By Tom Vasey
One of the big challenges that you’ll no doubt be coping with right now is enrolment for next year. Hopefully you’ve got a fair idea of what you actually want to do, but it’s not quite as simple as picking something, is it? Especially if you’re choosing your major, it can be a pretty harrowing experience just to make sure you don’t get saddled with something utterly rubbish. Even if you’ve got that sorted out, there are things like electives that you need to watch out for, which are their own kettle of utter nonsense.
So, what can you do about it?
Well, let’s start with majors. You’ve got an insane amount of variety available when it comes to majors, and it’s often a matter of too much choice rather than too little. It’s easier said than done to pick something like this, and if it seems like a big decision, that’s a good thing – it really is and it’s good to give it a level of respect. The standard advice is often to just choose something you enjoy. While that’s an okay option, it’s also a good idea to make an informed decision. You can check online to get a few ideas about where a career path will take you. Some things tend to look really good and interesting on the surface, but they won’t lead you in a direction you’ll ultimately be happy with.
Take me, for instance. I actually do a Psych and Business conjoint degree, which has involved trying to pick some sort of business major for next year. The obvious choice for a major to gel with Psychology is Marketing, and a lot of people tend to follow that path. In fact, the person who first twigged me on to learning about conjoints last year was in that major. Still, it didn’t really feel right, and as I come to the end of my second year, it still doesn’t feel right. Advertising, marketing and things like that are really good for some people, but I don’t think I could live with it myself. Besides, I’d be one heck of a hypocrite given my liberal use of Adblock.
The point is, it’s a huge decision, and it’s okay to take it seriously. If you know any alumni or people further along in your degree, feel free to ask them. Just make sure you make a choice you can be happy with. And if you’re still in doubt, go and talk to AUT’s Careers and Employability team – they’re really helpful.
So with that done and dusted, what about electives? Well, again, the vast majority of people will say to do something that’s interesting to you, and that’s totally viable most of the time. However, I’m going to drop a little knowledge about how electives used to work back in the day and what it means for university students. You see, in the olden days, an elective was meant to be something utterly divorced from what your major was. The idea was that taking these additional papers would help round out your knowledge. Obviously it isn’t the 1800s anymore, so no one’s going to boot you up the backside to make you do anything, but it’s something to consider. Electives are a great way to round out your knowledge base, become a much more broadly educated person, and get a little expertise in something you never would’ve considered looking at before.
As always, make sure to check in with your faculty, and feel free to ask anyone who’s taken an interesting elective or major before to see if you can get a little inspiration. You’re spoiled for choice in this place, and it’s a great opportunity to do something a little different with yourself.
Take care everyone, and have a lovely week!