The start of a great journey
> Take time to think about where you want to be
YOU have an important decision to make: what to study and where to study. It can be a confusing time for someone who’s just finished school and who hasn’t quite decided what to do. Add to that the myriad of exciting courses offered by thousands of universities around the globe, and it’s easy to figure out why choosing a course and country to study in can be a daunting task. It doesn’t help if you’re also being subjected to parental pressure to choose the course of study they have planned for you. So what do you do? The following steps may be useful:
Decide on your intended career path first. You have to have a fair idea of what you want to be before deciding on the course to pursue. Sit down in a quiet place and allow your mind to relax, and then ask yourself “What do I want to be?” At this point, don’t think of the course of study you’ll need to undertake to get there, nor the cost, because these considerations will distract you from going deep into your mind and finding your true calling. Try and get a picture of yourself doing what you want to do as a professional and capture the feeling of happiness or fulfilment you get from that picture.
Determine how you will get to be what you want to be. Once you have got a clear picture of what you want to be, get a pen and paper and write down all the things you need to do to get there. What sort of course do you need to do to be able to do the job effectively? For example, if you see yourself producing television commercials, what would you need to study to be able to do that? Where would you need to get a job upon graduation? What sort of job would you have to do first before you progress to actually making commercials (because let’s face it, not many clients are going to ask a fresh graduate to make a commercial and you may have to work as an apprentice first)? This will enable you to zoom in on the specific things you will need to do to help your ambition become a reality.
Next, find out as much as you can about the degree programme that will help equip you with the knowledge and skills you need. Surf the internet, attend education fairs, talk to the career guidance counsellors at local colleges and if possible, talk to professionals who are already in the line you have chosen to gather information and advice. Make a list of all the reputable, recognised educational institutions, both local and abroad, where the course of study is being offered.
Once you have shortlisted the educational institutions, find out more about the relevant courses they offer and whether they fit in with your budget. Check on how the courses are structured, the sort of practical training that’s involved, the location of the university and range of subjects involved. Then, based on a consideration of all the factors, make your choice of the most suitable course to take and the best institution to sign up for it.
Of course, the above advice is only applicable if your financiers are in complete accordance with your ambition. But what if they want you to study finance and you want to do fashion design? Well, there is no need to give up on your dreams. Sometimes, compromising is the best way to get what you want in the long term.
Try to work out a way where you can do both. How? Well, there are two ways: look for an educational institution that allows you to combine courses from the different disciplines so you get to do what you want while fulfilling your parents’ wishes. One of the advantages of studying in a place like the UK is that it offers flexibility to those who want to study more than one subject. Look for an institution that will offer you the best combination.
Another way is to sign up for finance and work during your course to save up some money so that when you’ve graduated, you’ll have some savings put aside to do a course in fashion design. Full-time students in the UK are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during their holidays. Another way to finance your degree course would be to apply for scholarships, bursaries or other forms of financial aid.
Right, why don’t you go look for a place where you can think about what you want to be? Head to the Education UK 2016 exhibition on Nov 5 and 6, 1pm – 6pm, Hall 2, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Cut the queue and pre-register yourself at https:// my.edukexhibition.org/en
Choosing a course and country to study in can be a daunting task.
Talk to career guidance counsellors for advice.