This was part of my ‘Crash course to Uni‘ workshop.
Choosing what course you want to do, and what university you want to go to – is a pretty big decision. I certainly had no clue what I wanted to do, and it was only when I had to put down my uni preferences that I started seriously considering my options.
So, here is some wisdom that was passed down to me while I was sorting out my life after high school.
Do what YOU want to do
Pursue what you are genuinely interested in and go with your instincts. I bet that you are more likely to do better at something you love, than something that doesn’t take your fancy.
However, this is easier said than done for some students. The parents get in the way.
For example – when I was helping out at the VCESS BBQ at Course Information Day not long ago, I was speaking to a student whose parents wanted her to go to Melbourne, but she really wanted to go to Monash. And we basically told her that she should follow her gut and do what she wants.
I mean, our parents are just looking out for our best interest, but remember – at the end of the day, it should be your decision.
Do take their advice into consideration, don’t immediately shut them down because sometimes they may be on to something.
I also highly recommend NOT choosing a university to stay with your friends, boyfriend/girlfriend. It’s time to think for what’s best for you. Good friendships are ones where you don’t need to see your friends everyday. You may not catch up for weeks, but when you see them, it’s like you just saw them yesterday.
Attend the open days
However, sometimes the open days may not be the best representation of a university. Everyone will be on their best behaviour, the campus will be super clean, everything will be picture perfect for the one day. I would also recommend paying the universities a visit on a regular day to see what the uni is really like.
I was very unprepared going to Open days. I went in, wandered around the campus, picked up brochures, took all the freebies I could take, and went home.
If I were to go back to Year 12 and attend open days again – I would have prepared a couple of questions to ask people. Ask about the course – e.g. how is this Bachelor of Science course different to Monash? Ask about accommodation, campus life, fees etc.
Also – I would also follow the universities’ social media channels to get a sense of what’s happening on campus. I know that I kept an eye on the universities’ facebook pages to learn more about the universities.
Don’t let the distance scare you
Melbourne Uni used to be a 45 minute commute from my old place in Elsternwick. And now, it’s an hour and a half since I moved to the Frankston area. At first, I found the travel times really hard and I was contemplating moving out – but you get used to the travel time eventually.
There are plenty of things you can do while sitting on the train, such as doing last minute reading for that 9am tutorial. You can also download your lecture recordings and listen to them on the train.
It’s perfectly okay to take a gap year
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from studies and go on a gap year. Go and travel the world, work…get some perspective of the world then come back when you’re ready. I’ll have to find someone to guest blog about their gap year experience.
I was considering taking a gap year after my year 12. It was such an intense year, and I felt like I needed a break. However, I was worried that I may find it hard to get back into studying after a year-long break. So I didn’t take one – I went straight to uni. One thing VCE students should be aware of, is that the break between Year 12 and the start of uni is massive – I think it’s about 3 months?
3 months is actually a very long time!
The uni debate – which uni is ‘the best’?
Look – it ultimately depends on what you want to study. There is no ‘one size fits all’ scenario when it comes to uni.
Do your research and ask around. Try getting in touch with students who are doing, or have completed the course – and ask for their opinion.
[plain]Do you have other tips to share with these students?
Please leave a comment below.[/plain]