April 5, 2014

Peta Petidis

How to make the ultimate decision of choosing the right career path through VCE

We’re all asked to sit quietly with our arms and feet in at all times. The roller coaster of life does not take kindly to a fretful rider, but you just can’t shake that unwanted cocktail of a feeling.  Homesickness, discomfort, adrenaline, anxiousness, they’re all there. As the journey of adulthood begins we ride up and up experiencing great surges of confidence and excitement but on the brink of plummeting we fear what’s to come, where are we going? Where am I going? What am I doing and have I made the right choice?

Somehow I’ve managed to pull the hauntingly labelled, ‘do not touch!’ lever on my carriage of life and have come to a rail-sparking halt. But as I look around, I find that a miraculous amount of fellow red coaster carts have joined in my uprising against life’s course of dips and dives. It seems as though we’re all a little hesitant about moving on from the metaphoric tracks of high school.

The thing is, like most other VCE students, we’re asked to have an idea of the career we aspire for by the time we reach the end of Year 10, but isn’t that a little young to set your sights on a possible career path that you may trudge along for the rest of your life?  That method of creating a clear visual for your future goes on to manipulate the way we choose our Year 11 and 12 subjects in hindsight of fitting prerequisites to Uni courses and/or to acquire the necessary attributes and skills required in relation to our profession of choice.  To put it quite simply, what many of us want to know is: Where do I go from Year 12?

Luckily, second Year University of Melbourne student and queen of indecision, Amy Mao, can shed some light on the situation. When it comes to the lead up of University course selection, she advises to choose wisely, “there are always so many places for advice [such as] your teachers, family friends, older students, university information sessions, course guides and career advisors. A helpful tip would be to purchase a career guide and spend a few hours flipping through, highlighting and tabbing courses that appeal to you.”

When preparing yourself subject-wise, Amy vouches that, “learning a subject that you enjoy is much more rewarding than doing one that makes you want to bash your head against the wall. I learnt that the hard way and chose a subject based on the scaling, and by the time I realised it wasn’t my cup of tea, it was too late in the year to change. You’ll know when you’ve chosen a subject you shouldn’t have when it becomes neglected, ignored and even to the point of hiding your textbook under your table to pretend it doesn’t exist.”

With tertiary schooling in mind, it’s important to listen to yourself in the early stages of VCE and find passion in your preferred subjects so that your course choice becomes clearer in year 12. “Make sure you do some soul searching in year 11 before hitting year 12 where you are basically working towards a goal or a possible career choice.”

Amy is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Science but she enforces how normal and natural it is to be uncertain of your future career path even in the deep end of university. “Even now, I don’t have my life set in stone, I mean I can’t even decide what to eat in the morning, so big decisions like this don’t come easy to me.”

Life decisions and aspirations don’t stop once you decide on or get into your desired Uni course. You are always going to experience surreal life expectations and might even find yourself venturing off course with an array of diverse opportunities after high school or in-between Uni courses, possibly by volunteering, travelling, working full time or even taking on other available courses at TAFE institutions. “So many university students have no idea what they see themselves definitely doing either. After high school [there is] a time where you are allowed to discover, challenge, and grow.”

With the pressures of your future lingering above your head during your VCE years, it’s important not to let it get the better of you. “Enjoy the last years of secondary education because there will never be an experience like it!” As Amy suggests, your high school years are there to propel you towards a possible future profession rather than push you away from the possibilities of life’s virtues. There is life after high school that unsuitably isn’t under our control, it’s just imperative that we lead ourselves in the right direction comfortably; the rest will fall into place.

– Peta Petidis 

Photos Amy Steele


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