Don’t know what to do after school?

Sounds familiar? As the end of school approaches, thousands of students are putting more and more pressure on themselves to decide what they want to do next year and beyond, with the view that if they make a mistake now, they’ll end up in some dead-end career. Here’s the ultimate checklist to put your mind at ease:

  1. Choose something you want to do

Your Physics teacher might be telling you that the best university degree for you is Physics, and that you won’t get a job without it. The most important thing about choosing your university degree is doing something you want to do, not what your teachers or what your parents want you to do. If you do something you love, you’ll no doubt find a world of new opportunities when it comes to finding a job three years down the line.

  1. Take some time out to decide

I took a gap year to decide what I wanted to do at university. The number of people who told me it was the worst idea ever was incredible but I ended up having the best year of my life and totally changing what I wanted to do. A gap year doesn’t have to be all about going abroad and getting drunk, you can take the time to get experience in your field, go travelling, volunteer and ultimately, get a totally different learning experience than had you stayed in education.

  1. Contact professionals in the field that you want to go into

If you’re unsure about what you want to do, or you’re not sure about the choice you’re making, contact professionals who are working in the field. Send a polite email and get some of information out of them. You might be able to see if you could shadow them for a week and see what their working life is like. It’ll either totally put you off, or reassure you that you’re making the right decision!

  1. Results aren’t everything

Getting into the best university is always an advantage, but students have to remember that results aren’t everything. Missing out on the top spot by a couple of points is extremely disappointing but in the long term, you’ll go onto bigger and better things. Perseverance is key and don’t let bad news dampen your spirits!

  1. University?

Sometimes experience is better than studies. If you don’t feel that your career path will benefit from university, then look up the other options and follow that path. Some people just aren’t suited to university, and neither are their careers – and that’s fine! However, you shouldn’t just avoid university because you don’t want to go, make sure that you have other paths to follow and you know how to get your final goal.


Applying for university and going onto the next step is a very scary stage, but honestly, there’s nothing to stress about! By keeping your options open, opportunities will come your way that you would never have thought about and before you know it, you’ll be on the path that you always wanted to be!


Photo Credit: symphony of love via Compfight cc

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Rosanagh Paul

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