The 8 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Started Uni
by Katelyn Clarke
To my dearest, soon‐to‐be school graduate self, First up, just breathe…
I know people keep saying that you are about to make some of the biggest decisions of your life, but from someone who has been there, done that (literally) and actually knows what your life, career and the job market are going to look like in 15 years’ time, you can relax, I promise. Yes, your decisions will change the course of your entire life, but this is what you really need to know right now:
1. There is no right or wrong way to get from A to B. Sure it is going to save you time, and probably money, if you get from A to B in the quickest possible way but here’s the catch…
2. B might change. B does change. Three times! But it’s all good because education is never a waste and nobody can ever take it away from you. Which brings me on the next thing you need to know:
3. Studying and going to uni are so much more than just getting a degree and a job at the end. You are going to find your tribe, the best friendships you’ll ever have, forged from very late night study sessions at the 24 hour library, cheap noodles from the hole‐in‐the‐wall down the road with highly questionable food safety standards and a shared loathing of learning about the immune system, or biostatistics or [insert next tricky subject here, it will happen about once a week]. You might not end up with what you thought was your dream job at the end, but you will have friends and colleagues to support you through it all.
4. Don’t pick your career based on projected salary, perceived prestige or what everyone else thinks you should do. Don’t try and tie yourself down to a career and a life for the next 50 years based on how much you THINK you are going to earn (and when I say ‘think’ it really is a ‘guestimate’) or how much respect you’ll get. Study what you love. I know it’s hard to try and work that out right now but talk to as many people as you can. It’s not all going to be rainbows and unicorns but at least you’ll have the light at the end of the tunnel to keep you going. However…
5. Be realistic. You are smart enough to get into Dental School and you do love teeth but you are a nervous wreck who faints at the sight of blood. Give dentistry a miss. Actually, give medicine a miss too.
Now for some practical tips:
6. After you’ve started yet another degree and think you’ve now decided (again) what the new ‘B’ is, apply for credit! You never know, you might get lucky and not have to do some subjects in your new course.
7. There is nothing wrong with picking a uni close to home so you can live with your parents – You’ll be there for a while and it’ll be a drag at times but you’ll save heaps of money using the ‘parent taxi’.
8. You are also going to be at uni for most of your waking hours for the next seven years so pick one with decent coffee.
Finally, there is no such thing as making the wrong decision. You will achieve everything you set your mind to in the end and be proud of yourself so make the most of the experience!
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