Feeling useless for not doing STEM A-Levels

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tjsunny
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#1
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#1
I do triple science GCSE all at higher tier, and i have the grades to do any A-Level i want, but i want to do spanish, english and politics and i feel like im wasting myself and my future career options by not doing something like maths, physics, chemistry etc. Ideally i want to do a degree in modern languages and be a translator but i feel like this won't get me very far in life. Would it be worth doing STEM subjects even if i don't enjoy them that much, just so that i can do a degree that will get me a good job that will be useful to society?
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hyacinth77
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#2
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#2
(Original post by tjsunny)
I do triple science GCSE all at higher tier, and i have the grades to do any A-Level i want, but i want to do spanish, english and politics and i feel like im wasting myself and my future career options by not doing something like maths, physics, chemistry etc. Ideally i want to do a degree in modern languages and be a translator but i feel like this won't get me very far in life. Would it be worth doing STEM subjects even if i don't enjoy them that much, just so that i can do a degree that will get me a good job that will be useful to society?
Hello,

I was in a very similar situation to you a few years back. I told myself I wanted to be architect even though I didn't enjoy maths or physics at all. It turns out that my true passion was staring at me right in the face which is languages! I would highly suggest that you go with your heart and do the subjects YOU want to study. Spanish, English and Politics sound like great options and you'll have a lot of variety to keep you on your toes. I know it's hard not to worry about your future prospects but please do not fret. After taking a gap year I will be studying modern languages and I'm thoroughly excited. I may not know exactly what career I'm going into but I think the most important thing is to enjoy the process. You can only do that when you're actively making decisions that will make you happy.

You should never feel useless because you're not just doing what will make society satisfied with you. You're doing something that will excite you and that should always be the main aim for everyone.

Wishing you all the best
Last edited by hyacinth77; 1 month ago
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Taylor108
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#3
(Original post by tjsunny)
I do triple science GCSE all at higher tier, and i have the grades to do any A-Level i want, but i want to do spanish, english and politics and i feel like im wasting myself and my future career options by not doing something like maths, physics, chemistry etc. Ideally i want to do a degree in modern languages and be a translator but i feel like this won't get me very far in life. Would it be worth doing STEM subjects even if i don't enjoy them that much, just so that i can do a degree that will get me a good job that will be useful to society?
Hi. I’ve just finished Spanish a level and it’s one of the best decisions I made. Even though we didn’t get to go on the school trip to Granada, the support I received from my 4 Spanish teachers, including a native speaking assistant who arranged calls with her family in Andalusia so we could hear some authentic Spanish, I now have a competitive edge over everyone who went for the standard sciences and maths at a level and I’m planning on living and working in South America. Remember that it’s easy to be common and follow the crowd in terms of academics.

Languages will open so many doors for you and English is highly valued by universities as it shows you can analyse, criticise and will build up your presentation skills, vital for the workplace and for life as soft skills are increasingly important. Also, if you want to be a translator, it’s all about how creatively you approach it - depending on who you work for, you can charge higher fees depending on your skills and the value you can deliver. Set up your own business for translating and get visibility. Also, England’s bedrock foundation is built off of politics so choosing it as an a level will not only inform you how our system works but improve your debating skills. Block out the noise from everyone else and double down on what you’re interested in.
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tjsunny
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#4
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#4
Thank you!! I can't reply to your pm yet because i just created my account lol but it's really reassuring to know that others have gone through the same thing, especially seeing all the people on this website that say humanities are useless and stem is the way forward, thanks a lot!
(Original post by hyacinth77)
Hello,

I was in a very similar situation to you a few years back. I told myself I wanted to be architect even though I didn't enjoy maths or physics at all. It turns out that my true passion was staring at me right in the face which is languages! I would highly suggest that you go with your heart and do the subjects YOU want to study. Spanish, English and Politics sound like great options and you'll have a lot of variety to keep you on your toes. I know it's hard not to worry about your future prospects but please do not fret. After taking a gap year I will be studying modern languages and I'm thoroughly excited. I may not know exactly what career I'm going into but I think the most important thing is to enjoy the process. You can only do that when you're actively making decisions that will make you happy.

You should never feel useless because you're not just doing what will make society satisfied with you. You're doing something that will excite you and that should always be the main aim for everyone.

Wishing you all the best
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hyacinth77
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#5
(Original post by tjsunny)
Thank you!! I can't reply to your pm yet because i just created my account lol but it's really reassuring to know that others have gone through the same thing, especially seeing all the people on this website that say humanities are useless and stem is the way forward, thanks a lot!
No problem! There's definitely a bit of a hierarchy with certain A Levels (which shouldn't be the case but it is unfortunately) Also don't worry about not being able to reply to the pm.

