The telltale signs your degree isn’t right for you

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In year 10, I sat with a career advisors as she told me, with all the empathy of a forest fire, that journalism was a dying field.

“If you want to write full time you’re going to have to marry rich.” She laughed as she began to flick through the course guide for a more ‘practical’ option.

Meanwhile 15-year-old me, completely terrified and frozen at the mention of being married, bottled the idea of journalism up and buried it deep within me. Two years later I filled out an application for Law and Fine Arts. I took the main elements of what I loved to do, reading and writing, and transposed them into a career path that was more acceptable and stable.

At first I thought I could do it, I learned to sew my mouth shut, not offer my opinions on how the law worked. I just learned the structures, the formulas, the principles and applied them. And it was doable, I was getting good grades and I told myself I could stick this out for five years. But the problem was, I didn’t want to stick it out for five years. I didn’t want to study trespass and assault and I didn’t want to find yet another goddamn case on Casebase.

A year and a half into my degree I was at home one night curled up on the couch watching a journalistic discussion panel. “You would be good at that.” One of my housemates said. And that’s all it took to unscrew the lid of the bottled up journalism dream that had sat in my ribcage for the last two years.

Sound like it’s something you’re going through? Here are the telltale signs that your degree isn’t right for you.

You have no motivation

Sure, every uni student lacks motivation from time to time. But you are supposed to somewhat enjoy your degree. If you’re lacking the motivation to do well and you just don’t care to learn about the content or participate in your degree, it’s probably a red flag this isn’t the degree for you. So if the romantic sparks that you and your degree had when you first started studying have faded, it might be time to have an “It’s not you, it’s me” conversation with your tertiary education.

You’re staying in the degree for the wrong reasons

Whether you’re staying in your degree because of parental expectations, for monetary incentive or because you’re just too afraid to change your degree, you should be studying something because you love it, or at the very least like it. Not everyone has to use their degrees to become a professional in that exact field, but if you can’t see yourself ever using the degree at all? Change it.

You keep thinking of a different course or career path

If you’re just fed up with your course you might just be experiencing a bad subject, or mid-sem blues. However if you find yourself constantly thinking about another course you think you’d be more suited to, chances are you should change.

Changing courses can be scary and unappealing – you become a first year again, you need to settle in to a new area of university, make new friends, and get familiar with a new faculty. But at the end of the day, the quicker you act the better. If you’re thinking about changing now, it’s likely you’ll be thinking about changing in a year or two years time. Because if you’re ticking off these telltale signs one by one about your degree, it might not be right for you.

Ivy Mullins

Ivy studies at QUT and co-owns the blog She is an avid lover of polka dots and a good book. 

Image: Girls official Facebook page