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August 14, 2020, 08:40:06 pm

Author Topic: I don't know what to study in university  (Read 540 times)  Share 

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ree004

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I don't know what to study in university
« on: July 13, 2020, 04:23:45 pm »
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Hi! I'm new to atarnotes and the only reason i'm here today is because i've been stressing about my career path.

I'm currently an year 11 student enrolled in VCE, these are my subjects:
- Specialist
I'm okay at it. My average for my Sacs is around 72%. I don't LOVE IT but I certainly would prefer it over methods.
- Methods
Also okay at it. My average for my Sacs is around 75%. It's not that it's hard or anything, I just don't put enough effort into it because it is not interesting.

((note) I like maths, more than any other area)

- Biology
I don't know why I have this as a subject honestly, I really liked it in year 9 and 10 but this year, I think I just lose my passion for it, I find it dull and it has way too much work load. Average: 82%
- English
 Don't hate it or love it. Definitely wouldn't want a career in it. Average: 86%
- Chemistry
I love it. It's the subject I like most because of all the topics and I'm also pretty good at it. Strong considering a future in it. Average: 90%
- Business management 3/4
It's so easy, I don't even have to try. I love the real world application and wouldn't mind working in a bank or something or being a management consultant. Average: 95%

So, my atar I know will not be 99.95. I am honestly just aiming for a 86-90 if i'm being completely honest. And I know I will not be able to become a doctor and doing a post-grad is too much of a risk for me, especially if I don't even like biomed.

For the business side, a commerce degree has a lot of pathways and I wanted to do finance, and travel and have options, but I don't really have good people skills and a stable future in this competitive career is hard and will take a lot of years and I'm more scared of unemployment than anything.

For the chemistry side, i'm currently considering a chemical engineering because I love the practical side and I love chemistry. Also because I have an interest in nuclear chemistry. However, I don't know what this entails and what universities have courses and the pathway to becoming a chemical engineer and if its suitable for me.

Those are the three pathways I have considered. Could someone please answer those questions and assist me in gaining more knowledge in them. Also, could you please be honest in your responses.

Thank You!

K888

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2020, 05:28:49 pm »
+17
Can't really provide specific info on the career sides you've expressed an interest in, but I just wanted to come and say that it's incredibly normal to not know what you want to do at university while you're still in high school - even a lot of uni students aren't sure of what they actually want to do! Don't feel the pressure to make your mind up straight away :) You have all of this year and next year to further explore your interests, then you have many years after you finish high school to decide what path you want to take in life!
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AngelWings

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2020, 07:20:35 pm »
+12
Hi there, Ree004!

Totally agree with K888ís answer and say that this is perfectly normal. I didnít know what I wanted either when I was in Year 11. I flip-flopped between career pathways a lot and actually didnít really decide on a pathway until I was in mid-uni (and even then, I switched once again, when I started looking for jobs). Rest assured, youíre not alone.

Hereís a few questions for you to consider:
1. Have you got an idea of which institute youíd be most interested in studying at?
2. Have you considered double degrees? What seems to catch your eye there?
3. What sort of hobbies or interests do you have beyond the ones youíve already described? (For example, what extracurriculars do you do that you enjoy?)
4. What is most important to you in a course, besides employability?

These sorts of questions might help to dwindle down the list a bit or clarify your ideas.

Iíd suggest, if itís possible, to have a chat with a trusted adult who knows you well and/or your careers teacher and do some research (or more, if you have). A good place to start is to check out some Open Days and other events. I relatively recently compiled a list of events that might help you make a decision or get in touch with someone who can help - you can access it here (click the blue link). Iíd also suggest you ask your desired institute(s) during these events about what finance and chemical engineering (or any other interesting career path) entail, so you can get a better idea and see if thatís right for you.

Iíd also recommend having a look at some of the government resource, such as:
- Job Outlook
- Career Bullseyes

Note that all of the above resources are good to simply get an idea of what you could do, but it doesnít necessarily mean itís set in stone once you begin your degree or even your career. Iíve seen plenty of people change degrees and career directions multiple times!
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LoneWolf

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2020, 07:38:06 pm »
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Dont go to uni...get into the workforce...

