Spectator journalist Emma Schenk tells us why sometimes it’s better to get what you need, rather than what you want …
AS students across the region are coming to grips with their ATAR score of 2011, it is important to remember that a high score isn’t necessarily the be all and end all.
My high score just led to me dropping out of two universities; I was struggling to come to grips with what to do in life.
Now, I would say to anyone who doesn’t know what to do – just wait.
And to those who are disappointed with their results – don’t stress.
There are back doors, side doors, and so many other options … and sometimes these options will give you so much more than a university degree.
While I was happy at first to receive an ENTER score over 90, it didn’t directly lead to any sort of happiness or success.
I was very surprised when I got my ENTER score and I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne uni because that’s just what I thought you should do, but it wasn’t until I started my course that I realised I was just there because I could be, not because I wanted to be.
After a year of studying electives with no real goal for the future, I decided it was time to get real – I didn’t do very well at uni because I didn’t care.
After failing a unit at Monash I decided to travel the world and then go to TAFE the following year to really focus on writing and get some practical training. It was the best thing I ever did.
There was nothing to work towards, nothing to strive for … it was so different to school and I soon realised I had made the wrong choice by going straight into uni.
My parents were supportive and I moved to Monash University to study my two passions – writing and photography.
I still had no real reason to work hard though, my mind was elsewhere and there were no role models at uni that really helped me figure out what I really wanted.
After failing a unit at Monash, I decided to travel the world and then go to TAFE the following year to really focus on writing and get some practical training.
It was the best thing I ever did.
I had thought TAFE was just somewhere you went if couldn’t get into uni.
I’m ashamed by that thought now, because TAFE gave me the opportunity to get real experience, organise a poetry reading from start to finish, and to really get the support I needed from teachers.
It took me a bit longer to get to where I am now but at least I finally figured out what I really wanted to do in life.
I felt awful for a long time not knowing what to do but I should have just taken some time off to nut it out.
Last words …
BEING a journalist seems like an obvious career choice now, but when I first finished school it was all too difficult and confusing.
I think a lot of people don’t know what to do and just go to uni as a back up plan.
A lot of friends I know have uni degrees and are now working in completely different fields, with a massive debt that has brought them no real gain.
To everyone who has finished school this year – just do what you want, take time off if you want, travel the globe, be young and don’t get pressured into something if it’s not what you really want for yourself.