Before you rush off to University
The thing with the current process of applying to University is that it is such a rushed process. You are only starting your second year at College and already you need to apply to University based on your predicted grades.
That leaves you with no chance of ensuring not only if University is the right choice but whether you are even studying the right thing. One course of action is seeking careers advise. Although well intended, Careers Advisers are only really equipped to recommend what would be the appropriate A levels to study based on what degree you want to do. So when I told my Career Advisor that I want to study Law he recommended that I chose ‘academic' subjects like ‘History, English and Politics'. The current subjects of ‘Business Studies, Media Studies and even Law’, that I was studying at the time, were not deemed optimal A-Levels to be a foundation for a law degree.
All this was good advice if studying Law was truly the right path for me. However, what I feel would be a more valuable approach would be 'Career Coaching' rather than simply 'Career Advice'. The difference is that Career Coaching would be focused on finding out what would be the ‘right’ thing for you to study based on what you truly value.
So in my case, it would involve asking me:
‘Why do I want to study law’?,
‘Since when did I want to be an International Criminal Lawyer?’,
‘How would I feel if I got that degree?’,
‘What would I do after graduation?’,
‘Are there other ways of having the same impact as a Lawyer?’,
‘What would be the impact of not being a Lawyer?'.
This would give an opportunity to see if I really light up based on my answers.
I could then be probed:
‘What do I find myself doing in my free time even when no one has asked me to do it?’,
'What is the one thing I would love to do everyday of my life even if I was not paid to do it’?
‘What is something that I am known for being really good at or was known to be?’ ‘
'Why did I stop doing that thing?’
'How would I feel if I started doing that thing again?’
‘What would be the impact if i never did that thing again?’.
Based on those questions it would have become apparent that I was applying to study Law to please someone else, namely fulfilling my Dad's incomplete dream of studying law at Queen Mary University and become a solicitor. It would also become obvious that I was more creative and that I had an inner longing to get back to my artistic side since abandoning it a few years ago. The evidence of this was that the only A’s I would ever get was in Art during GCSEs and from a film project I did during A-Level Media Studies.
Furthermore, growing up I used to love and excel in Arts and Crafts, which was what I was known for by my peers and teachers. My favourite toy was my Lego Castle, where many new creations were built as well as many epic battles had. One of the biggest things I ever built was an entire underground sewer city for my Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles no doubt. These were all signs that I should explore more Creative Careers as that represents not only what I value but what I was naturally good at.
Being coached this way would have prevented another seven years lost in the Creative wilderness until my soul finally cracked from denying what I truly valued. So before you rush of to University, find out what is the right thing for you to learn (the what and the why) before you learn that thing right (the how).