After a couple of people that I knew transferred universities, recently, I started thinking back to my first year of uni, and the friends that I made. It struck me: none of them had followed the path that they began, two years ago. While I’ve stuck with the same old degree, they’ve all transferred, switched degrees or dropped out. And I’m not talking 1 or 2 people, here; I’m talking at least 10.
I used to think that those people who changed degrees- or abandoned them- were just indecisive, or lacking motivation (sorry, guys). But the more I think about it, the more I start to question my unwavering commitment to my own degree. I mean, the very idea of choosing your life path- at the tender age of 18 (or 17, for some)- just seems a little ridiculous. I don’t mean that in a way that’s condescending; not in the slightest. There are plenty of highly-motivated young people who have ambition, and know exactly where they want to be. And I think that’s incredibly admirable.
However, the truth is, a lot of us really don’t know. So many people are simply pushed into a particular degree, by parents or teachers, in order to secure a high-paying job. And even those who aren’t pushed down one path, are usually expected to go to university straight after their HSC (in which case, choosing the right degree becomes a matter of Russian roulette).
I’m not, in any way, against uni. Let me make this clear: I’m probably one of the most pro-uni people you’re ever likely to meet. But, realistically, so many people that I’ve met, who went straight into uni, have done a complete 180. They’ve transferred from Science to Arts; from Media to Accounting; or they’ve dropped out, after deciding that the psuedo-intellectualism of uni just wasn’t for them. And they’ve been left with at least a year’s worth of debt, for something that they spent a year of their life hating.
When I think about the amount of people who’ve done this, I think it says less about their lack of commitment, and more about the unrealistic expectations that are placed on young people to think about their ‘future’. Most people are expected to commit to a degree- and an enormous HECS debt- before they have any real taste of the career that they’re pursuing. Some students even go to uni before having a part-time job. How are they supposed to know what kind of career they want, if their only vocational experiences have taken place inside the educational sphere?
This doesn’t just apply to those that have changed degrees, though. I mean, even if I make it to the end of the year, and graduate… What happens then? What happens when we get into the real world? When we travel, and realise what else is out there? When we can’t find a job, or we realise that we liked the job in theory, but not in practice?
Students who change degrees or decide to defer university -in favour of work or travel- are often dismissed as less ‘dedicated’ students. But there are people that I’ve met who have done those very things, and come out with a much clearer idea of where they want to be in life. Could it be that those things aren’t so bad? Perhaps- once I’ve completed my degree and gone into the real world- they’ll be the ones with the real experience. Perhaps…
'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' soundtrack reminds me of why I've always loved Trent Reznor. It also makes me incredibly excited to see the film. If it doesn't meet my ridiculously high expectations, I might just cry.