I've just realised that I didn't actually say which A Levels I did: I ended up doing Spanish, Classics and Philosophy. Similarly to Taylor108 I found that studying Spanish as an A Level was one of the best decisions I ever made, it's definitely made me more aware of the Spanish speaking world. I'm now able to hold a genuine conversation on more or less anything I want which is super rewarding
Last edited by hyacinth77; 1 month ago
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rosy_posy
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#6
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#6
I used to think the same way, as I thought I should study a lucrative degree like Business or Law. I've realised I am not truly into those subjects so want to study International Relations, which is something I'm genuinely interested in
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Peterhouse Admissions
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#7
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(Original post by tjsunny)
I do triple science GCSE all at higher tier, and i have the grades to do any A-Level i want, but i want to do spanish, english and politics and i feel like im wasting myself and my future career options by not doing something like maths, physics, chemistry etc. Ideally i want to do a degree in modern languages and be a translator but i feel like this won't get me very far in life. Would it be worth doing STEM subjects even if i don't enjoy them that much, just so that i can do a degree that will get me a good job that will be useful to society?
Hi there!

I know this isn't a Cambridge-related thread, but I wanted to come and reassure you that your A Level choices are absolutely valid. It sounds like you've picked subjects you're interested in, might like to go on and study further and might even lead you into a job. Even if you decide to do something different, your choices will leave plenty of Art/Humanities/Social Sciences uni courses open to you.

In the last decade or so there's been a big government push to get as many people studying STEM subjects as possible, but this completely disregards the fact that not everyone is good at STEM subjects, and even if they are, there may well be subjects they enjoy more. It is completely fine to choose to do something different, even if it doesn't always feel like that. It also depends what you want from life: high wages are usually sold as one of the reasons why you 'should' do a STEM degree (quote marks because I don't believe that you should!), but not only are high wages not guaranteed from a STEM career, you may earn very well doing a non-STEM subject. You may also value other things, like a good work/life balance, job satisfaction and things outside your work. There are many ways to be successful and it's up to you to decide what success looks like for you.

Careers now look quite different to how they did in the recent past - people graduating now are less likely to stay in the same sector for their entire working life and are likely to have a much less linear path. You may find yourself moving to a job at the same sort of level in a different field or even taking a step down to retrain or join a different sector. That's ok! There's an idea that we must always be looking for the next opportunity to take more money and more responsibility, regardless of whether or not that's what will make us happy. While it's ok to do that, it's also completely ok not to do that!

As someone who did similar A Levels several years ago (French, English, Politics and Geography) and then went on to do a Law degree at Cambridge, it would be very easy to look at the route I've taken and say that I've 'failed' or not been 'successful' because I chose not to go into Law and I'm (probably) not earning as much as many of my peers. I might well even have thought like that myself when I was the age you are now. However, I'm happy in my job, I live in a place I love, I've met some fantastic people over the last few years, I have a good work/life balance and I have two cats. I am happy with where I am and wouldn't trade what I have for a job with longer hours, in a bigger city, even for more pay.

Overall, what you value and what interests you is entirely your decision. There's no 'right' or 'wrong' thing to be interested in, or to want to do. Your working life is unlikely to be linear and the most important thing to think about is what success will mean for you and be open to accepting that this might shift and change over time.

I hope this helps
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sxlimzz
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#8
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(Original post by tjsunny)
I do triple science GCSE all at higher tier, and i have the grades to do any A-Level i want, but i want to do spanish, english and politics and i feel like im wasting myself and my future career options by not doing something like maths, physics, chemistry etc. Ideally i want to do a degree in modern languages and be a translator but i feel like this won't get me very far in life. Would it be worth doing STEM subjects even if i don't enjoy them that much, just so that i can do a degree that will get me a good job that will be useful to society?
I can honestly relate as a current A-Level student: I only study one STEM subject (Computer Science) and sometimes I do feel stupid/dumb/useless for not doing more. However, if you are passionate about your A-Levels and really want to do this, don't let other peoples' opinions change this ! Do the subjects that YOU want to do, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise
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ZackMN
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#9
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#9
I picked chemistry, biology and computer science at A level, before A level i actually was only interested in computer science and picked the rest for the purpose of having two sciences but after studying chemistry at a level, i actually realised that i really enjoyed learning about it and im currently waiting on a pharmacy offer if my results go well on results day, you can enjoy an A level you're unsure of, being not good at a subject doesn't necessarily mean you won't like it and there'll be subjects you thought you'd enjoy at a level that you'd hate. point being that nothing's black and white and you should do what you think is best for you.
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