Some degrees are vocational, some are not, but whatever you study there are always more options after Uni than just literally using your degree. You may be a scientist but you don’t have to work in a lab!
Let’s face it a degree is a piece of paper that says you studied a subject for x years to a required standard. It does not take into account your individual interests, personality, extracurricular experience and circumstances. So why use it as the only basis to plan your future.
Your actual degree will give you some specialist knowledge, some skills and possibly the option to do work experience like a placement or work on a project for a company. If you want to be literal about what your degree gives you check these out. You can decide to what extent you have these skills or attributes. Watch History student Muneera talking about her degree.
While you are spending 3+ years studying you hopefully will get out and do some “stuff”, join a society, play sport, volunteer, get a job, mentor other students, do a year abroad, talk to people and form opinions. All these things help you to develop skills.
You are evolving, your 3rd year self would probably laugh at some of your 1st year self’s expectations, that’s fine we all learn by experience, you will carry on learning and evolving when you leave university and way beyond!
See the bigger picture
If you say you are a geography student and don’t know what to do (I was) we may ask you if there is anything related to your subject you are interested in – just to check, but we don’t have any expect you to have a revelation on the spot.
- Do some musing (ok we call it reflecting) think about who you are and what you want out of life. What is really important to you? Success, money, feeling good about what you do, location, hours of work, stress, other commitments?
- It doesn’t have to be forever what do you need right now? (it’s nice to have a long term plan, but most people’s change)
- Can you accurately evaluate your own skills & strengths? Do you know what you are good at and what you enjoy (these may not be the same things!)
Once you know a bit about yourself you could start looking at jobs and evaluating whether they meet your goals Prospects Planner can be useful at this point – it will suggest some job roles that meet your preferences based on a short survey. You could rule some in or out, and then go and look at some live vacancies to see what the jobs really look like, or talk to employers at fairs & networking events.
What if I find the job I really want and I’m doing the wrong degree?
- I wouldn’t panic too much there are a huge amount of jobs that take any degree and often it’s more important what skills you have developed.
- Big and small companies can also differ in their requirements so shop around.
- For some jobs you can do a Postgraduate “conversion” course e.g. IT, law, social work, teaching & medicine.
- Worst case scenario e.g. If you want to become an engineer and you have done English that’s going to be tricky – BUT there can be other options so don’t give up – talk to us and keep an open mind.
Don’t worry too much about what other people are doing.
While it can be interesting to find out what people from your degree do next, it doesn’t tell you what they did after that – which could be completely different.
Often students tell us all my friends are doing this…. They may be right, they may be wrong or it may be just right for them. You need to evaluate what YOU want to do and then take action accordingly. By doing whatever everyone else is doing you could simply be wasting your time or completely stressing yourself out!