I have never been the kind of person who knew exactly what she wanted to do for a career. As a young girl, I went through many phases such as wanting to be a teacher, a dentist, a costume designer… the most memorable being BRAIN SURGEON (which still gets brought up occasionally!)

One thing I did know was that I wanted to go to university.

My dad is a general practitioner and a person that has inspired and influenced many of the decisions that I have made. Having grown up with medicine and medical-related professions in my life from the youngest of ages, the idea of doing something in this field was always in the picture.

Almost as soon as I started year 9 at a new school, in a new country, I decided that I wanted to be a doctor. I was convinced that I was going to follow through with all three sciences throughout high school, go into health sciences at UoA and become a GP like my dad. Between the ages of 12-15, I never really looked properly into any other career options as I was so sure I wanted to go into medicine, if not then something medical related like physiotherapy or optometry. I did all the “CareerQuest” quizzes that every school recommends, and because in my subconscious health science was always there, every career I was recommended was medical.

I can’t quite pinpoint the day that the med dream “died”, I think it was the day that I realised that… I really don’t like physics. I had many conversations with my academic mentor and with my physics teacher when I was in year 11, wondering whether med was the right thing to strive towards for me personally and if I should consider something else.

Throughout high school, I loved chemistry though. I thought long and hard about what to do, still thinking something in the med related field and boldly told my parents one day that I was going to become a PHARMACIST. I loved this career path so much (and still do!) and worked super hard at chemistry, knowing that this would be an area I would need to specialise in. This pathway stuck for a long time and I went for work experience at a couple of local pharmacies, absolutely convinced in my decision.

BUT THEN. Towards the very end of my year 12 academic year, I realised that not only did I hate physics… I also hated biology. And after talking with a huge variety of people, I realised that if high school science wasn’t for me, then neither was health science. As we all know, health science and biomed are fiercely competitive, and for me, I would find it hugely demoralising to go into a course that I found not only academically too challenging but also subjects that I do not enjoy. I realised that I wouldn’t make it through the first semester.

In February of 2017, a friend of mine was planning out her degree to study international relations and law at Victoria. Up until this moment, I had never considered law, not even slightly. My mum’s side of the family has a strong background in law, and the idea never really appealed to me… so I never looked into it. But as I peered over my friend’s laptop in geography class, she began to tell me about her plans for the future and as she spoke I remember reflecting on my own academic strengths. Despite following through with science that I did a sub-par job in, my best performing subjects by far were English, geography and other language-rich subjects. I remember thinking to myself that I was so silly to pick a career that was so focused on my weak subjects, subjects that I did not enjoy.

Here we are in June of 2018 and I am living my dream of studying at the University of Auckland, but not in a science related degree at all. I do not at all regret my decision to study law, the content and lectures are so academically stimulating to me and nothing has made me more genuinely interested to learn. I think this really does prove that it is never too late to change your mind and that it is so important to look beyond what you know and are familiar with.

Ultimately, with regards to your career, you can achieve anything that you really set your mind to, and had I really worked hard at science maybe I would have made it as a doctor, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it anywhere near as much as I enjoy the degree that I am studying today. Keep your eyes open and work hard!

PS. The “brain” in these photos is a cake that I made on a boring weekend 😉

Have a lovely week x

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Sophie Burns

Just a law student from England who loves dogs, stationery and herbal teas!

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