Solutions When You Chosen The Wrong Degree

Frenchy from Grease wasn’t sure if Beauty School was right for her. But how can the rest of us be sure?

I’d finished my Year 12 exams. Preferences had been submitted and offers accepted. Now, at my new university’s Open Day, I was struck with the realisation that all I knew about my degree was its name. What if I had made the wrong choice? How would I know? What would I do about it?I decided to tackle these questions with the help of a few close friends one Friday night, as we reflected on our first year out of high school. Here’s what Laura, Alex, Mark, Ben, Alastair and Aashna had to say.Tip #1: Don’t get pressured into it.A lot of people influence what we choose to do after high school. Friends, family and even schools themselves will have their opinions. However, universities expect their students to be passionate and dedicated, which is easiest when you are studying for your own reasons. Also, the pressure isn’t always just about the degree itself. Laura knew she wanted to study Occupational Therapy, but felt the pressure of choosing an ‘elite’ university. Her advice to her former self? “Don’t be a snob about the local university, because it’s the same degree and it’s ten minutes away!”Tip #2: Your course should make you excited!Alex thought he knew exactly what he wanted, but a semester in his chosen degree left him with no doubt that he needed to change. “Over time I just found the course less interesting than I should,” he said.“And because I didn’t find it interesting enough, I couldn’t work hard. There was just no passion.”And by the way, being passionate about your chosen degree isn’t as dorky as it sounds. You’ll probably find when you start your classes in Chartered Accountancy, Podiatry or Journalism that you’re surrounded by people who completely get what fascinates you. Your shared passion will actually help you form friendships faster and settle in to the university lifestyle.Tip #3: There’s a difference between a bad class and a bad degree.Unless you are completely blessed, you will at some point have to take a class at university that makes you want to curl up in a ball and sleep through the semester. But have hope!Mark says you should figure out “whether you’re annoyed at the content itself or the way they’re trying to teach it to you.” Sometimes, you just have to grit your teeth and deal with that particularly obnoxious tutor, or that one horrendous assignment.Tip #4: Money matters, but there’s usually a way around any problems.Ben had to find an alternate way to get his dream job, after he found out he would have to pay the course fees up front. “It was practicality really,” he said.”If I did an aviation course at university it would cost me over $100,000, so I did my second choice at uni and chose to do aviation outside of uni. “It’s cheaper and basically better because now I’ve got two things going for me.”Meanwhile, Aashna felt pressured to take the scholarship she was offered for a double degree. What she wished she had known? “Not to be shackled by the scholarship, because it meant that I had to do Business/IT.””If I changed courses they wouldn’t give it to me,” she added. “I don’t mind it, but I just solely based my decision on the financial side of the scholarship.”If you’re especially worried about losing money by changing degrees after your semester has started, look up your university’s census date. In most cases, you can withdraw from a course, change degrees or defer your course at any point before the census date without incurring a financial penalty.If you decide to change degrees after already starting, you can also ask your university about whether you have any eligible credit points from previous classes. This is simply a way of acknowledging any classes you have already taken that can make up part of your new degree, and can save both time and money.Tip #5: Your degree doesn’t have to be the first option.Maybe desk learning isn’t how you learn best. Keep in mind that there are no rules forcing you to go straight from high school to university. Alastair decided to take an apprenticeship first, and then go to university later. “I’m such a practical learner, that I couldn’t just sit down and memorise stuff for hours on end,” he said.“Going to uni is something that I’ll need to do in order to progress, career wise, but as of now I can choose the hands-on route.”You might even find that the extra experience you can gather before going to university will give you a competitive edge.And my personal advice? Tip #6: Keep your perspective.Sure, this field of study might be what you end up doing with the rest of your life. Or it might be what you do for a few years. Or it could just be what you study for the next few months. A degree is not a life-long lock-in contract; it’s meant to be a tool and yes, it’s (mostly) meant to be fun. So enjoy it!