The Student Room Group

no idea what to study.

i dont at all come from a wealthy background. i dont feel like i can justify applying to something just because i enjoy it.

i really do not know what to do. i know there are some degrees that would definitely put me in a better potential financial position once i finish studying, but i know i'll regret not doing something i wholly enjoy. on the other hand, though, if i chose to study something i do enjoy, i know i'll regret not choosing something that i feel is more "secure".

i know people say to choose something you enjoy, else you will be miserable. i know other people say to choose something "worthwhile" so you're not wasting your money. i understand this is something i really need to figure out for myself, but after years of trying, i feel as though i know nothing about myself.
Reply 1
sorry that sounds like a **** position to be in tbh - i get you with wanting to be in a good financial position afterwards and finally having financial freedom.

what are some of your interests? what do you truly enjoy studying? what are your thoughts at the moment with what you want to pursue, whether it be because you actually want to study it or if its for the £££
Original post by etherealarachnid
i dont at all come from a wealthy background. i dont feel like i can justify applying to something just because i enjoy it.

i really do not know what to do. i know there are some degrees that would definitely put me in a better potential financial position once i finish studying, but i know i'll regret not doing something i wholly enjoy. on the other hand, though, if i chose to study something i do enjoy, i know i'll regret not choosing something that i feel is more "secure".

i know people say to choose something you enjoy, else you will be miserable. i know other people say to choose something "worthwhile" so you're not wasting your money. i understand this is something i really need to figure out for myself, but after years of trying, i feel as though i know nothing about myself.

Well research has found that actually STEM and non-STEM graduates have equivalent earnings outcomes within 10 years of graduating: https://figshare.le.ac.uk/articles/report/The_employment_trajectories_of_Science_Technology_Engineering_and_Mathematics_graduates/10234421 - so on a broad scale the subject area you choose isn't actually that important - the authors even state that they don't support messaging encouraging students to go into STEM fields for economic reasons.

Ultimately no jobs are perfectly secure. You can go and do a degree in e.g. accounting, become an accountant, and work at an accounting firm for 20 years then get laid off - it happens pretty routinely. You can easily swap that with just about any job. Even things like medicine and dentistry are less secure due to issues in how the NHS runs and real pay cuts relative to inflation over years. Also even where there are serious shortages in a sector and a good chance of getting a job, this may require you to be flexible in terms of where you work (which may not be possible for your situation) and the job itself may be very challenging. For example nursing - yes there definitely is a great demand for more nurses but if you couldn't stand to do that job there's no point forcing yourself through a nursing degree!

Realistically for most jobs though what makes a difference is you not your degree. Employers want to see what you have done to get your ass out of the chair, get work experience, do internships, develop relevant transferable skills by engaging in uni societies and other activities, and to see then that you can actually clearly communicate these skills and how they are relevant to that employer. The degree itself is just a tick box for most graduate schemes - do you have a 2:1 or above degree? If yes, move to next stage of selection (do not pass go do not take £200 etc...).

There are of course some areas where you need a specific degree subject (e.g. most public services and healthcare roles, and a lot of engineering roles) or a subject within a broad range (e.g. a numerate degree being required for a number of analytical roles and software development based roles), but that doesn't mean those fields are any more secure than others. So doing one of those degrees only because you want a specialist role that you think is secure is a big gamble because if you end up failing to get a job in that sector (or at all), or end up getting laid off mid career and can't find a new role and need to move into another career anyway, you may well find yourself regretting doing something just for that reason and not having done something of actual interest to you.

Start with figuring out what you actually like learning about, and try and identify courses that allow you to continue with that. Then work on making yourself employable while you are on the degree - don't just sit back and assume the degree will do that for you (as that's not true of any degree except medicine/dentistry and even those are starting to see a bit less guarantees in the future I understand). If you're potentially interested in a professional field e.g. various public service roles (e.g. teaching, social work) or healthcare roles (allied health professions, nursing, medicine, dentistry) try and get some work experience to understand better not only that role but the wider space in which it sits and the other roles and people it works with.
Reply 3
hi

What are the subjects you are choosing between?
Reply 4
Good careers site with lots of job / career descriptions - Job profiles | Prospects.ac.uk
NHS job roles (not all medical) - Explore roles | Health Careers
Royal Navy roles - Role Finder | Royal Navy (mod.uk)
Original post by etherealarachnid
i dont at all come from a wealthy background. i dont feel like i can justify applying to something just because i enjoy it.

i really do not know what to do. i know there are some degrees that would definitely put me in a better potential financial position once i finish studying, but i know i'll regret not doing something i wholly enjoy. on the other hand, though, if i chose to study something i do enjoy, i know i'll regret not choosing something that i feel is more "secure".

i know people say to choose something you enjoy, else you will be miserable. i know other people say to choose something "worthwhile" so you're not wasting your money. i understand this is something i really need to figure out for myself, but after years of trying, i feel as though i know nothing about myself.

Hi! This sounds like a difficult position to be in, and definitely a common one. I would never recommend to anyone that they do a course that they would not enjoy, as it often ends up with a worse outcome! A degree can be useful when applying for jobs even if its not a directly related industry, as most degrees have transferrable skills that employers look for.
Additionally, most good universities will provide careers advice for all students, meaning that even if you take a course that has less job prospects than another you will still receive advice on how to get into the industry that you're interested in.
TLDR: Don't pick a course purely for future employment, it should be something you are at least interested if not passionate about.
Best of luck with your future decisions.
-Kat (2nd year psychology undergraduate at Lancaster University)

Quick Reply