Experience>untried knowledge!
you only get into debt at uni!


(gonna cause some stirs i know but please consider my point!)
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SamohTL

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2020, 08:11:10 pm »
+14
University isn't a competition, it might take you a bit longer to graduate, but whatever it takes to make you happier with your career choice is better. I like what others have pointed out as well.

I changed career choices so many times: I went from double degree eng/biomed, then dropped to biomed (before uni started), then transferred into science for mid years... and then IT as a 2nd year and stuck with it. Took me an extra year to graduate but I'm very happy with where I went. It might take a bit of shifting and turning, but you'll get there.


keltingmeith

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2020, 08:34:10 pm »
+12
Dont go to uni...get into the workforce...

Experience>untried knowledge!
you only get into debt at uni!


(gonna cause some stirs i know but please consider my point!)

Don't mind me, I'm just going to come out of the gate swinging:

Solid advice, absolutely misplaced. You don't necessarily need a degree to do what you want in life, and plenty of people end up going to university when they don't need to. This is not the case for a job in STEM, which OP has already said chemistry and maths are their favourite subjects. There is nothing wrong with NOT going to university - if you need qualifications, there are plenty of TAFE courses that'll get you accredited with a smaller cost and only 1 year of study. There are plenty of jobs out there as well that'll give you a job with just a year 12 degree, not to mention apprenticeships you can take after finishing just year 10 (although I encourage getting a high school certificate before leaving school, when possible). Hell, take an apprenticeship, you'll be earning more than most entry-level graduates by the time they're ready to enter the workforce. Not going to uni can be a great choice - but you need to realise that some jobs require a university degree. Hell, if you want a job in science, you often need to take a post-graduate degree.

For the chemistry side, i'm currently considering a chemical engineering because I love the practical side and I love chemistry. Also because I have an interest in nuclear chemistry. However, I don't know what this entails and what universities have courses and the pathway to becoming a chemical engineer and if its suitable for me.

I think there's a great litany of advice here that you should read here already, but I'm going to add my two cents as someone who also loves chemistry and maths: consider why you DON'T want to do a post-graduate degree, and consider changing your mind (out of curiosity, what are your reasons?). Science is one of those disciplines where a Bachelors degree won't get you very far. There are certainly many jobs you could get into, ranging from simple pharmaceutical jobs to QA testing, but definitely a honours degree helps to be competitive. Plus, there are plenty of jobs at places like CSIRO, but once you start looking at jobs with the title of "Scientist", a PhD becomes more and more necessary.

If you're interested in chemical engineering though, that's great! But I should add, chemical engineers typically work with one area of chemistry and one area alone: thermodynamics. Which is fine if you like that, but if one of the reasons you like chemistry is because "of all the topics", you may be disappointed.

If you're hoping for a specific degree for me to recommend, I would say you should consider a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne (#betrayingmonash). A Bachelor of Engineering is going to rope you into 4 years of education, a double degree of Science and Engineering is going to rope you into 5+ years, but Science is going to just cost you 3 years. The reason I suggest Melbourne is because you can take engineering subjects as a part of your science degree - so you could balance it with some chemical engineering, some actual chemistry, and some maths in your first and second year as well. Then, if it turns out you want to be a chemical engineer, you only need to take a graduate engineering diploma (which will only cost you 1 year, so it will be as if you did the bachelor of engineering at the start). If it turns out you don't, then you've got a science degree in Chemistry, and can try looking for QA jobs or simple formulation jobs, or consider an honours degree or even PhD. But again, that's just my thought, and there's plenty of good advice coming from others you should also consider


EDIT: Also, wanted to add on to the "it's okay to not know what you want". Hell, I thought I wanted a PhD, and now that I'm technically halfway through it, I think I've changed my mind entirely and want to drop out of it. You're allowed to not know, as much as society makes it sound like you should.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 09:01:18 pm by keltingmeith »
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insanipi

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2020, 08:57:56 pm »
+9
Following on from the chemeng discussion, if you're game on doing 5 (or 6) years of uni- the Monash pharmaceutical science and chemical engineering double degree gives a little bit more chemistry than just chemeng.

