Why choosing the right subjects lays the foundation for the future
Who does not know this? You’re young, naive, just back from graduation, and suddenly you’re supposed to decide which path you want to take for the rest of your life.
If you ask friends, they often say, “Just look at what your favorite subject was in school.”
Parents, on the other hand, answer the question about the right field of study with a counter question in droves: “Aren’t you old enough to know what you want to be?” But are you really ready in your early 20s to decide which path you want to take and work for the next 50 years?
One has little or no practical experience, has often not been exposed to the various businesses, sectors, and fields within business, industry, or academia, and yet one is expected to build a “life house” without a foundation.
I am now in a double major in literary studies and political science.
Five years after starting my studies, I can say in retrospect: study wishes, career wishes and future wishes do not always necessarily coincide.
My desire to study would remain the same, but if the time machine from ‘Back to the Future’ had finally been built, I would have ultimately chosen a different course of study.
Don’t get me wrong, I love literature and politics, it’s a fine mix of social issues and poetic outpourings and I would gladly study this subject again anytime. When choosing the right course of study, however, you have to abandon your idealistic desires and think more rationally: What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? What do I need for this?
And this is exactly the problem
An employer is often not interested in whether you are socially engaged in addition to your studies or how well your soft skills are developed, he/she wants to look at your resume and find all the qualifications he/she needs to integrate you into his/her company with the least possible effort.
So how do you avoid suddenly realizing during your studies that your true calling lies elsewhere? It’s simple: make a plan!
Not a plan that involves going on a pub crawl, procrastinating on exams & term papers, or purposefully putting in absent hours while studying, but a real plan.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find the right job. So you have to take advantage of purposeful self-reflection: What do I like? Do I want to work with people or not? Do I like languages? Which topics are I interested in? What can I not imagine under any circumstances?
One should also think about a plan B, if plan A (= studies are completed in the standard period of study with a master’s degree) should fail. It’s not all that uncommon for students to get into financial trouble, get lost in the jungle of exams and study regulations, or simply run out of steam after the first half of their studies.
Once the plan is in place and you have decided on a field of study and a specific career direction, the second step is to gain practical experience!
An employer can easily overlook the fact that you have studied a few semesters longer, but his understanding ends with the student’s lack of practical experience.
Of course, not every student has wealthy parents who can lend a hand with the necessary small change. Doing countless (mostly unpaid!) internships during your studies is accordingly out of the question. Here, I would recommend accepting a position as a working student or student employee and also changing this position after a certain period of study, so that in addition to the Bachelor’s/Master’s certificate and the internship certificate, one or two work references can also be attached.
Approach the choice of subjects with structure!
The location and the numerus clausus should not be the only criteria to consider. Much more important are the qualifications one achieves through studies and the professional opportunities one has after completing a university degree.
In order to prevent false expectations of the study, it is advisable to take the above tips to heart. This avoids the sudden realization of not being sufficiently qualified or of having built the wrong foundation for one’s “life house” by means of one’s desire to study. This could have cracks, be in the wrong place, or have the wrong floor plans. It is at least difficult to build one’s life on such a foundation, which is why the previous plan should be well thought out.
About the author
Kinga Bartczak berät, coacht und schreibt zu Female Empowerment, neuer Arbeitskultur, Organisationsentwicklung systemischen Coaching, und Personal Branding.
Zudem ist sie Geschäftsführerin der UnternehmerRebellen GmbH und Herausgeberin des FemalExperts Magazins.