When it comes to picking a uni degree, there are so many factors that go into it: do you want flexibility while you study? What sparks your passion? How do you want to make an impact with your life? Who can help you figure all of this out?
What we all know is choosing what you’re going to study isn’t always a brisk walk in the park. Perhaps you’re the type of person who loves being around other creative minds for an hour before wanting nothing more than to retreat to the solitude of your own desk. The trusty ol’ introvert/extrovert combo can be a tough one to navigate.
There’s certainly a lot to mull, and sometimes the best guidance comes from those who’ve experienced it all before, so we chatted to four Swinburne alumni to get their individual takes on how they decided what they wanted to study. Who knows, their perspectives might just get your brain thinking in the right direction.
Alex Giang is a business analyst who studied Business Information Systems, Jess Scata found her path studying Engineering, Cassie Binns landed on Business Management and Media and Communications, while Hamish McPhee got a degree in Commerce (Marketing). So prep your pen and paper and write this all down — it’ll come in handy, I promise.
In the meantime, definitely start drafting up a list of courses that tickle your fancy and pop them through in your Timely application – where you can order the tertiary courses based on what interests you the most, and it’ll help you feel confident in your VTAC preferences.
PEDESTRIAN.TV: What were your thoughts on uni when you were in high school, and how did they change when you started your first year?
Alex Giang: My thoughts about uni changed heaps throughout my first year (in a positive way). I got involved with sports at uni and enjoyed all the extracurricular activities available outside the classroom which made my first year super enjoyable and allowed me to embrace university life.
Jess Scata: I thought university wouldn’t be as challenging or learning-heavy compared to high school. I learnt very quickly that you shouldn’t leave studying or projects until the last minute (or the night before)!
Cassie Binns: I quickly realised that university is not such a big and scary change and I should not have spent so long worrying about it before I even got there. I learnt so many things in my first year from my lecturers and peers that I still use to this day.
Hamish McPhee: I knew that I had wanted to study business but it wasn’t until I started my first year that really helped me refine what I was most interested in.
P.TV: Did you speak to anyone for advice before choosing a course?
Cassie: At the open days, I was able to speak to students and lecturers and gain some insight into the course from people that had experienced it firsthand. I also spoke to a guidance counsellor to gain further knowledge and a different point of view before making an informed decision about where I would like to go to university, and what course I would like to study.
Hamish: Choosing the right uni for me was really important, I spoke to my friends who all had their eyes on courses at the most prestigious universities requiring the highest ATAR scores but I also consulted with family members and really anyone that I knew at the time that had attended uni or had done a business-related course.
P.TV: What did they say and did you listen to the advice?
Jess: I started looking into courses and universities back in 2012 when I was in year 11. During this time, Gen Z recommended I look into upcoming top-ranking universities like Swinburne University that had a strong focus on practical learning experiences, and also had an exciting student life and awesome campus environment.
Hamish: Advice from my friends at the time was terrible! They were more concerned with finding ways for us all to stay together and attend the same uni – needless to say it’s not something I took on board.
P.TV: Did your interests change once you were at uni?
Alex: During the first year, I knew I didn’t want to code but still also wanted to stay in the IT sector. So in that instance, I decided to enrol in a Diploma for the next year instead of going directly to the bachelor which allowed me to figure out what I wanted to do and plan out the next year.
Jess: I realised that I was more of a people person who enjoyed managing people and projects, and that I didn’t get satisfaction from working in a design / technical role. I was still interested in working in the engineering industry, but I had more of an idea of the type of graduate role I wanted to go into.
P.TV: What did you learn during the first year of uni that changed the way you approached the remainder of your course?
Alex: In the first year, I learned heaps about myself and the pathway I wanted to take. Since I took “the long way” (going to TAFE before heading off to university or higher education), it gave me the advantage of understanding more about myself and what I wanted to do. I entered the “post-school” life with the idea of getting into Computer Science and becoming a Software Engineer.
Cassie: I learnt that my lecturers and tutors are happy to help when help is asked for. They loved to receive emails with questions about the content or upcoming assignments and were more than happy to lend a helping hand.
P.TV: Did you know what you wanted to do from a young age (or did you learn as you went)?
Alex: In short, no. I am a true believer that experiences will shape your career and your pathway.
Hamish: When I was a kid I wanted to be a gardener, and you can probably argue that I’m still trying to figure out what I really want to do. Uni really did help me with the guidance that I needed and offered the flexibility to change and adapt to suit my personal interests. It also offered me the opportunity to travel to eight countries in the European Union, meet lifelong friends and allowed me to get a foot in the door of the corporate world.
P.TV: What advice would you give to people who don’t know what they want to study, but they still want to go to uni?
Alex: My biggest advice would be — don’t be afraid to try new things, as it will help you find out what pathway suits you. And most importantly, never stop learning. Because, again, experiences will shape your thinking and bring a new perspective in life.
Jess: It is very common for students to change their minds about their careers throughout their studies so it is important that you find a university that suits your wants and needs, and gives you peace of mind that you can easily change courses in the future.
Cassie: My advice would be to research different courses and figure out what your interests and hobbies are. It is difficult to choose a university course when you are not sure what your future holds. For me, the best thing I did was to choose a broad course at university, and gradually learn what my passions are and what I could see my future self pursuing as a career.
Hamish: Do not panic! My advice would be to choose something broad and something that feels right to you. You can always adapt and change to suit your personal needs/interests.
Applications for Timely close on September 30th at 5pm, so get your thinking cap on and start writing your thoughts down. Pen to paper truly helps you feel confident in your VTAC preferences.
There’s also no better way to figure out your preferences than to go straight to the source: strike up a live chat, or book a one-on-one appointment with a Swinburne expert.
Get excited about your future folks, it’s quite a journey.
Check out everything Swinburne has to offer right ‘ere.Image: Gossip Girl