What To Study, When You Don't Know What To Study

I know how stressful it can be to pick out a course that you hopefully won't drop mid semester. Choosing the right career path for yourself is a daunting task and a half. The major contributing factor to the indecisiveness is that in High School they don’t broaden our mind/prospectus in terms of career paths. All teachers ever talk about are the usual, doctors, engineers, teachers and the "Do you want to be a bag-packer at Shoprite or work at Mc Donald's" insulting lines.

What's vital is you need to know which industry you'd like to branch into and then narrow down your choice from there. You can be a finance person in the fashion industry, not just only at a bank or a company. Hence the importance of knowing which industry you see yourself in towards the future.

It's okay to choose a course and feel like it's not your vibe mid-semester, it happens to the best of us - especially if we don’t know ourselves enough to choose the right course. I asked two university students who are currently doing their first/second years, how they came about choosing the course that they are doing right now and whether or not they enjoy it.

SILINDILE  (Likes to be called SpaceKitten) ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ
BSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€
Stellenbosch University ๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿ‘ฎ
Second Year

Why a Bsc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology? ( I stumbled writing that actually)
At first I wanted to do dentistry but after a bit more research I changed to molecular. I was doing genetics at first, so I wouldn’t say I chose this since a BSc was my second choice. It's pretty difficult so far but i'm just trying to stay positive and think of the future (like prospects of new opportunities and stuff) - but at this point I just want to be in the work place.

What words of advice would you give to young ones that are faced with the decision of what to study? ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’

When choosing something to study I don’t think one should put themselves under too much pressure, because I think once you get to university it really is easy to move from one degree to another. I'm not saying you can go from philosophy to laser physics, all I'm saying is that once you're here your options are still open, like it's okay to come to varsity and be unsure. When you are applying you don’t have to be 100% sure, because I feel like in high school they make it seem like what you apply for is what you're going to graduate out of varsity with. I've changed my degree twice/3 times (I've beeeen here) I literally just go to admin and tell them what I want to do. I think a lot of people stress too much - which is a given because you feel like " ahh it’s the rest of my life๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ", but I think once you get to university it's very dynamic, very fluent and you can, I don’t know, decide what you want to do.

BA  Psychology ๐Ÿ™†๐Ÿ™†
Wits University ๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š
First Year

Why a BA Psychology? 

I have always been into criminal, medical and law dramas/series. I've always watched them since I was a little girl. The one I was particularly crazy about and is still one of my favorites -even though it has ended- is the series Monk. You can find out more about monk over here. Monk was my first encounter with someone who has a medical disorder, it was shocking for me to see someone like that and, because of his disorder, Monk was different. I've always been attracted to different. I wanted to be monk in the beginning because I used to really watch him, endlessly, over and over again. I got to a point where I was starting to absorb/develop some of his characteristics/traits like his OCD habits. I wanted to be a private detective because Monk was one. After some research, I decided I wanted to be the closest thing to him - his therapist- instead of a private detective.  I reasoned that if I couldn’t be Monk that I'd be like his therapist. I began researching what therapists do and, I began to love psychology even more,  specifically neuropsychology and clinical psychology. I have this amazing passion for people with disorders like those with down syndrome, challenged-people, people who are out-of-the-norm, the outliers. I really have a drive and an immense love for working with them and understanding them. In my eyes, they are extremely intelligent, they do things that normal people would never ever think of doing. They think differently, see the world differently, live differently and they have to work twice as hard ,s o they' re determined.  Since I had already started researching about therapists, psychology and people with mental disorders, when I got to university  I knew where I wanted to be and which type of psychology I wanted to do.

What words of advice would you give to young ones that are faced with the decision of what to study? ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’

If you are struggling to choose, do a Bachelor of Arts. A BA is like the grade 8 and 9 of varsity, you can pick and choose a variety of courses and see what really works for you and what doesn't, what you enjoy and what you don't.
It's great because you can do something for the first half of the year and for the second half, furthermore these things do not necessarily need to be related. ๐Ÿ“Œ๐Ÿ“Œ

Another great thing about a BA is that it works with which ever career you decide to pursue, it is never a waste of time. It will teach you fundamental basics that will really give you a competitive advantage that other non-BA students don't have.

Also, don't over-simplify careers and courses. There are really a variety of jobs you can pursue with every course - otherwise it wouldn't be taught. It's not that one can either be a "doctor" or a "teacher/lecturer", there is really a lot more you can do with these qualifications - ask, be informed, take risks.

Passion is very important ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช- yes we want the money, but varsity is hard! A small number of people actually make it through to the finish line, so you really need to be passionate about what you do. Ask yourself, in which environment do I see myself in? Outdoors, indoors, around people, alone?
What's my passion? My drive? My reason for waking up in the morning?
Which people inspire me? Who do I want to be like? What does that person do for a living? Then look into that career.

NEVER ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿ™…choose the easy way out. It's boring and limiting.

Do not be afraid to learn your true motive in varsity. It's really the best place to do that. Lot's of people change careers after their 1st, 2nd or 3rd years because they actually don't like what they thought they did.
So, explore, learn and take your time.
A BA is 3 years - that is more than enough time to really find what you enjoy and something you are actually good at. ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž

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