Thursday, 26 June 2014

Stepping in to the Adult World . . .

by Zoe Dukoff-Gordon

Growing up is tough. When you're a kid, you can get away with doing your colouring at the dinner table at a restaurant, you can avoid the awkward small talk with distant relatives at family parties. You have less work and more play and you don't have to worry about the little things like getting to school on time or when to do your homework. I personally think our childhood isn't long enough; we only have four years of freedom before having to go to school which soon turns into university and then a career...

The transition from teenager to adult is something we all have to do but that doesn't make it any easier. I suppose the first step is choosing a university, which is a process I am in at the moment. I live in a small village in the countryside in the south of England so my home life is very sheltered. My brother and sister are much older than me so I never grew up with them which meant that I lost the buzz and chaos that having a big family can bring. Don't get me wrong I do go out! I've been in my fair share of festival mosh pits and seen enough rowdy drunks to last a life time, but all in all I've sort of been withdrawn from the bustle that a big city can give you. Given all this, I wanted to choose a university that wasn't quiet and secluded, but in a city. I wanted the liveliness and dynamic lifestyle that a large town can offer- I wanted a change.

London seemed like an obvious choice for me so this is where I began looking. I looked up London University's and liked the sound of Kings, UCL, Queen Mary and Royal Holloway and luckily they all did my course...

If you're a Year 12 student doing A-Levels or equivalent, you'll understand that choosing the right course is the most stressful yet exciting decision you have made so far. Having to narrow down your interests into one or two subject areas when you've barely experienced life seems ridiculous- who the hell truly knows what they want to do with their life?
It's something which is extremely daunting and requires a lot of thought and consideration - now is the time where you can do anything and be anything, so you can't rush it. Particularly if you're doing the IB or a really broad course, you have the opportunity to choose from medicine to writing. I think really it all comes down to a process of elimination.

Imagine all the university courses are represented by a tiny molecules of air in a huge balloon and you have to deflate all the air from the balloon bar one or two molecules - overwhelming right? You can reduce the area slowly by highlighting your dislikes and metaphorically deflate them out of your balloon. I study English, Spanish, Philosophy and Maths so anything science-based was out of the question. I'm tone deaf and get out of breath when walking up the stairs, so being an Olympic athlete or an opera singer could be crossed off. Although I'd love to be able to speak a foreign language and (I know, I'm a real geek) I enjoy maths, I wasn't interested in any further study so a languages degree or maths degree just didn't appeal to me. Suddenly my choices had reduced by over 70%.

This is just one way you can use to help choose the right course for you. To be completely honest, I was 'one of the luckier ones' as I knew from a young age that I had a real passion for English so this was always my basis to any further study.

Although I thought about psychology or philosophy and even law at one point, I always went back to English. It's something which I really and enjoy and even though I will never be the next Virginia Woolf, I love the subject and culture it brings with it.

I have edited my course slightly and at the moment I think I'll apply for English with Drama. This is something which I never thought I could do as I have so little confidence on stage and I get super nervous when performing. It was when I started thinking about university that I went to my LAMDA teacher for some advice on a whim. She was new last year to my school and got me through my gold medal and is someone I have a great deal of respect  for and trust. She made acting seem so natural and everyday- not some huge scary career which is completely unattainable: I asked her if I could become an actress and she just said 'Of course, why not?' This gave me some encouragement so I started to research into the courses available and found out that you can combine English with Drama without having to commit yourself to acting school which seemed perfect.

I still had the problem with nerves and decided that enough was enough so I immersed myself into performing and public speaking in anyway I could- just to get used to presenting to a group of people which has helped me ENORMOUSLY!

Therefore I'd just say when choosing a university degree: don't panic! You may think you have no idea what to do but you know more about yourself than you realize. Don't be afraid if you hop from one idea to the next- now's the time to have different ideas and uncertainties, not when you're in the middle of a six year medic degree!

Don't choose something because you think it'll look good or you think is more well thought of otherwise you'll never be happy. Do what you enjoy and what makes you happy! If you stick to that, opportunities will come along the way which you probably haven't even thought of.

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