Also with pharmsci itself there's many pathways you can take- such QA/QC and formulation/R&D, or you can go down the postgrad route and do (imo) cool drug research things 😅

It's okay to not know exactly what you want to do at any one time- heck I still don't know what I want after this year 😅😅😅
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 09:02:02 pm by insanipi »
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turinturambar

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2020, 09:20:22 pm »
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If you're hoping for a specific degree for me to recommend, I would say you should consider a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne (#betrayingmonash). A Bachelor of Engineering is going to rope you into 4 years of education, a double degree of Science and Engineering is going to rope you into 5+ years, but Science is going to just cost you 3 years. The reason I suggest Melbourne is because you can take engineering subjects as a part of your science degree - so you could balance it with some chemical engineering, some actual chemistry, and some maths in your first and second year as well. Then, if it turns out you want to be a chemical engineer, you only need to take a graduate engineering diploma (which will only cost you 1 year, so it will be as if you did the bachelor of engineering at the start). If it turns out you don't, then you've got a science degree in Chemistry, and can try looking for QA jobs or simple formulation jobs, or consider an honours degree or even PhD. But again, that's just my thought, and there's plenty of good advice coming from others you should also consider

This is my curiousity more than anything else, but after that science degree Unimelb are almost certain to try and push you into a Master of Engineering.  Would the graduate diploma force you to go to a different university?
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keltingmeith

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2020, 09:44:26 pm »
+1
This is my curiousity more than anything else, but after that science degree Unimelb are almost certain to try and push you into a Master of Engineering.  Would the graduate diploma force you to go to a different university?

Yeah, the graduate diploma I found for reference was at Swinburne. You could stay at Melbourne if you really want, but you'd have to go the masters route, which will take 2 years instead of 1 (the website says it'll take 3 years, but then their pathway part says you can get accredited by doing a BSc for 3 years then the masters for 2, so I imagine having a Melbourne degree with the right major cuts a year off)
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Previous Study:
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ree004

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2020, 01:09:52 pm »
+1

If you're interested in chemical engineering though, that's great! But I should add, chemical engineers typically work with one area of chemistry and one area alone: thermodynamics. Which is fine if you like that, but if one of the reasons you like chemistry is because "of all the topics", you may be disappointed.

If you're hoping for a specific degree for me to recommend, I would say you should consider a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne (#betrayingmonash). A Bachelor of Engineering is going to rope you into 4 years of education, a double degree of Science and Engineering is going to rope you into 5+ years, but Science is going to just cost you 3 years. The reason I suggest Melbourne is because you can take engineering subjects as a part of your science degree - so you could balance it with some chemical engineering, some actual chemistry, and some maths in your first and second year as well. Then, if it turns out you want to be a chemical engineer, you only need to take a graduate engineering diploma (which will only cost you 1 year, so it will be as if you did the bachelor of engineering at the start). If it turns out you don't, then you've got a science degree in Chemistry, and can try looking for QA jobs or simple formulation jobs, or consider an honours degree or even PhD. But again, that's just my thought, and there's plenty of good advice coming from others you should also consider


Hi! thanks a lot for the detailed response, I really appreciate it. As well as for all others who replied.

I don't really know what part of chemistry I like, but you recommended doing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne. So I have some questions for that.

1. If I were to get into the course, what would I major in? For example, I have to major in Chemical Systems to get into Chemical Engineering, and if I change my mind, would that limit my options of doing a graduate degree in another course.
2. I don't really understand postgraduate courses. Will you be able to explain how it would relate to me?
3. If I don't end up becoming a chemical engineer, what can I do with the Bachelor of Science degree? what other pathway options do I have?
4. If Melbourne does not accept me, can I complete a Bachelor of Science at another university, for example La Trobe, and do a graduate engineering degree at Melbourne or Monash?
5. If I were to do a double degree, for example Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Science at La Trobe University, what would this entail? Would this keep my options open? How much work and effort would be expected? Will it be helpful? What is the atar required to get into this course at Monash or La Trobe (like an approximation)?

Thank you!

