So I thought I would write a post on something a bit different and considered uncertain for many students – the future. Also, this post might seem like a bit of a rant, of which I apologise.
Honestly, the future scares me and I’m sure there are people out there with the same opinion as me. To think where I was last year, to where I am now is astonishing and the fact that lecturers are mentioning post-degree options right now is quite frightening. How am I meant to know what I want to do, when I’ve still got a year left? It feels as if I’ve just left school. The thing that scares me the most is that there isn’t a great deal of help available to young adults in this area, even starting from a young age.
Throughout primary school you are asked “What do you want to be when you’re older?” and children at that age would usually disclose unrealistic careers, such as a footballer, a celebrity and to be famous. Little do they know that the future changes and it takes a lot to become fully established and successful. Fair enough, children at this age shouldn’t be thinking about this, however, no one ever tells you when to start considering choices and looking.
Then comes to secondary school. This is where you are told to choose your GCSE’s and A-Levels depending on what you want to do in the future. It becomes a little more focused but yet again, students only have limited help from teachers and some career advisors. I firmly believe that children at this age should be guided on career choices with the help of a career advisor dedicated to each student, to ensure that the child has a clear plan and path to follow, specific to them. During Secondary school, I knew that I loved Art and I liked Business but I had no idea how I would combine the two together and where both subjects would take me. After completing A-Levels in Maths, English, Business and Art, I decided to study Business Management at University based on the fact that my parents knew that Business would open lots of doors for me. I guess yes, they did influence my choice, which could be seen as both positive and negative. They gave me direction, which no other individual in school offered me but I chose it knowing that Art was my main passion and I knew I wouldn’t enjoy Business as much as Art. Nevertheless, I was content in my choice. What I’m trying to say, is how are you meant to know what career path you’re going to go down, when all the information we hear is passed down from people older than us and our own research online? How are we meant to know what is correct?
So I was guided into the University path, meaning that no thought went into other available options. This frustrates me so much. To think that normality for students finishing GCSE’s is to complete A Levels and attend university is appalling. Since when was this the case and why is any other option regarded not as supreme as attending university? Ok, understandably some careers certainly need individuals with knowledge of a degree level, however, there are many other options out there that people disregard. Attending college, apprenticeships and many other routes are available but there is so much stigma surrounding them that they’re not promoted to the same level as university, at the risk of not being seen as successful. They will no doubt get you to pretty much the same place that a degree would get you but they’re not the conventional route.
I also think that it’s down to personal goals and achievements. My aim is to finish uni with a good classification and have a guide as to what my next milestone will be. Everyone’s goal will be different and what might be satisfactory for one person might be unsatisfactory for another. This really does not matter. This is going to sound so cringe-worthy but be who you want to be and set personal goals not influenced by other people. I do think that parents have a huge influence on this because they expect so much out of us but if you are content with what you have achieved then no one else’s opinion should matter.
University is primarily the place where you should be thinking about career prospects and what you want to gain in the future in terms of a career choice. But instead, we find ourselves in a bubble primarily focusing on graduating. This is wrong in my opinion. We should be working towards our degree knowing what we want to gain out of it and how useful the gained knowledge will be in the future.
The one piece of advice I would give any students reading this is to pick a course based on whether you are passionate about it or not. Yes, Business Management has left me with lots of options but I know for certain that I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I would have with art. It’s your choice, so don’t let anyone influence it.
If you are a believer of following your destiny, then great but personally, as much as I’d like to think that I have a destiny that will make me rich, successful and happy, I’m not overly convinced at what it is now and I’m ok with that. As my whole school life and university life hasn’t played out according to plan, I’ve learned to adapt and work around the problems that I’ve faced and I’m actually in a better place because of it. So don’t be disheartened if you come across a problem because remember that there will always be a solution and it probably happened for a reason.
I honestly have no idea what I want to do after University. I thought I had a plan but from personal experiences, plans do tend to change. I guess it’s good to have a brief idea so you’re not totally lost when you graduate. Honestly, I’m writing this knowing that I do not know where to begin with post-degree options, which brings me back to the starting point of this post. The one thing that I wish I had throughout my school life was a personal careers advisor who told me what my options were. If this was the case, then students would have a clear mind and understanding of the subject that they love and enjoy to pursue.