“I Don’t Know What I Want to Do Next Year…”

By Nick McIndoe in Easy Reading
9th of May 2017

Interested in what university life is actually like? Some uni students are documenting their day-to-day thoughts – check it out!

By the end of Year 12, the following question made me want to scream until physically incapable of screaming any longer:

“So… what do you want to do next year?”

What I wanted to say was something like, “I don’t know what I want to do – why must everybody ask me this? I’m 18, I’ve never had to properly adult before; how the [expletive of choice] am I supposed to know?!”

What I did say was something more along the lines of, “Oh, I’m not really sure. You know what they say – keep your doors open and such. Ha ha ha – oh, what a jolly question.”

The sarcasm almost physically dripped from me.

The truth of the matter is, sometimes it can be hard to know. If you’ve never studied a Science degree before, how are you meant to know if you’ll like it or not? If you’ve never worked in business, who’s to say how enjoyable it will be?

I think I speak for all when contending that there’s a lot of pressure on students these days to make up their minds – and fast. From firsthand experience, this can be stressful for those of us who just… don’t know yet. If you’ve wanted to study Law since you were the age of nine, that’s all well and good – but for others, it’s not quite so clear-cut.

Here are some things to keep in mind – from somebody who’s been in your position before.



It’s important to do some sort of research before the end of the year (it’d be pretty risky to pick a course based on nothing but gut feel!), but that research doesn’t need to be ridiculously extensive or time consuming. I ended up studying a Bachelor of Arts. What did I know about it before starting? Honestly, not heaps – but I did know the rough areas I was interested in, and knew that the course had a lot of diversity.

For basically the entirety of Year 12, I was set on Design (Industrial Design, Communication Design), so I hadn’t given Arts heaps of thought. I was confident enough, though, because I’d scrolled through relevant universities’ handbooks, and some of the subjects I saw really tickled my whiskers. That’s definitely a solid start.

During the year, you may like to hang around on some university boards to see how new uni students are enjoying courses you’re considering. Otherwise, if your school has a career counsellor, definitely speak with them. If not, I’m sure your teachers (believe it or not) will have some sage advice.



Don’t know how uni works? Ask a uni student.

Want to know what it’s like studying Medicine? Ask a Med student.

Considering working part-time concurrently with uni? Talk to somebody who’s doing just that.

It’s a simple philosophy, but an important one. If you don’t ask the questions, you ultimately won’t find the answers. I think the thing to remember is this: people in first-year uni right now were probably in your exact shoes this time last year (… how unhygienic). They’ll understand your questions, because they probably had precisely the same ones!

Of course, not everybody just happens to know students studying whatever courses they’re interested in. So why not ask on the ATAR Notes Forums? In this thread, you can get insight into different courses by asking as many questions as you please! And, of course, you may be interested in this more general thread: How university works. If you have a question about uni life that isn’t covered in that thread – well, I’d be surprised! #comprehensive



It’s May (brutal). Results aren’t released until December – and even then, you can change your preferences (as I did).

I mean, even when you’re at uni, you can change your mind – that’s a thing that you’re allowed to do. I know people who have changed courses like three times and still graduated on time. It’s all sweet – no need to sweat it too much!

It would obviously be ideal to walk into a uni course that you absolutely love, but things don’t always go to plan. And that’s okay. Even between now and the end of the year, it’s very, very possible that you’ll change your mind. I mentioned earlier that I was pretty set on Design. That was the case until, literally, the night before preferences were due. And then I changed my preferences again after ATAR release.

You probably have heaps of things that you’re thinking about at the moment – school-related and otherwise. But planning for life beyond VCE doesn’t take too much time, really. Suss out some uni courses, ask some questions, and everything’ll turn out grouse.

No idea what to study at university next year? Why not give this course search a whirl?


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