There are some degrees which are very specific – teaching, medicine, law. You know what you’ll be doing after you graduate. But there are other degrees, like a Bachelor of Arts, which aren’t specific at all. You could do anything you set your mind to with that qualification. But at the same time there must be hundreds, if not thousands, of people around who have studied teaching, medicine or law but are working in completely unrelated fields.
For example, if you are studying human resource management courses, you’ll know you’re going to be working in human resources. If you are studying journalism, there’s a very good chance you’re going to work as a journalist. But some courses aren’t as specific and leave a lot up to your own interpretation. Each course is what you make of it. You can gain as much, or as little from each course you study. It’s all up to you.

Choosing your path too early

The problem with choosing something very specific to study is you’re expected to do so when you are very young. A 17-year-old shouldn’t be expected to know what work they would like to do for the rest of their lives. Choosing a non-specific degree to study will open you up to a number of different ideas and topics you had no idea about previously. You end up finding something even more satisfying to study which you wouldn’t have known about without that first non-specific course.
A recent study revealed just 15 percent of university students graduate. Reasons for low graduation rates include lack of financial assistance, lack of academic preparedness and lack of support from universities. Students who are studying a very specific degree and later realise they don’t enjoy it could very easily decide to drop out and become one of those statistics.

There are other options

Remember, just because you studied biology it doesn’t mean you have to become a biologist. There are a number of different other avenues and pathways you can take. These include:

  • Changing directions by finding a new area you’d like to work in. Perhaps that one course opened your eyes to something new which you’d like to explore.
  • Starting your own business. Maybe you stumbled upon a need or opportunity while you were studying which you would like to provide yourself.
  • Travelling and teaching English overseas. For many, this is the ideal chance to travel, earn money and discover what direction their lives should take.

There are no rules which say you have to work in the field which you studied. The beauty of a non-specific degree is you’re not restricted to just one field of work. Now it is up to you to work out what you’re going to do next.