Letters from the dorm: It's not easy planning your future

Letters from the dorm: It's not easy planning your future

Going to university is meant to be a chance to follow academic as well as other passions. But let's be honest: no one goes to university just for the sheer joy of spending hours studying and writing essays.

The main reason is to improve job prospects. Notice boards around campus and my Facebook newsfeed constantly show notices from different societies. They offer events and workshops hosted by companies. We all attend, looking for the chance to add something else to our CVs. We also hope it will give us an edge when we get around to applying for a job.

I chose to study philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) because I am interested in how these subjects connect. I was one of those people who actually read the BBC website, SCMP and The Economist before going to university. Really, I didn't just mention them for the sake of it on my personal statement.

During my second year at uni, I can drop one of the three PPE topics, and focus on another. But I'm going to stick with all these topics, because I am so interested in them. I know, I sound like a nerd, right? While making this choice is going to land me with lots of extra work, I'm (hopefully) going to enjoy what I came to university to study.

Before university, I knew exactly what I wanted to study and why I wanted to study it. But I had no idea what area of the job market I was going to focus on.

Many people who study PPE decide from the get-go that they're going to go into banking or some other corporate area. Other people on my course have decided to focus on media, law or the civil service.

It's extremely difficult for anyone to decide what they want to do with their lives after university. It is even harder when your peers are constantly discussing spring weeks, case studies, internships and life choices in the library.

I constantly worry about whether or not I'm doing enough outside of my course, how many internships I should be applying for, and what I could be doing to keep up with those who chase after jobs in corporate finance. I'm not even sure if I want to pursue banking, and I honestly wish I had more time to find out. Making these tough decisions is never going to be easy.

After a lot of thinking, planning and stress-eating, my advice is to focus on your uni work, but also find time to go to careers and skills events. Then you can have a good understanding of what your options are.

And you also discover what you need to do to prepare yourself for life after university. Make sure you research the areas and companies where you are considering applying for internships.

If you're still unsure about your future plans, speak to older students, careers officers, parents and friends. The road ahead is full of bumps, but if you use all the tools that you have, then you'll feel a lot more confident about the future.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Making the tough decisions


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