Even for people who know what really matters to them, it can still be hard to find the pathway to their dream career. That was the case for Jasmine Rasmussen, who has always wanted to be a marine scientist due to her passion for conservation.
“As a little girl, I was raised to care about nature, and through holidaying on the Great Barrier Reef, I knew I just had to work in this beautiful environment that was crucial for the survival of this planet,” she says. “I was driven by curiosity about how things work and have had a passion for science ever since.
“[But] I wasn’t sure what path to take in order to get there. I was also discouraged from this career in high school, which led me to worry about which journey I should take and I spent a lot of time overthinking what degree I should enrol in.”
Jasmine decided to follow her instincts and is currently studying a Bachelor of Science at Griffith University, focusing on marine science — and absolutely loving it. Looking back, it was the obvious choice, but she almost wound up studying something she wasn’t passionate about: veterinary science. But after having already completed some volunteering opportunities with Griffith for shark tagging and whale surveys, she’d had a hands-on taste of her dream and decided to go for it. For anyone struggling to make a choice about what to study, her advice is to do something that fits in with both your head and your heart.
“It’s easy to fall into the trap of choosing the ’safer’ option, but you will only truly succeed in something that you are passionate enough to work hard for,” she says. “I also didn’t realise until I left school that there are so many pathways to get into your dream degree, and regardless of your scores, you actually can do whatever you want with a few bridging courses and some dedication. And at the same time, don’t just do a course because your ATAR was good enough. I found a lot of my high-achieving friends were being pushed into areas without a real passion for it. You have to do what you love.”
Okay, but what if you haven’t figured out or don’t necessarily know what you love [yet]? Well, we’ve teamed up with Griffith Uni to create a Career Counsellor Generator – it will ask about your passions and interests and might just point you in the direction of a career path you’ll love. Plus, by completing the quiz, you’ll be in the running to score a JB HI-FI voucher worth $2000: how’s that for incentive?
For Jasmine, Griffith Uni has provided hands-on experience and priceless mentoring opportunities, and she’s already nabbed a full-time job at the Global Wetlands Project after interning for them through her course. Beyond that, she found herself continually motivated by both the lecturers and the research going on around her at uni, proof that she could also do important work in sustainability.
“The thing that surprised me most when I started studying was the incredible support from our lecturers,” she says. “I think as a nervous teen I expected them to be unapproachable, but every time I reached out looking to volunteer, they were super helpful and encouraging. I was also surprised to see the amazing work that goes on in the labs and behind the scenes that you wouldn’t hear about in the mainstream media. It makes me realise that uni is a really rich environment where we are surrounded by people who are leading their field and willing to give you a chance.”
For Jasmine, the next step is undertaking a PhD so she can better care for our world. “Being able to build upon a wealth of knowledge on our most valuable resource, the ocean, means that I can help secure the future of our natural world,” she says. “I understand this is not a one-man job, and feel honoured to be a part of an incredible community of like-minded researchers who are dedicating their lives to preserve the future for others.”
If you want to make your studies matter but need some direction, our quiz is a great place to start.