Amy, a second year Physics student, explains why she finds freedom and comfort when exploring career options by having confidence in herself rather than a rigid plan…
When choosing your degree, it’s always important to think about what you will want to do with it after graduation, what kind of doors will it open? If you are as indecisive as me and your career plans seem to change monthly it can be hard to pick a course on this basis. I wanted a course that opened more doors than it closed and didn't lead to one specific career after graduating. I also knew I loved science and wanted to study something around that. Originally I applied for a Natural Sciences degree and I thought this would give my the level of flexibility I wanted, however after completing my A-Levels I soon realised that I had a real passion for Physics and this was the only subject I could see myself studying for 3+ years.
Even though I have narrowed my path in terms of what I would be studying this didn't close any doors for me. With a STEM degree, especially Physics, the opportunities you have are almost endless. The quantitative and problem-solving skills you develop are great for jobs in the business and finance sectors, while the knowledge of the subject means you can also go into research and further study. Having so many options played a huge role in relieving lots of the anxiety I felt when choosing my degree.
After beginning studying and attending some careers events and webinars, I now feel a lot clearer in what my plans are for the future. I love sharing my enthusiasm for science with others and am currently looking into a career in science communications. My first step on this route will hopefully be securing a placement in this field. The opportunity to work for a year in the job I am aspiring towards will be a great way to see if I like it as much as a think I will. Not only this but the experience in writing CV’s and Cover Letters, attending interviews and generally going through the application process will be invaluable when I apply for jobs in the future – even if I do not secure a placement this time around.
If after having worked in science communications I decide it is not for me, I still have so much flexibility in what I can do in the future. As a back up plan, I have also been looking at finance as a possible career path as it uses so many of the abilities I have gained through my degree – having all these options is something I consider very important. My career plan is not set in stone, but I think this is a positive thing. It allows me to take each opportunity as it comes and not worry too much about the direction it is leading me in but focusing on the possibilities it is cultivating for me.
Compared to when I was choosing my course, I now feel much more secure in my future. It is important to highlight that this security did not come from a strict and detailed plan of what I want to do after I graduate, but from a broad knowledge of all the options I have and the confidence in myself that can be successful.