Be career competent: do your research

Around this time 5 years ago my friends and I spent our lunchtimes excitedly chattering about what we were doing next year at uni and what we would do in the big wide world in the years that would follow. Our dream courses and careers were wide and varied. From acting to medicine, to law and interior design, we couldn’t wait to ‘get on with it’ and follow the smooth path from uni to living a working adult life. 5 years and many degree changes later and we are still having that conversation.

You only get out what you put in: do the hard research now and enjoy a truly fulfilling career later

The path from uni to career is less of a smooth road and more of a rock climbing wall. From the friends I graduated school with, less than half ended up finishing the same degree they started. Despite school ‘career days’ and decision making support from our teachers and family, we never really forced ourselves to reality test our dream careers. For example, one of my friends was a brilliant artist with a real knack for style and saw herself in a career in interior design. One year later her neck pain and patience reserves couldn’t take anymore long nights of technical drawing and scale measurements. She ended up swapping to a communications degree and now has a career in marketing where she can exercise her creative flair through graphic design.

Its easy to have a romanticized idea of your dream career when you don’t have anyone telling you about the hard times and the paper work. Don’t underestimate the value of having a conversation with a student studying your ideal course, or a professional working in your dream field. If a work experience opportunity comes your way, really consider it. There is nothing wrong with changing degrees or career paths, but that path can be a lot easier to walk with a bit of hard research.

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