How To Choose the Right Degree
Updated: Sep 4
If you’re like me then you’ve taken hundreds of career and personality quizzes and you’ve read about every potential career path, but you just cannot seem to settle on what you really want…
That was me, just last year when I was applying for my undergraduate study. Pressure comes from all angles when you’re choosing what to pursue at university; expectations from your parents, peers and teachers, what you think you should do and what you want to do and for some of us, it’s moving to a whole new country.
It’s so easy for people to say ‘follow your passion’ but what does that even mean? What if you don’t have a passion or have more than one? These are questions that no one can answer for you because the answer isn’t just one thing, it’s a journey with twists and turns. I had to figure that out after years of stress, but you don’t have to. Here are the steps to gain clarity:
Step 1: Write/Say it out
When you need to sort something out, it always helps to write it down, but for some people, that means discussing and being vocal. The main objective is to get down all your thoughts, emotions and options, this will let you have an overview of it all.
Don’t worry about being organised with this, it’s supposed to look like what’s going on in your mind and right now, everything might be all over the place.
Journalling will allow you to admit things to yourself that you perhaps cannot say out loud.
Step 2: Don’t follow your Passion
What I mean by this is, do not think to simply follow your passion but broaden it; don’t limit yourself to one career path, instead allow flexibility in your decision.
For example; I used to think I was going to study Ancient History and pursue a career in that field, but mid-application I shifted to Social Anthropology. To some, this might seem like a major shift but digging deeper I found an inclination towards S.A. In other words, what is important to realise is that there is more than just a specific field of study.
Step 3: Evaluate Your Values
Ask yourself these four questions:
What are my best skills? Writing? Marketing? Memorising? Art?
What do I value most? Health/Fitness? Cultures? Creating?
What do I want to do forever? Travel? Learn?
What do I want to bring to the world?
After doing this, try to broaden your research, venture into other courses in the field you were perhaps interested in. Try to take your time with this, rushing it will only lead to stress.
Step 4: Take Opinions as Advice (Not Rules)
Take the advice of those around you into consideration, because they perhaps see skills and qualities in you that you cannot see. Do not ask them which career you should choose because you may feel obligated to listen or you'll feel like they are against your choice. Instead ask them what they think are your best skills and qualities.
Step 5: Do Not Plan
This was the hardest part for me because I needed to have everything planned out and see exactly where I was going, but that was a limiting mindset for choosing a career path.
Allow yourself to branch out of your comfort zone and if you cannot make a clear choice, then choose the option that is most versatile. One which will give you the opportunity to experience various aspects of work-life so that you can move on from there.
It’s alright to NOT have everything figured out and to need more time. This is why the next step might be the option for you.
Step 6: Take a Gap Year
A gap year is about experiential education through travel, work or apprenticeship. It’s a great way to deepen your personal awareness, your skills and to take a break from studies. Being exposed to different situations and lifestyles will help you break out of your usual environment and grow in new ways.
So do I have it all figured out? Definitely not. However, I am pleased with my next step and I’ve been discovering new interests and skills since then. I hope these tips give you some clarity and help you in any way possible, thank you for reading and good luck! Follow and like for more student advice, xoxo.