Advice on University Course

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14 Dec 2016 17:35 #268403 by Xavier12666
Advice on University Course was created by Xavier12666
Good evening all, hope you are well. I wasn't sure about where to post this so here I am.

Basically, I need advice on what to do next based on the following situation:

Last summer I received quite a few university offers, ranging from languages (Italian and Spanish), to Politics and International Relations, to Archaeology, Architecture, Engineering and such. I was unsure as to what to choose, but was looking to choose a degree in Mechanical engineering or aerospace engineering. However, as of my mother's wishes, I chose (European) Politics and Italian. I almost instantly failed to enjoy my course, enjoying only 1 out 6 units that I was to study. I didn't like the city, wasn't a big fan of the people, didn't enjoy my course and as the weeks wore on I became so disinterested that my effort levels also dropped. I got my first essay back and did relatively well, but new that I'd had enough. Whilst enjoying the study of languages, I'd told myself after finishing compulsory education that I would only study them as a hobby, to make them more enjoyable really. My mind is moving towards engineering (Since I was young I'd wanted to do it, but my study of Physics wasn't as enjoyable as I thought it would be (the exam board I was on didn't cover any of the material I enjoyed and so I dropped it after the first of 2 years). I've emailed my personal tutor, but was also wondering what any of you thought about the situation. I'm not ready yet to speak to my parents until I have some remotely sured-up idea of what I want to do, and I can only imagine the disappointment that'll engulf them. And so my options are essentially now these:
1) continue with the course and see how it goes
2) Transfer to another course at the same university (next year)
3) drop out now and Apply to transfer to another university
4) see out this year and then apply to transfer to another university

Apologies if this seems a little bit of a ramble, but I'm honestly so conflicted and confused.

May the force be with you... Always

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14 Dec 2016 19:36 #268433 by elizabeth
I dont really have advice more questions :)
You say the course you are on was your mothers choice, reading that makes me first wonder if you went into things reluctantly and didnt really open yourself up to things, as it wasnt your love as such.
And secondly, I always think telling your parents, or talking about how you feel, where you see things going with the course you are on maybe the benefits and downfalls and also with the idea of moving to another course.
You may be surprised at there reaction. They may just want ├żo help and see you settled?

Whatever you decided, as a mother I would appreciate my kids honesty and even if I disagreed would give encouragment and feedback.

I hope it works out for you and good luck whatever course you take.

I own my life

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14 Dec 2016 21:51 #268459 by Adder
Replied by Adder on topic Advice on University Course
I changed Uni courses mid-stream. I simply could not sit on the hard backless stools they had in the biomed labs haha, my posture was too bad and it was torture! The IT lab was much more comfortable :silly:

I start by considering in this age of information accessibility, what does a formal degree represent to you. I might not have a very popular view of tertiary education, but (and assuming you need to work) I tend to view it as specifically about getting setup in some 'career'. IMO ideally one which allows a mix of job security, but also professional development. More ideally, some jobs will even pay further study later on if it suits them for you to develop more qualifications! Ms Adder's job paid for her to finish her Master's for example!!! But selection of career path is very personal, it's going to be where most people spend most of their time awake for most of their life....

So while I"d love to have a bucket of degrees, despite not being able to afford them I also know that these days there is so much information online the formal qualification really only has practical relevance in terms of career. I can self study sufficiently these days to the same extent of any degree in terms of theory, but a Uni will bring with it access to tools for practical learnings, structure for rigor, and mentoring for assistance in addition to that formal qualification.

So perhaps a blend of all those things which a Uni uniquely provides to get the most bang for your buck. So it really depends on your circumstances, interests and where you can best exert commitment going forward (depending on your needs). Good luck!!

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15 Dec 2016 04:34 #268506 by Alethea Thompson
I think it depends on your purpose. If you're going for money, research which one is most likely to get you in the higher paying job. If it's to help people, I'd probably go for language and move into an interpreter's position at a hospital or in law enforcement (just examples of two different motives, obviously there are a myriad of motives- which is most challenging, etc).

