Choosing a University course is one of the toughest things a teenager ever really has to do, whether they realise it or not. In a relatively short space of time, they have to define exactly what they will be doing for the next 3, 4, 6 or possibly 7 years of their life. On top of that, the factors involved in their decision (interest, usefulness, profitability, the babe-magnet-factor) include things that people are completely unaware of. How do you really know you’ll enjoy Bioinformatics until you get stuck in? In many ways, I find it a real shame that Apprenticeships aren’t seen with their deserved grandeur in this country. It’s far easier to keep yourself consistently motivated when you are getting your hands dirty and don’t have a yearly £9,000 debt hanging over your head.
The choice was perfectly straight-forward for me. To put it bluntly, I suck at almost everything. Fortunately enough, the “almost” in my previous sentence is merited by an above average competence in maths, a reasonable mind for design, and, as repeatedly indicated by my CV, an unhealthy obsession with gadgets and technology. All this landing me firmly in the venn diagram overlap of Information Systems Engineering (or Electronics with Computer Science, depending on which University you are applying to).
Back when we are all navigating our way through the UCAS system, what kept us motivated was the big dream and the shining light at the end of the tunnel; or, of the idea of pleasing our parents, if that’s your stimulus of choice. I remember joking to friends about their medical degrees eventually saving my life, their degree in architecture leading to them designing my future house, or learning to read my mind with a degree in psychology (which at the time seemed the simplest way to ask her out). My dream would be to make a future mobile phone.
As a third year, I am finding it quite hard to hold on to that juvenile exhilaration I used to feel from my course. As the journey, began at the start of Imperial, takes it’s strenuous progression along a course, the road gets thinner and your focus gets narrower. Slowly, your big dream gets dissected until you decide exactly what you really want to do in life, and quite often it differs from the original specification. Should I do neurology or endocrinology? Should I go into research or teaching? Should I go into banking or decide not to give up a promising engineering degree in the hopes of making a quick and dirty pile of cash like an MP with a blank expenses claim form?
Impatience is the key to my rambling in this post. I’ve reached a point where I find it hard to focus on anything that doesn’t contribute to my ability to create apps. I’ve found a dangerous passion, one that can keep me awake till 5 in the morning; one that gets me (to quote “The Social Network”) “wired in”, so that I am utterly immobile to the outside world; and, scarily enough, one that can get me from 0 to 60 faster than any energy drink known to man. On the flip side, any effort required to do something vaguely important (say, coursework, for the desperate want of an example) is otherwise engaged. One can only hope that being utterly useless in lectures is something that can been alleviated by a relaxing winters holiday.
So to end on a moderately prophetic note, if applicable, think back to that time when you chose your course. Think back to when the world was your bag of pick-n-mix, and you were piling together an overpriced assortment weighing 100g or less. What you felt for your course then is the healthiest way to approach anything. Work like your future depends on it; party like it’s the last chance you’ll get and the drinks are cheap; blog like you really want to get into The Reporter this month; and, most importantly of all, live such that everything you are doing at this moment in time is important to you.
Thanks for reading,