How do you know if your course is right for you?

16 June 2020

While studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a student’s life, sometimes it is difficult to know whether the course you have selected is going to be right for you – not to mention the added pressure of having to consider how it might affect your financial position. In my opinion, the simplest way to think about it is “you don’t know till you try”.

I came to Australia when I was 17 and, unluckily, I wasn’t one of those people who are certain about their career. I was totally clueless when I picked my major (engineering), though that decision was largely based on job availability and the potential for a high income. 

I spoke with some engineers to gain their perspective; those discussions made me consider if I would really like to work with machinery all the time and potentially live a fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) lifestyle. I didn’t like that idea, as I am more of a city person and I wanted to work with people. Over time, I realised engineering was not for me.

In the end, I chose physiotherapy as my major. It used my science background and I really enjoyed being able to engage with different people every day. While I would not say I am 100 per cent confident this will be my final choice of career, at this moment it is something I am enjoying immensely.

From my story, I think there are three good takeaways:

  • One, it is important to understand yourself. What is your personality? What are your likes and dislikes? I think this gives a good indication of what areas or types of work you should focus on.
  • Two, talk to people. I can’t stress enough how important it was for me to talk to those engineers. Even if their stories relate only to their personal experiences, it is still important to have an idea of what you are getting yourself into in areas including work-life balance, career progression opportunities, and more.
  • The last point is to try, and don’t give up too early. When studying, students mostly learn the theoretical part of their future job, but you need to also consider the practical parts of the job. Don’t say “no” to your course too soon before you have the chance to see if you actually enjoy the other aspect of it.

Want to discover which career options best suit you? Complete a short (and free!) Career Personality Questionnaire in StudyPerth’s employability portal ProsPER and immediately receive a personalised report suggesting careers for you to consider. Sign up to ProsPER now to start your journey of self-discovery.