“What are you going to be when you grow up?”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been asked this. When thinking of what to study, this question has probably been asked you already a thousand times.
What to study?
Even though there are the lucky few who’ve known exactly what to study for most of their life, whether it be because of childlike naivety, bloated egos or realistic ambitions, most of us have no clue what to study when the time actually comes. Furthermore, most of us still don’t know exactly what we want to be when we grow up, even if we have already studied, worked, had children, travelled the world and lived our lives for quite a while already!
The bad news:
Not knowing how to answer the question at the drop of a hat with a single noun, a simple sentence or even a little paragraph creates massive amounts of anxiety. It is not uncommon to feel like you have failed somehow because you haven’t been able to figure it all out before you leave the doors of high school. But chin up my friend: With this small bit of bad news comes the large bit of good news!
The good news:
Firstly, job markets are nowadays changing so rapidly that by the time you finish your first degree program, dozens and dozens of new careers and professions will have already been created, and just as many will have been condemned as obsolete.
The uncertainty of the job market post-graduation can be daunting, but it’s also your ticket to ride! By harnessing your creativity, commitment to hard work and, last but not least, the solid knowledge base represented by your diploma, you are able to conquer the ups and downs of the job market roller coaster.
Secondly, studying what one is passionate about is a good thing, even though it often causes controversy. There are a couple of things to consider here: Firstly, do I even have a passion? Maybe I have too many passions? Or maybe my passion is difficult to translate into a profession, and I should just pursue it in my free time?
To address the first questions: Yes, you do. It may not be something you can find from a course catalogue, but you do have a passion. You can, for example, be endlessly social and excited to meet new people. Good! You’re going excel at team work, be a likeable colleague and create productive and fun working environments. You can combine these skills with something else you’re interested in and make sure both will be seen and appreciated when you start your career (read: take a marketing 101 course). The key here is to take your passion and manipulate it into the working world.
Too many passions? Try instead “thinking outside of a box”. Because of your curiosity and thirst for knowledge, you comprehend large issue areas and are used to utilising information and expertise from various fields in your day to day life. Your problem solving skills and ability to view things from many different perspectives makes you a priceless addition to teams which are working with both very specific and more vague issues.
Not going to get hired as an archaeologist? Maybe not, or at least at first, but when looking at people who are working for large organisations, companies and the public sector, there are many fields where the employees’ education doesn’t match at all what they’re now doing for work. Philosophy majors have been known to run record companies, biologists have been known to work for development aid organisations and archaeologists can find themselves producing TV shows! In this age, anything is possible with a little determination.
It’s not so much about the exact courses you’ve taken or what exact program you have graduated from; it’s about recognising your strong suits, cultivating them smartly and humbly, and propelling them all towards your future. Anything and everything you learn on the way can be useful to you in the future, so embrace every opportunity to learn!
What comes to mind when you think about university studies? Let us help you better understand what to expect! Not sure what the right level of university degree is for you? We got you covered! Already wanting to apply? Read our tips on applying to universities to get you on the fast tack of getting accepted to the university of your dreams!