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Choosing a Course and a Career - Student Advice

London student advice: Choosing a course and a career

Some students know intrinsically that they belong at university – they’ve known it their whole lives, either as a result of their upbringing or thanks to a personal ambition of their own. Of those students, some will have known for an equally long time exactly what and where they want to study while at uni, that they’re passionate about medicine or desperate for a career as an architect. Usually, those students will know exactly where their studies will lead them and what their career prospects will be once they graduate. Such students, however, are very rare. Usually, students are a little unsure about their futures, and some won’t even know what they want to study while in higher education at all. If you’d count yourself in that latter majority then you’re in luck, because we at Scape Student Living are about to give you some advice on choosing a course, and for our current crop of students, on choosing a career in future.

Choosing a Course

When picking a course at university, you should always remember the notion that a square peg will never fit in a round hole, no matter how much you force it. At university you need to play to your strengths, but also to your own preferences. Studying for a degree will be more difficult than your previous A-level (or equivalent) studies, but it will also be less structured. Students are largely left to their own devices while at university, so if you’re finding things too difficult or aren’t invested in the topic itself, you’re never going to have the motivation necessary to make the grade. Choose a subject that you’re good at and that you’re interested in – that 3rd year dissertation will be an altogether easier prospect if you find the subject matter engaging. You should never study a subject out of a sense of duty either – you shouldn’t be looking to appease your parents or fulfil a sense of expectation, but should choose a topic that’s right for you instead. You can find a list of the best UK universities by subject from the Guardian website, or view overall rankings in the annual Times University League Tables.

Choosing a Career

Some degrees have a well-defined career path that ought to take you from graduation to a job, but others are more unstructured. Alternatively, you may have enjoyed your academic studies but decided that they don’t represent a career path that’s right for you. When it comes to choosing your career, we’ve found that most people make their decisions based on two distinct philosophies. The first are the kind of people who want to be as wealthy and successful as possible – they want to be high earners, and it doesn’t really matter how they get there. The others don’t care too much about salaries but are more concerned with the nature of the work itself – they want a job that they love, not one that bolsters their bank balance.

There’s no right or wrong path for you to take as far as your career is concerned, so the decision has to come from you. However, solid advice would be to remember that you could be working until you’re in your 70s in any case, so a large percentage of your life will be spent at work. It’s no good living for the weekend if you’re miserable in your job, so make sure you pursue something you love while you still can. The best guidance we ever heard was to forget about the money entirely. Imagine what you’d be happy doing day after day if there were no such thing as money, and from there you’ll be able to work out where you might be best placed. Websites such as the National Careers Service might also help to give you some ideas and guide your choices.

For those of you staying with us here at Scape’s Mile End accommodation, many of your life’s most formative decisions still lie ahead of you. If you want career advice before you make those decisions, don’t hesitate to contact your university careers office for help.
 
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