When I was in year 9, I was dead set on doing a music degree – before I realised I probably wouldn’t enjoy studying it so intensely. And so followed a cascade of all the different degrees I chose throughout my time at high school. Sometimes it was commerce, sometimes it was biomed, sometimes it was arts, sometimes law (though I’ll say, it was never engineering – I’m not a fan of calculus). It can also feel like you just don’t have that much time to choose. So, you’re probably wondering how I settled on what I’m doing now – a Bachelor of Science in biology and psychology?
Honestly… I’m still not entirely sure what I’m going to do in the future. I have a rough idea of what careers I could have, though. Most people think that when you go to uni, you’ve got your future all sussed out, that you’ll study this and then become this in your career. But a lot of the time, it’s just not that clear cut.
The most important piece of advice I would give to anyone who is unsure of what they really want is that it’s okay to change your programme. Importantly, when you apply to the uni, you get to choose 6 different programmes to apply for – so even if you’re in high school and you have an idea of what you want, you can apply for a backup in case your top choice doesn’t work out, or you change your mind.
I applied for a whole range of programmes – biomed, commerce/design conjoint, biology/computer science, law, arts. Ultimately, when my Fast Track offers came through in around June, I enrolled into a Science/Design conjoint with the majors biology and computer science.
Closer to the start of the semester, I realised computer science isn’t what I want – coding didn’t truly excite me, though it has good career prospects. I couldn’t imagine myself doing coding and computer work for a career. So I ended up dropping my compsci courses and switching that major to psychology, and I felt much more happy and excited with my choice.
The first day of classes rolled around – online in 2021 – and I logged on to my design zoom lecture, and within the first 10 minutes I knew, this was not the programme for me. I loved design throughout high school, but I felt that studying design in the uni environment wasn’t for me. So I ended up dropping that too.
For a lot of science majors, Stats 101 is required. I fell in love with the course quite soon, and I looked more into a statistics major – something I had never considered, having taken calculus at school. I decided for semester 2, to add on a Bachelor of Arts to my degree – so now it was a BA/BSc conjoint.
It was maybe a month later when I decided to drop the BA – I was taking a 200-level stats paper, and I ultimately decided that a career in stats wasn’t what I wanted, though taking some stats papers did enrich the science portion of my degree.
Fast forwarding to the present, I’m still doing just a BSc alone in bio and psych. It’s such an important thing to consider what careers you could have at the end of your degree – with postgrad, many options like medicine, clinical/practicing psychology, speech language therapy, and more are all available to me. Looking on the uni website at all the study options and their entry requirements will help you figure out what you can do – or alternatively, booking an appointment with an advisor at CDES, the careers service.
With my whole life story being said, here’s some of the tips I’d recommend if you’re stuck and not quite sure what your next steps are, career and degree-wise:
It’s okay to change your mind – I’ve done it SO many times. Sometimes you just won’t know whether you really like something or not until you give it a go
Also, it’s okay to not know what you want – you might swing between considering a few different careers and jobs. A good solution for this is to consider a conjoint – you can pair almost any degrees together to do 2 areas of study in less time than two separately! It could massively increase job prospects if you’re not sure just yet
You have to choose what makes you happy – there is really no point in doing something you’re not truly happy with. Honestly, uni can be tiring and difficult, but its all worth it if you’re enjoying it and you love what you do
It can be helpful to think backwards – if you’re faced with all these degree options and you don’t know what to choose, I find it helpful to try and picture what jobs you’d like to do or what you could see yourself doing – or alternatively, you could rule out the careers you know you definitely don’t want. Then, it makes choosing the degree a bit easier knowing which one you’d need for a certain job
Careers are just one part of your degree – while it’s obviously important, you don’t have to get too caught up in the degree you choose in high school, because you can always change, or add on post-grad training/study. There are so many other things (like soft skills) you will learn in your degree, so many experiences, and so many people you will meet – tertiary study has more value beyond entering the workforce
I hope that my path to choosing science, and my tips, help!