What made you choose your major? An interview with Dundee freshers

I have always wanted to become a lawyer. Actually, let me rephrase. The idea came to mind when I was about 8 years old. I think at the time I really wanted to help people find justice, after my own battle with bullying had begun. I don’t really know why I thought law was the answer to bullying at the time, but I guess 8-year-old me understood that the main reason people need lawyers is because they seek help to fight off someone else’s pressure on them. So, in my head, I guess being a lawyer was like being someone’s guardian.

This memory came back to me the other day and inspired me to write this post. I wanted to ask some of my uni friends what made them choose the degree of their dreams, and whether or not they were happy with the choice they made so early on in their lives.

The answers were all sent in through text (because of social distancing) and I’ve kept some comments my friends made, just for the sake of authenticity😉

Let us begin! 

Can you introduce yourself? What is your major?

Ralitsa D: My name is Ralitsa, I’m from Bulgaria and I’m 19 years old (kind of old ngl). I study law, a dual-qualifying degree, both in Scotland and Bulgaria.

Kamil K: My name is Kamil Kraska, I moved here from Malmö, Sweden, and I am studying Politics and International Relations. 

Paulina K: I am Paulina, I am 20 and I come from Poland, idk what else hihi. My major is in Biological Chemistry with drug discovery (with a year in the industry).

Lilly B: Heya, I‘m Lilly. I am half Swiss and half German. I lived in Shanghai for four years, before I moved to Dundee for university. I am currently doing the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (joint degree with NUS) program.

Danila P: My name is Danila, I am 21, and I am a Digital Interaction Design student from Bulgaria.

Rares C: I’m Rares, a 19-year-old student that has begun his studies in the chaos that is 2020, but still a fresher that has just finished getting used to the uni life. I study physics and so far it’s been quite a pleasant experience despite all the restrictions currently in place.

Lara L: My name is Lara, I’m 18 and from Belgium. I’m majoring in English with Creative Writing.

How old were you when you decided on this degree? What made you choose it?

Ralitsa D: I decided on this degree when I was 18 years old. I felt like I had no other option, and law seemed like the most useful degree for my future endeavors, since it also appeared like an interesting choice .

Kamil K: I believe I had just turned 17 when I decided I wanted to study Politics and International relations. Through participating in my schools local Model United Nation (MUN) debates and in some international conferences I realized my immense interests in international politics and by this decided to pursue a Politics and International relations degree.

Paulina K: I was around 18, I have always wanted to do something science related since not only do I love chemistry and laboratory work, but I have always wanted to contribute to a significant research and with the resources that dundee uni has, it will be easier for me to start in the scientific community

Lilly B: About 2 years ago I decided that I wanted to study Biology. I‘d always loved science and how it can be used to improve and better understand the environment. I really enjoyed Lab Practicals, so I looked for a degree that would offer me that. My Degree here at UoD would normally include a lot of practical classes, but most of these sadly can’t take place due to COVID restrictions. Dundee also appealed to me because they do a lot of research at the University and they have a Good reputation for Biology. UoD‘s high ranking for student satisfaction was also an important factor in making my decision. Lastly, I decided on the joint degree program because I really enjoyed learning about other culture and because the National University of Singapore also has an excellent Biology program. This degree gives me the amazing to study at two great Universities in two very different but interesting cities.

Danila P: I was 16 when I decided to study digital design as I loved doing art and was also enjoying using technology on a daily basis. However, I took a long road getting here. While I knew the field I wanted to advance in, I explored different parts of it. I tried out digital art on my own, I took a certified graphic design course and I did 2 years of a Web Design bachelor degree in Bulgaria. 

Doing all that allowed me to see what branch of design I enjoyed and what part I didn’t. So when I was not happy with my bachelor and decided to drop out I was able to choose the perfect major for me. At 21, I chose Digital Interaction in DJCAD: the sweet spot between technology and art that also incorporates the marketing and communication elements I love.

Rares C: Originally, I chose this degree in 10th grade as a place-holder until I’ve actually decided what major I would take, but in time I’ve done some research about it and it seemed like a viable option after all. I’ve always been interested in the inner workings of the universe, but besides these formalities, I have always been fascinated about the topic of energy; be it the smallest particles or huge galaxies consuming and creating huge amounts of it. After all, Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 tells us that any small amount of mass is capable of holding so much energy that if we could harness even 10% of it, we would be able to provide around 300% more than any nuclear reaction known.

Lara L: I grew up being a huge bookworm, so the literature part of this degree was always an obvious choice. Starting from age 12 I got into writing as well, and I began reading more books in English instead of in my native language. By the time I was 15 I only read English books and mostly wrote in English, so it was around that time that I decided I wanted to choose this specific degree. 

What would you advise incoming freshers when it comes to choosing their major?

Ralitsa D: I would advice freshers to choose what best suits their interests, as University tends to get overwhelming at points and if you’re studying something you’re passionate about that would definitely help reduce stress!

Kamil K: The most important thing to do is thoroughly think about what you enjoy studying! Just because you choose to study Politics and International relations doesn’t mean you need to become a politician or diplomat, there is a broad spectrum of work opportunities that may not even involve politics which you may choose. So remember, think about what YOU really ENJOY studying and go with that!

Paulina K: My advice for the incoming freshers would be to choose a major that you will really enjoy, because learning the things that you like and you are interested in is much easier that forcing yourself to learn the things you don’t enjoy.

Lilly B: My advice to incoming Freshers would be to choose a degree that you are truly interested in, not simply one where you think you could earn a lot of money or one that would please your parents. Also, there were a lot of degrees out there that I didn’t even know existed, so I would advice browsing all the programmes offered that sound even remotely interesting to you before you decide.

Danila P: What all of those experiences taught me, is that you do not have to have it all figured out right out of high school. In fact, I took a gap year to give myself time to zero in on what I want before I jumped into any long-term courses.  It is ok to take some time to explore different interests and skills you have and see what you can build from that. I took my sweet time finding my place in university but I am all the happier for it and I feel that allows me to make the most of my time here.

Rares C: I am aware my case was sort of unusual, but in general, I would advise freshers to think closely about what they enjoy doing and go on from there. Note what you think you can keep as a hobby and what you think people would be willing to pay you for. Try to find something you are passionate about and find a field in which you can apply that potential knowledge/mindset/attitude effectively. And probably the most important thing, even if it sounds stereotypical, never give up or get distracted; it’s fine to be flexible in your perspective, but don’t let trade long-term goals for stuff that probably won’t help you in the future- do well on your final exams and try your best not to procrastinate (it’s still fine if you do, but not enough to negatively impact your studies). I know it’s a hard decision to make, but it’s not one you can’t make. Be confident and keep pressing on because only you can choose what’s best for you!

Lara L: Go with what feels right for you and try to choose something you have a genuine interest in. You’re going to spend multiple years of your life wasting your time on this s**t, so it has to at least be bearable for you. Also, don’t let your choice be influenced by other people, whether it’s your parents or your friends. Sure, it’s natural to ask them for their opinions but remember that you’re the one who has to live with your choice in the end, not them.

I would like to thank ALL of my lovely friends for their participation in this. We hope it helps at least one of you in your journey with uni applications. Good luck to all of you! Remember, it is never too late or too difficult to change your mind and pursue what you truly want; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise❤️

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