What to study? It is a very simple question. The decision making process though can be quite complex if you think that there are more than 1,000 separate subjects and over 18,000 Joint and combined Honours courses in the UK.
I’d like to share with you how I took mine (a long time ago). It is a great example of how NOT to take yours.
Well, the situation was the following. I was between two subjects:
- Chemical Engineering: it was the hype at that time. My best friend wanted to study this (and she did). I had no idea what a chemical engineer does and I was so busy studying to get the grades needed that I didn’t bother to find out either. And
- Agricultural studies: in order to follow the family business. I am not against working at the family business (although I didn’t do it in the end despite studying agricultural engineering; smart eh?) but I had no passion about agriculture. I’d never being in a field, I had no particular interest in plants, flowers, vegetables…
The last minute I chose the most reasonable option (or so I thought) and spent one afternoon deciding at which specific subject/university to apply based only on the name of the course and the location – no internet available those days!!
Yep, it is embarrassing. I know. Anyway, I have moved on:)
So, how to decide what to study?
First things first.
Refrain from the urge to go to the specifics of each course (you will have to do it at a later stage). Step back and think what particular career you want to have.
No point in trying to decide whether you want to study Television Studio Production or Digital Media. First, decide whether you want to be in broadcasting!
To give an analogy; before you decide whether to buy Cheerios or Cocoa Krispies (both brands chosen by chance; no adverting involved), decide whether you want to have cereals in the first place.
Make sure you adore Cereals because you will have to eat them for many many years!
It sounds the logical thing to do but most of us completely ignore this step. The student guides available provide tons of information about the universities and the courses on offer but very little on how to decide what subject is suitable for you.
This is your responsiblity. Don’t shy away.
I’ve seen many people trapped in careers they don’t like. It took me a long time to correct the wrong steps I undertook when I was young. It wasn’t impossible but it took effort, time and money.
Due to the increased tuition fees from 2012/13, it will be more difficult to do a masters degree in order to make a career change. So better get it right from the start.
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply, author of 2 books, consultant and speaker.
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