Alternatives to the Traditional Uni Experience That’ll Work Wonders For Your Mental Health

Rates of teenage depression have soared over the past 25 years. The number of young adults struggling with their mental health across the UK is now higher than ever and the majority of these sufferers cite academic pressure as a poignant contributor to their ongoing battle.

A Parent Zone survey found that 93% of teachers have reported seeing increased rates of mental illness among children and teenagers. Evidently, further steps need to be taken if we hope to support the well-being of teens who find rigorous study to be overwhelming and, ultimately, a little too much to handle. As A-level results have swarmed the country, there’s never been a better time to tackle this issue head on. University courses inevitably accompany intense examinations and taxing workloads; demands which can prove too much for some hopeful students. Ignoring this issue is not productive and as more students head to uni each year, this must be addressed.

Young people often feel that, if they want to be successful, the typical university experience is the only appropriate path for them. Faced with pressure from colleges to achieve placements at high-ranking universities, this can distract from alternative options which could work wonders for their mental health. From programmes that allow you to travel the world while you study to hands-on apprenticeships that encourage teens to flourish in the workplace, there are several more unique pathways that all young adults should consider.

Steff & Georgia Wright, the founders of GlobalGrad, outline ‘3 alternatives to uni that’ll work wonders for your mental health’, helping students and their parents alike to remain in-the-know:

1. Work abroad:

Having completed your A-levels, further study isn’t your only option. You may find that you prefer hands-on learning and after years of education, you’re desperate to enter the world of work. If so, consider working abroad. Beginning your career needn’t mark the end all-things fun, you really can see the world whilst making money, instead of just spending it.

There is also limitless variety with regards to the possible jobs you can seek abroad, from volunteering and teaching to office-based roles or placements, there are a number of exciting options! If you find studying to be particularly stress-inducing, the benefits of shaking up your focus will be incredible, as you feel less anxious and overwhelmed and you can put your practical skills to good use.

2. Study while you travel:

Often, students are placed unwittingly into two categories: those who wish to pursue university and those who plan to travel, seeing the world as opposed to more books.

This needn’t be the case! You can pursue both dreams despite popular opinion. Global Grad for example is a programme that allows you to travel the world whilst you study, earning a degree or qualification as you explore remote and diverse countries with each new term. You can do this all through studying at online institutions such as Open University, Nottingham Trent or the London School of Economics. Defy your own expectations for the next three years and instead of feeling pressure to fulfil the generic university experience in the UK, do something completely new and unexpected! You’ll turn 21 with a degree and boat loads of life experience… you’ll certainly stand out form the competition with that on your resume.

3. Apprenticeships:

If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of going-it-alone, whether this be at university or in a new job, you ought to consider alternative options. In this instance, you may be best suited to an apprenticeship. With a combination of study and practical work placements, you’ll be guided through a course designed with your personality type in mind.  

There are apprenticeships within almost every industry, offering a fulfilling route into your dream career. From mechanics to graphic design, there’s almost nothing an apprenticeship hasn’t already been tailored to. Do your research, if you feel relaxed and excited by the route you’ve selected (rather than immense pressure) your mental heath will thank you later!

For more information about GlobalGrad, visit!

Makeda Waterman

Makeda Waterman is an online journalist with writing features on CNBC Make It., Yahoo Finance News and the Huffington Post. She also runs an online writing business with 3.5 years of experience.

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