The conundrum of choosing a degree
Wed 29 Apr 2015

You may have just finished your first AS exams this summer. Well done, I take my hat off to you. I don’t think people realise just how difficult A- level examinations can be. Many say that university work is nowhere near as demanding as A- Levels and I am inclined to agree. With university there is a relaxed atmosphere when it comes to your education. You’re able to get a one- to- one tuition that can really help when it comes to engaging with and enjoying your degree. However, choosing a degree can be surprisingly difficult, particularly if you haven’t given it much thought; there are many to pick from when you want to expand on your previous education.

One of the common university myths: ‘when you’ve chosen your degree, make sure you’re happy, because that is final.’ This is simply not the case; whilst choosing a degree and being sure of it certainly helps, it is not the be all and end all of your university career. I know many people that have chosen the perfect university, however the degree has actually dampened their university experience. I’ll give you an example of a fellow I know. We’ll call him Super Hans. Super Hans is a fresher, and attends the University of Manchester, studying sociology. The moment he arrived, he fell in love. He texted me one night at 3am stating that he had found himself at an erotic poetry night and that he was up next. It was clear to see that Super Hans was immersing himself in the social environment of university. However, Hans went home that night dissatisfied. Not because of his poetry performance (he nailed it), but because he wasn’t feeling academically enlightened. He wasn’t gaining anything from his lectures and more importantly, his seminars. As his first year progressed, he began to develop a sense of what he really wanted to study. In his case, it was politics and philosophy. He changed course at the end of the year without any difficulties.

I’ve noticed that quite a few people tend to go to university with an idea of what they want to achieve in mind, but the moment they arrive, it quickly evolves into something else, something extensive, something interesting. No one should be alarmed by this, it is more natural than choosing a degree prior, realising the mistake of that degree and sticking with it for three years – this isn’t natural, it’s forced. I wouldn’t overthink the prospect of choosing a set-in-stone degree, it will naturally come to you with the direction you want to choose.


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