Hello again,

With half the year done I can imagine a lot of people are doing some serious thinking about whether their course or even university is right for them. Furthermore in competitive courses like Pre-med or Law with our first results coming back people now know if they have a realistic shot of pursuing their plan A or whether it is time to back up the bus and opt for Plan B.

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with this. It is amazingly common how many people change course, or decide that uni is actually just not their cup of tea. A good friend of mine on my floor left uni after a few weeks because she couldn’t do the course she wanted to do. One of my high school friends left uni in Wellington because he realised he wasn’t happy there. Another of my hall friends is thinking of leaving the UoA after this year to pursue Marketing elsewhere and more than a few people have decided Medicine maybe isn’t right for them. This all makes sense when you think about it. How is someone supposed to know if they like something before they’ve tried it?

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It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows at uni

I think when someone ‘drops out’ is doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a failure, it just means they have the balls to admit actually this is not for them and to do something about it. In saying that I don’t think its a great idea to come to uni for half a year and then call it quits. Why? Because it is an expensive mistake to make. If you’ve had a look at some of the costs involved you may be aware typical first year fees are around $6,000 and first year accommodation in a hall of residence totals about $14,000.

Luckily your course related choices are not totally set in stone and are more flexible to change than you might think. You can switch around your course or withdraw from it prior to certain enrolment deadlines and will get your most of your fees refunded. Also in some courses if you change after the first year, you can cross credit some of your papers meaning the entire year wasn’t a complete waste of time.

With all that said I have some advice for the high schoolers out there to help you avoid having to do all this:

  • If you don’t know what you want to do after high school that’s cool. Try and keep your subject options open by taking a variety of subjects that interest you. That way when you realise your calling you won’t be restricted by the fact that you don’t have the background knowledge or prerequisites for a course. Don’t be afraid of a gap year either.
  • Don’t go to university (and in particular don’t do pre-med) because it’s the ‘thing to do’ or because your parents want you to! Go because your passionate about what you want to study. Most people who drop out realise they didn’t really want to go to uni is the first place, they just went because they didn’t know what else to do and it seemed like a good option. I can promise you that if this is your reasoning, you probably wont have enough self-motivation to make it though your degree.
  • If you try something at university and it isn’t working for you that’s pretty common. It is highly likely you will make some sort of change to your course during your university career. Be open to change. Change is good and it is how we grow and develop as a person.
  • Always have a Plan B and maybe even a Plan C.

We often think of the future as a straight road from A to B and forget there is bound to be plenty of bends, bumps, forks and even the odd u-turn along the way.

Yikes, now I sound like I should be switching to a philosophy degree. But for now I am  loving Biomed and still shooting for my Plan A of Medicine. Bring on Semester 2!

Till next time, stay flexible