Choosing a degree type at such a young age is difficult, especially when we are so vulnerable to social media influence, peer and parental pressure. The continuous comparison to others sometimes leads to choosing a career that will make others proud or even jealous, rather than making us happy.
I would like to share some thoughts with people who were not lucky enough and realised throughout the university that their chosen degree is not for them. How to deal with these doubts and confusion? How to get closer to finding out the career that will make you truly happy?
First of all, don’t give up. Most of the degrees teach you skills that you will apply in any job. Organisational skills, punctuality, working to deadlines, writing skills, communication and team working are just few common skills that you will develop at university. There is a high chance that you won’t even remember the topic of the group project you worked on, but you will probably remember how your team dealt with the difficult team member. Do you remember when you had 4 deadlines, evening job and friend’s birthday, all during the same week? And do you remember how you organised yourself and finished all essays on time, and earned some money to go out to celebrate your friend’s birthday? Through situations like these, you will acquire skills that will be essential at any job. So if you don’t enjoy the topic that you study, don’t worry, there are far more important skills you gain from it that simply just a knowledge!
Another piece of advice is search and try. Join different societies and stay in the one that interests you the most. Try to find some volunteering. Sussex offers a wide variety of volunteering positions across Brighton that are usually no more than few hours a week. Maybe by working with a local charity you will find your passion for fundraising that you have never thought you would enjoy doing. Internships, placements or an exchange year are a great opportunity to find out what you are good at and what interests you the most. By searching, trying and meeting new people, you may be inspired to work in fields you didn’t even think about before.
If you have not already done it, ask your friends and family. They will know the best what you are good at. Sometimes, simple natural skills and personality traits that you are not aware of, will make you an ideal person for some jobs. Remember, as long as you have a talent in something and a lot of motivation, you will succeed. You can make money and be happy because working hard on something you love, does not feel like working.
Lastly, don’t be discouraged by others. Degrees like marketing, business or art get a lot of criticism. Have you ever received a comment on your studies similar to ‘‘oooh that’s easy’’ or ‘’sorry, but your degree is nothing compared to mine’’. Well, I did. Judgments like these can be discouraging at times and make you question your studies even more. But these people usually ignore the fact that in the above type of studies the competition is enormous and you really need to work hard both at university and in your spare time, to stand out and get your dream job. So, change discouragement into motivation and prove yourself (and maybe some of these stuck up commentators..) that if you really love what you study, you can succeed, and the subject doesn’t matter, as long as it’s yours. Once someone told me ‘You’re studying marketing? That’s so cool! I’m jealous, because I could never do this type of job!’. At the beginning, I thought it might be a sarcasm.. (especially, coming from an Englishman!), but no. This person respects the fact that people have different skills and capabilities. Do you?
PS: Don’t be afraid to change your field! Try not to think about it as a wasted time, try to find the positives. You have probably gained skills you are not even aware of. I keep telling myself and my friends: become educated and execute. Without trying the knowledge in a real work practice, you will never know if this is for you.
So question for you; do you sometimes doubt your degree choice?
Kasia Migas is currently studying at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore as part of the Study Abroad programme through the University of Sussex.