Around about this time 8 years ago, award-winning entrepreneur, Jessica Rose got her final A-level results which confirmed that she couldn't go to the university she wanted to in order to study a business/ economics related degree. She never got a degree has no formal training and now runs the worlds largest jewellery making centre, the London Jewellery School, where 1000's of people go every year to learn to make their own jewellery, either for fun, as a hobby or to set up their own jewellery business. Her message is, If she can do it anyone can, and here is her story of success without a degree...
I always assumed that to get anywhere in life I needed a degree, and not just any degree, a really good one at that. Like most teenagers, I had been told for years that I needed to do well at GCSE's, then at A-levels and then at degree level, and if at any stage I fell short, that was it - life over! This pressure, aside from being horrible and anxiety provoking, was also misplaced. In the real world exams and grades help of course, but only if you take the traditional route or have a very specific profession in mind that requires certain qualifications.
I did go to Uni, but not out of a choice or really wanting to, mainly due to social pressures that make every young person feel they should, or have to. As a result I dropped out after 1-year to set up my own business making and selling jewellery, which turned out to be the best decision I ever made.
A few years on, I now spend my days doing what I love for a living, working with people that are passionate about the same things as me, managing projects, seeing my vision for my company come to life and most of all, building something that really matters to me and that I can be proud of. I didn't get on well at school and never really felt I fitted in, but setting up my own business has given me such a sense of freedom and empowerment that I had never experienced before.
I think my real message is that, if this results day you didn't get what you hoped for, or what your parents hoped for or what everyone was telling you to hope for, then all is not lost. There are plenty of other options. Setting up your own business is by no means an easy route, I have worked tirelessly for the past 4-5 years to make it work, but it has definitely been worth it. If you pick something you are truly passionate about then there is no reason why you can't succeed.
Whatever you choose, don't feel like you are on your own. There are many organisations out there that exist to support people in your exact situation. These are some that I know and trust...
• Bizbritian - http://www.bizbritain.org - A resource for entrepreneurs without a degree
• The Startup Loans Company - http://www.startuploans.co.uk - Where you can apply for funding/ loans to start your own business
• The Princes Trust - http://www.princes-trust.org.uk
• Not Going to Uni - http://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk
• Enterprise Nation - http://www.enterprisenation.com - Support for small businesses
• Uni's not for me - http://www.unisnotforme.com
And if like me, jewellery is your passion and you want to start your own jewellery business, there is a Diploma in Creative Jewellery designed to train and support budding jewellers at www.jewellery-diploma.co.uk
In conclusion, not going to University won't keep you down in the business world and it may even give you time to get ahead. Everyone is different, and some want the University experience before deciding what they want to do, but it isn't for everyone, and some of the best, smartest and most successful people never get a degree. I hope one day to be counted as one of them, as I am sure, will you.
Stay in touch with Jessica on twitter - @Jessica_roseLJS
Or email - Jessica@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk