You’re suddenly 17, 18 or 19 years old and you’re told you have to choose what to study for 3 years and then work in for the rest of your life and if your sixth form or college was as unhelpful as mine (I’m not bitter) then maybe you need some help.
After changing my personal statement for UCAS overnight on the date of the deadline after changing my mind on what to study, and then spending a year at university studying a course and then applying to change to start from first year again, I either have a lot of experience on choosing what to spend your time studying at university, or none at all, so don’t take this too seriously.
- Make a compromise
You’re going to have to make a compromise between what you’re good at, what is realistic, and what you enjoy. If that’s all the same thing, then great, but does anyone really find comfort and a hobby in studying Finance? I appreciate not everyone is as discouraged by having to do things that don’t interest them as me, but I don’t have time for you if you’re all about ‘what’s going to make me money whether I hate it or not’, all I know is if you don’t have a soul, that’s your business. Studying will be much more fun and easy when it’s something you have a genuine interest in (I know you said the same to yourself at A-Level and ended up hating it a little but it’s different this time), but you don’t want to end up the English student who has a crisis 3/4 through the year on your foggy future (not me). The solution I found was to choose something that I could apply the skills that come with studying English to, but mixed in a practical subject that I felt was actually being used in the real world in there too – media and marketing.
2. If in doubt, do what you enjoy
There my personal statement sat, ready to be sent to five potential universities… a phone call to mum later it was all gone. I have a lot to thank her for, but allowing me to change my mind and switch to English is one of the most important things. If you feel like you really ought to go to university as soon as leaving school, but have absolutely no idea what to do, choose the subject that you enjoy the most. I loved studying English for a year and no matter what people will tell you, a degree in subjects like English, History and Psychology are worth something and it has helped me a lot this year. You might find out what you really want to do a little later on in the year, and there’s no shame in changing your mind and you’ll already know how the university works and have friends, as well as get to make new ones
3. Do your research
I’m putting this here just because it ought to be, I did my research and I still had no clue but if I could have gone back, I would have looked at the bigger picture and done my research differently. Going back to my last point, make a list of subjects that you enjoy, as basic as English, art or maths and google what jobs you can do with a degree in just that, if any appeal to you, see if you can do an undergraduate degree in that as well. Take seriously what the modules involve in the prospectus’ for the topic.
4. Take a year, or however much time, out
I’ll admit I know little about this or how it works, but I do know that one of them would have benefited me greatly. Whilst discovering I wanted to study media and marketing instead of English, I’m now in an extra year of debt. There is absolutely no shame in not being ready and standing up for yourself. Schools have a quota to fill – how many of their students can get straight into universities, but this is about you, not them and if you need some more time to figure out what you want to do then that’s that.
5. It’s never too late
Even if you’ve made it university and started the course, it’s not too late to study what is right for you. University is too expensive to waste time and effort on a degree you don’t feel passionately about and don’t think will get you where you want to be. Most universities will let you change courses within the same year so long as it’s within the first semester and I was allowed to change so long as I’d passed. You’ll get to where you need to be eventually!