(This is taken from a Twitter conversation but I want to remember it)
If you want to learn photoshop or PHP or whatever to land yourself a job, then go to College, not University.
If, on the other hand, you want to learn to think, to be creative, to lead, to grow – then go to university.
Sadly employers push the university to be a source of skills, not ideas, creativity, drive. And students come out of university thinking their degree paper includes a guaranteed job.
You’re not likely to get a shelf stacking job or a burger flipping job because the employer (rightly) believes that as soon as something better comes along, you’ll be off.
You NEED to create. You NEED to use your degree. You NEED to aim at the career you want not the quick fix.
Some of the smartest guys I know have amazing jobs and no degree. I don’t have a degree in Art or Music or Computer Science – but I have a love of design, of software, of user interface, of games.
When I was in university I was president of my society, convention director twice. I started a games convention, Q-CON, which is still running in QUB even now (too many years to even consider). I played games, I designed games and I studied Genetics. I hoped – dared to hope that there would be a career in games for me – but there was no industry, no jobs and if you think there’s no jobs in software or design in Northern Ireland, consider how many there are in Genetics.
You need to make yourself impossible to ignore.
Contribute. You’ve got plenty of free time so pick an open source project or log onto code4pizza and pick one of the projects and lead it. Write the web app for Translink. Learn to program an iPhone. Make something of your skills and show off your drive and talent. Keep learning. Keep striving. Keep busy.