How it feels to choose the perfect degree for you | Top Universities

How it feels to choose the perfect degree for you

By Rosa H

Updated July 11, 2023 Updated July 11, 2023

Picking your degree is a big deal. Even if you know the subject you want to study or which university you want to go to, it can take a lot of research to find the exact programme that aligns with your interests and career goals.  

From exploring university websites to attending open days and informational webinars, there are a lot of ways to gain information as you look to make the right choice for your future.  If you’re a prospective undergraduate, master’s or PhD student, there’s no bigger relief than finding a programme that sparks a fire in you.  

As a postgraduate student, I know the anticipation and anxiety that comes with choosing your degree well, but when you find the programme you want to apply to, it can feel like… 

Excitement when you find a degree you really want to do 

One minute you’re overwhelmed by the choices available, unsure whether you’ll find one that speaks to you over the others. The next minute, you can barely believe it – you’ve stumbled across a programme that matches your preferences, the modules look really interesting and you’re starting to visualise yourself in the classroom. There are butterflies in your stomach!  

From my own experience, finding the right degree is an unmatched feeling, especially if you go through the process of applying without being sure what you want to study.  

Anticipation when creating a stand-out application  

Applying to university can feel daunting. When you decide you really want to study a degree and can see your future ahead of you, there’s a lot more at stake when it comes to building your application.  

When I was applying to university, the anticipation that came from trying to understand a process I’d never done before and trying to create a stand-out application was scary.   

I soon realised there are so many helpful resources online and people to ask, so there’s nothing to worry about! If I could offer one piece of advice to applicants, it would be to take the help around you, particularly within your sixth form or college. 

Amazement when you visit a campus that feels just right 

Attending open days can be the best way to give you a real feel for whether you want to study at a university. It feels surreal visiting different universities to see which ones fit. It’s a feeling you can’t beat when you step onto a campus and just know that you want to be a student there.  

Immersing yourself in campus life – attending taster classes, exploring the facilities, talking to lecturers, speaking with students and seeing yourself in their shoes – can tell you much more than reading a prospectus. Plus, you’ll get to experience the city and some of the accommodation you could live in.  

Pride when you receive the grades you were hoping for 

There are few things better than opening your results and seeing that the hard work has paid off and you’ve got the grades you need to start your new adventure as a university student.  

All that time spent revising, all those late nights worrying about the outcome, and all those times daydreaming about university life and studying your ideal course will all be worth it when you get there. The day I received my offer to study at university was one of the most memorable days of my life so far. 

If you get to results day and don’t get the grades you were hoping for, don’t panic. There are still options and you can still achieve your goals. Reach out to your teachers and to your chosen universities to see what your next steps are.  

Nerves as you get closer to the next chapter of your life 

Some students are so excited to go to university that the wait is excruciating and they’re ready to go any day. Others find the move nerve-wracking and the feelings of excitement can be mixed in with self-doubt and fear of change. It’s completely normal!   

I chose to stay close to home when I studied my undergraduate degree and I still felt apprehensive about the upcoming change. I was going it alone, meeting new people and experiencing something I wasn’t sure I’d be good at. Spoiler alert – these feelings disappear once you’ve settled in, and you’ll look back with fond memories of your wait to go to university.   

Overwhelm during your first weeks at university 

University is likely to be different from anything you’ve ever experienced, especially if you’ve come straight from school. The feeling of independence is completely new. The rules are relaxed, schedules are flexible and there’s a newfound sense of maturity that didn’t exist in secondary school. You’re now in charge of your life and, alongside studying hard, you have to think about cooking your own meals, washing your clothes and making time for socialising.  

From my personal experience, the biggest change from secondary school was the flexible schedule from a jam-packed day of classes in school to having sporadic classes throughout the week.  

University can be overwhelming in the beginning, but it quickly becomes routine as you get used to your new life and sitting in that first lecture feels amazing.  

Relief when you feel at home and settled 

It can take time to settle into university. From my experience, that’s completely normal. One day, you’ll take a step back and realise you’ve settled in and have made the right decision. School will be a distant memory and your independent life will be the new normal. You’ll have friends around you, favourite places to spend your time and you’ll feel at home.  

If you don’t feel like this after a few months, do reach out to your personal tutor or the university’s support services for advice. It’s important that your time at university is enjoyable. If that feeling isn’t coming, it might be time to think about your options.   

Euphoria when you’ve made it  

Graduating from university was undoubtedly one of the biggest days of my life.  

All the time spent researching the course, the sleepless nights worrying about acceptance letters and results, wondering if I’d make friends and if I was making the right decision – it was all worth it. 

You’re ready to step into the working world and begin your career. Who knows where life will take you, but you’re on your way. Saying goodbye to my friends and my life as a student was sad, but I’d do it all over again.  

This article was originally published in July 2023 .

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