made me so proud of myself. Working my way up through the PLT social team and giving my role 100% has helped me progress quickly within the business. I have worked with such amazing people, learnt so much and got to experience things I never would have dreamed of. Working on the Naomi Campbell x PrettyLittleThing runway show in New York was such a highlight.

Getting my current job at REFY was a big moment for me. To join a brand that’s so innovative and doing so well  makes me so excited for the future.

It’s slightly outdated to see the number of job specs that still ask for a degree. My  opinion is that experience is everything. I still had the same opportunities as someone who went to university.

Ultimately, you have to do what’s right for you. Don’t pressure yourself into something you may not believe in. University is always there, no matter your age. And in terms of learning, YouTube and Skillshare are brilliant, too.

I’m so confident now, both personally and professionally. I never had that feeling of coming to the end of university and feeling panicked about what came next. Instead, I’ve been fortunate enough to work my way up to a position a lot of 25-year-olds aren’t in. The only thing I would change is the negative self-talk I gave myself at the beginning. It’s genuinely not that deep and I wish I had someone at school to tell me that.

Follow @GeorginaHoneyman on Instagram.


I went to school in Oxfordshire until I was 18. The ‘done’ thing for every student was to do A-levels and then go on to university but I barely wanted to take my A-levels let alone spend three more years of my life studying. All I wanted to do was go to work and do something I loved as soon as possible. My headmistress Wendy is an incredible mentor and always put me on the right path. This was so important as a lot of school heads would try to push university but I was encouraged to do what I wanted.

Going against the norm was a brave thing to do at the time. I was a bit jealous that my friends were all going to make lots of new friends and explore new cities, but I knew that I could visit them. I remember a lot of people telling me I was making the wrong decision but I can truly say I don't feel like I missed out one bit. 

I chose to go to Oxford Media & Business School, a secretarial business college in Oxford. I knew I would be able to get a job as a personal assistant in London afterwards. Three days after I graduated, I landed a temporary role as a PA and continued to do temporary roles until I found a career in luxury dating. I knew I wanted to work in the luxury sector, so when a recruiter called me, I jumped at the opportunity. Then, I found my current role at a luxury concierge company and I love every part of it. My career goals are to keep working my way up the company  – there’s a lot to achieve and I’m growing every day. 

My training at college helped me acquire those ‘real life’ skills  you need to work for a company. We were taught everything, from how to pick up the phone to writing a letter and producing end of year documents. 

Since I was 16, I took every bit of work experience I could. I always wanted to experience as much as possible before I committed to a particular career. I'm so grateful I did this, as it showed me what I didn’t want to do as much as what I did want to do. For example, I initially wanted to work in fashion. I applied to lots of fashion companies but it wasn't what I thought it would be at all. Temping also gave me an insight into the different jobs that were out there – I realised there were so many I had never even considered. 



The biggest challenge I face is my age. People don't often take you seriously and it’s really hard to navigate. I’m often the youngest person in the room by a mile but I’m really lucky that I have a boss who has never given me fewer opportunities because of it. Not having a degree has never affected me – in fact, no one ever asks. 

Not going to university is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m so much further along in my career than my friends who did go to uni. I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed studying just for the sake of being there and I’m glad I don’t have student debt to pay off. I’ve not felt any disadvantage and I don’t think I should ever have to deal with a negative perception. Having industry experience and real-life knowledge is an asset. 

My advice would be not to let the pressure get to you. Make the decision for yourself.  If you have a subject you’re passionate about, then study it and enjoy the whole exciting university experience. But if you don’t want to go, don't feel bad – feel proud that you can do something different and get ahead of everyone else before they enter the working world. 

If I could go back, I’d do it all again. It was definitely right to do a course for a year as it gave me all the experience and skills I needed. Moving to London was the best decision, too, as it gave me so many job opportunities to choose from. To this day, I'm a huge advocate for doing what you love and never having to follow a set path. 

Follow @AthenaLeesJones on Instagram.



Growing up, I was always interested in fashion, but I didn't really know why. When I was 16, I went to sixth form but found I had no real interest in the mainstream subjects on offer. My main motivation was always making money – that’s when I realised that there might be another path for me. After a year, I left sixth form to attend the Fashion Retail Academy in London. I didn't have that looming pressure as I was already out of the 'classic' education system and by the time my friends were all heading off to university, I was already two months into my job.

My family took a bit of convincing to let me leave sixth form after just one year. My dad was nervous I wouldn't have anything to fall back on – and it just wasn't the ‘done’ thing. However, I knew as soon as I stepped foot at the FRA that I was exactly where I needed to be. It was a really great foundation. I did a Level 3 diploma in Fashion Retail, which included everything from visual merchandising to styling, retail operations to PR, marketing and, of course, buying.

Whilst at the FRA, I went to the careers fair and handed my CV out to everyone. So many brands and retailers were there, but ASOS had the biggest queue by far. I handed in my CV and had an interview during my final week of college. I didn't get the first role I interviewed for, but they did call me back a couple of weeks later. I started as buyer’s admin assistant on brands. 

I was only 18 when I started at ASOS. I hadn't really worked in an office environment before but I knew they needed someone to come in and get on with things straight away. I probably wasn't the best at my job at first, but I always tried my hardest. My current role is senior buyer on the adidas team here at ASOS. I suppose my career has been fairly linear, making my way up through the ranks and trying to put myself forward for any opportunity. I've worked across all different brands in my 11 years here, but most recently I've been working with the sports brands, which I love.


The sports sector is very male dominated. My goal is still to become part of the Senior Leadership team – I really want a seat at the table and to be part of future change as a female leader. I am a firm believer in throwing yourself into the work and doing everything you can within your power to expand your network and your knowledge. Look at your weaknesses and find who is best in that area, then grab a coffee with them to understand how you can improve. It can be nerve racking at first, but the more you open yourself up, the easier it becomes.

My mantra is always to show up and be the best I can be. I’ve never wanted my age to hold me back – so I’ve always had to try my best. Being promoted to senior buyer was such a huge achievement – I am now at the top of a ladder I’ve been scaling for such a huge part of my adult life. But the hustle doesn't stop. I want to continue to learn, develop and progress. 

I don’t regret not going to university at all. From a careers perspective, it wouldn't have given me any advantage. In buying, the career path is very linear – you start as a buyer’s admin assistant whether you went to a prestigious red brick university and finished with a first or not. For me, I had the best of both worlds. I was earning my first real wage – plus, I got to go and visit all my friends every weekend at their various universities.

If you're determined to work hard, you can open those doors for yourself. In creative industries, I think it's so much more about who you are as a person. You just have to be relentless in your efforts. Throw yourself into any opportunities that may arise – it's the best way to expand your network and test yourself. In the long run it will always pay off. The important thing is to know yourself, understand where you want to get to and what you value in life. There's always a way to achieve your dreams – it just may be slightly different to what you envisioned. 

Follow @LifeOf_Ellen on Instagram.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.