When I told someone once about what my course entailed, they ignored everything I said about working every single day, sometimes 12 hours a day in busy periods, coming home and having research tasks to do by the next day, learning lines, remembering blocking etc. The one thing that always stands out is 'no written exams.' People always misunderstand this, and think that we are lucky. Your typical degree will have lectures, coursework handed in as a dissertation, and a final examination (obviously not the exact format, but this is an example). So this means, that your grade is reflected on the work you put in outside of class alone, writing your coursework and preparing for your exams. In my BA Acting degree, I was assessed every day. Every. Single. Day. We work in small groups so it's easy for our lecturers and directors to see who is pulling their weight, and who is slacking. They feed back to the moderator and tell them how we do in rehearsals, which is reflected in our grade. And because of the nature of our course, you can't take a day off whenever you like. I mean, you technically can, but it would be detrimental. You miss one day, you miss (approx.) 6 hours of rehearsals, which is pretty damn hard to catch up on. There isn't going to be a PowerPoint. You really learn the importance of team work, and you can't let your team down. You are a vital cog which keeps the process ticking over smoothly. People don't want to spend the next day's rehearsal repeating everything from the day before, because you couldn't be bothered to show up.
The people I have met are also so diverse, not only in terms of politically and where they're from, but who they are as a person. I have met people who are transgender, non-binary, LGBTQIA, you name it. Some of these terms I have never had never heard of before, and talking with people openly about who they are, and what defines them or doesn't define them as a person was eye-opening. So maybe I would have learnt about all this in life eventually, but I believe studying my degree was the best choice I could have made. It made me feel more connected with people, and I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I've made friends for life.
People have also said to me... what's the point? You just prance about on stage for a bit, learn a few lines. Surely that's not a degree? No. That's not the degree. If that's what you think drama is, you are wrong. So very wrong. How anyone can be that closed minded, and not see how much hard work goes into what we do, is beyond me. People have said 'Drama is stupid!' - well, alright. If you think it's so stupid and you don't appreciate it... Do me a favour, and how about you never watch your favourite Netflix programme, the next big blockbuster at the cinema... because I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the people involved in those projects live and breathe the arts. Not just the actors you see on screen, but every single person behind the scenes who work tirelessly to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
I have heard many discussions where people have had nothing but bad things to say about University in general, and I'm not just speaking about drama any more. Personally, I believe that everyone should experience University if there's something you're passionate about, or you want to expand your horizons/knowledge.
And yes. University/College isn't essential, but education is.