That's the only advice I can give.

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15 Dec 2016 09:16 #268517 by Loudzoo
Replied by Loudzoo on topic Advice on University Course
There is a lot to be said for looking at where you want your degree to take you - and letting that inform your decision. On the flip side - your gut instinct will probably be telling you what it is that you would most enjoy doing! Where the answers from these two approaches overlap is probably the 'right' answer. If you genuinely know that you have "had enough" of the current course then you are right to consider the 'change' option.

Engineering (mechanical or aeronautical) opens a lot of doors in a lot of different careers but it can be a very tough course (my wife did engineering!) especially if the areas of Physics in which you are interested do not overlap much with the curriculum. If they do, then happy days!

Architecture is typically a much longer course so there may be some financial considerations there. Probably the most important question is "Do you want to become an Architect more than anything else?" - if not, probably best to strike that from the list.

Languages, Politics, (even Archaeology!) keep your options on career wide open.

As for whether to stay at the same University or not - that will be informed by your preferences for the city, and the institution itself. Nobody, other than you, can make that decision ;) It is typically much easier to swap courses within the University than to change Uni so that may also inform that decision.

On the timing side (I don't know where you are studying, but) in the UK you would need to be applying for courses starting next September, now. On that basis I'm not sure that waiting is an option if you want to change course / Uni next year.

What I can say is that having interviewed hundreds of graduates over the years - you will get asked about why you chose the degree you did. That question is partly for the interviewer to get to know you better, but it is also to gauge your enthusiasm levels. If you can't muster enthusiasm for your degree then serious doubt will be cast on whether you will be an enthusiastic employee.

If you change course you will get asked about that too - but it is relatively easy to spin that in a very positive way, especially if the change is made after sincere analysis and without excessive procrastination i.e. it's more difficult to put it in a positive light if you change course after two years rather than one or two terms.

I agree with Elizabeth regarding how to handle your parents - but again none of us can know how they might react or how supportive they will be. Ultimately this is your decision . . . not theirs, and it is exceptionally difficult (and potentially dangerous) for others, including us, to offer advice - especially without knowing you better!

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15 Dec 2016 10:08 #268518 by Tellahane
Depending on where you are or whats around you, you might be able to call around to various businesses, and a lot of them "may" let you job shadow for a day or so, so you can get a feel for what someone in some of those positions does and see if any of them really appeals to you too.

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17 Dec 2016 14:27 #268755 by Fenton
Replied by Fenton on topic Advice on University Course
I'm going to tell you the same thing I tell people with similar questions on reddit all the time: do the thing you enjoy, not the thing you have been told to.

The reasons for this are pretty simple. If you commit to doing a degree/major that you aren't really interested in, then it doesn't matter how smart or naturally talented you are in that field, you're going to eventually lose motivation and your grades will drop. University work is not so much about intelligence, but determination and hard work. The major you don't enjoy won't even get you a good job (if that's the motivation for doing it), because you're always going to be competing against those who are deathly passionate, and who dedicate every hour of the day to that field. You'll neglect to get internships, or will give a bad impression if you do get one, your GPA will be mediocre at best, you'll fail to make good connections, and then you'll have a degree you hate and no job.

Better to get a degree in an area you love, dedicate all of your time to it, do absolutely stellar at it, and get any job you can.

You don't need your parent's permission to change your degree. It's your life, so just take the wheel and have responsibility for the direction you're headed. Sooner or later you have to accept that everything you do is your choice. If you stay in a degree you hate, then you can't really complain because you will have made the choice to do so.

But on another tangentially related note: IMO university is not a place for job training. It has always historically been a place of academic learning, with the resultant jobs also in academia. These institutions are not designed to cater for people who are not passionate about their subject, and degrees are not designed to lead into a very specific job. If you're only looking for qualifications for a job then you're going to hate university, because the system is just not made for you.

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