What you study may not be what you end up doing

By Juliet Soh

I read Political Science in university. Many of my classmates eventually joined the civil service and using the knowledge they’ve acquired in public administration and international relations, are now making and executing the policies that we are affected by.

On the other hand, I started my career in journalism, and also delved into public relations. What I’ve learnt in school from Machiavelli to Marx doesn’t seem to apply to what I do at work now, except to sound knowledgeable when I make small talk with clients.

But this is not entirely uncommon.

JobsCentral publishes a few magazines and one of the magazines we work on – BrightMinds – requires my team to do interviews with graduates, talking about how they decided on their first jobs and what they do. In the midst of producing the latest issue, we’ve spoken to a Biological Sciences graduate who joined the police force and a Psychology major who became an outdoor activity instructor.

Most job requirements that we see nowadays also don’t ask for specific qualifications, which essentially means you can be anything you want and you don’t have to be bounded by what you studied. And what does this means for younger readers?

Choose something you’ll enjoy
A general degree can take you to anywhere you want, besides specialised tracks (for example, you can’t be a doctor without a medical degree). So, go for the major you think you’ll enjoy more. Your university education isn’t just meant to arm you with knowledge in your field of study, it also trains you to think more critically and be more analytical. You’ll also pick up communication and project management skills when you work with school mates for presentations and project work.

It’s not the end
Even if you can’t get into the course of your dreams, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you’d have no chance doing what you like in the future. While you’re still in school, read up more on the topic you are interested in so you can ease into the industry more easily when you graduate.

You can still decide
If you haven’t made any career plans, take the few years in university to discern it. Go for internships and speak to seniors who have graduated to understand what working life is like and ask yourself how you really want. It’s also never too late to take up additional courses or even another qualification to make yourself more eligible for the job that you really want.

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