AngelWings

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2020, 07:50:08 pm »
+12
Not Keltingmeith, but I do know a few of these answers, so Iíll answer as much as I can. (I moderate a lot of the Victorian careers stuff for AN. Hope you donít mind me answering.)

1. If I were to get into the course, what would I major in? For example, I have to major in Chemical Systems to get into Chemical Engineering, and if I change my mind, would that limit my options of doing a graduate degree in another course.
Depends on the units (uni talk for  subjects) youíve taken at uni and what you want to apply for. Some of the other postgrad courses related to chemistry e.g. Master of Industrial Research (Chemistry) at UoM, would likely still accept you, both at UoM or elsewhere. Youíd still qualify for a bunch of relatively unrelated courses e.g. postgrad med (although I know youíre not after that, itís purely there as an example), as long as you take a few prerequisite biology units during your undergraduate degree i.e. the Bachelor of Science in this case, and fulfil all the entry criteria.   

2. I don't really understand postgraduate courses. Will you be able to explain how it would relate to me?
Postgraduate courses are the courses you do after an undergraduate course. So for you itíd be something like this: VCE ó> Bachelor of Science (maybe) ó> Master of Engineering (Chemical Engineering). You donít have to do the postgrad course at the same institute as your undergrad course (e.g. you could go to La Trobe for your postgrad course after doing your Bachelor of Science at Melbourne). The courses at postgrad level usually are stuff like Masters, Graduate Diploma, Advanced Diploma or PhD. Iíll let Keltingmeith explain a bit more seeing as they actually take a postgrad course (PhD).

3. If I don't end up becoming a chemical engineer, what can I do with the Bachelor of Science degree? what other pathway options do I have?
As a lot of people have said above, thereís plenty of chemistry and science jobs out there. As pointed out above, one career path for chemistry grads is in QA (quality assurance) in various industries (think water, cosmetics, food, medication, etc.). Hereís a couple of non-exhaustive lists (here and here).

The list of other options is pretty wide. Iíd suggest doing some research, because only youíll know what suits you best and interests you the most.

4. If Melbourne does not accept me, can I complete a Bachelor of Science at another university, for example La Trobe, and do a graduate engineering degree at Melbourne or Monash?
According to this, possibly, if you do a chemistry/ chemical engineering major through another course.

5. If I were to do a double degree, for example Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Science at La Trobe University, what would this entail?
Youíd study commerce and science units, taking around 4 years assuming you study full time. Youíd pick a major in commerce and another major in science. Itís not too different to how youíd study if you were doing these as single degrees, just that youíre studying units from different areas at the same time.

Would this keep my options open?
Youíd be able to have careers in science and/ or commerce, depending on your choice. The only difference youíd have is that you wouldíve taken less units in either area compared to someone with a single degree.

How much work and effort would be expected? Will it be helpful?
Work and effort: not much different to each of these as single degrees, except youíre doing it for 4 years.

Helpfulness: Depends on your idea of helpfulness. Workforce-wise itíll help to diversify, but mean that youíll have slightly less in depth knowledge in either area. Helps to cover more areas too, but also means less room for changing majors/ minors (specialities) as you go along, because you have less units, unless you transfer.

What is the atar required to get into this course at Monash or La Trobe (like an approximation)?
Bachelor of Commerce/ Science at Monash: link here - lowest selection rank (including adjustments) is 92 (86 if you qualify for Monash Guarantee)
Bachelor of Commerce/ Science at La Trobe: link here - lowest selection rank (including adjustments) is 82.60.

These are this yearís stats for students who states first year in 2020. In past years, itís hovered around the early 90s (after adjustments) for Monash and early 80s (after adjustments) for La Trobe. Without adjustments, youíre looking at around high 80s to be relatively safe for Monash and around the mid/high 70s for La Trobe. (Adjustments are different per person and takes into account special consideration, which has to do with personal disadvantage and equity.)
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ree004

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Re: I don't know what to study in university
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2020, 10:24:04 pm »
+1
Not Keltingmeith, but I do know a few of these answers, so Iíll answer as much as I can. (I moderate a lot of the Victorian careers stuff for AN. Hope you donít mind me answering.)

Thank you for putting in the time and effort! It really helped clear my confusion, and thank you to everyone else!