I have recently spoken on the increasing level of pressure for those in year thirteen to decide what path they will be taking upon our exit of school. I explored how I will be taking a gap year and the key benefits that come with doing this, alongside the elder perspective that force us to take a reality check. However, I did not discuss the most used road that many of life’s ‘players’ go down and this is the journey through university.

I have found that as I am being pressured to decide what my future beholds for me, despite not even knowing what my day will hold, that university will likely be the next step in my inevitable career. It is difficult for me to make the decision on what exactly to study and where to go and this was key in my determination to take a gap year before returning to the education system. In this week’s blog, I will delve into the process of choosing university and tips on what will make the decision easier for you to take.

Currently, throughout term two of this year my school has received a plethora of speakers from a range of universities nation wide ranging from Auckland University to Otago University in the deep south of New Zealand. I have witnessed a range of offers from each university encouraging new students to come through the use of there learning platforms, social live and the opportunity to start again to an extent.

I recognise that all people are looking for different things and so we all want something different out of our university experience and this has led me to ask myself three major questions that have helped me decide what university I will be heading to.

What type of personality are you?

I find that in my journey to find the university that will provide me with the best experience that each university seems something different that will appeal to different personalities and character traits across all people. I, myself, am an extrovert who enjoys being constantly on the go and always being out in the world – so for me, a university like Otago which delivers an active and fun lifestyle is something that appeals to me. It will allow me the opportunity to study whilst being away from home and creating a new sense of independence.

Whilst, for some of my more introverted friends they may enjoy being close to home and being able to look for support in their family when they need it and as such a university such as Auckland University would suit them better given the fact I live in the Auckland region. When deciding on where you want to go, it is always important to not just follow your friends but instead find what will provide yourself with the life that you will have to live for two to three years.

How much dedication will you realistically put into university?

This is a question I find myself asking a lot. I am constantly perplexed on whether university is actually something I want to do as I have spoken about in previous blogs and so I fear that I will give up part way through my degree hence my desire for a gap year. I think for all people, you need to be true to yourself in terms of how much dedication you will actually put into completing your final degree. Whilst, this may be seen as an element of laziness or an attempt to make an excuse towards not doing university – I believe it is the opposite and actually something that will help you towards reaching your future career.

For example, being honest and accepting that you will not put in full dedication (which I don’t blame you for after thirteen years at school) means that you can take on part-time studies and complete an apprenticeship parallel to your studies that will invariably help you reach a higher position in the corporation that you may want to work for after university. Your employer will see this a sign of initiative as you will already be proving to them that you are capable of multi tasking and have the prerequisites to start higher earning jobs straight out of your degree.

This is why I believe this question is such an important one to take on board as your answer may help in deciding whether you should move away from home to an area that will help broaden your chosen field of work or stay at home to help cut living costs and work towards your other goals.

Is New Zealand even the right place for you at all?

This is a question that comes with a broad range of sub questions within itself as it covers such a large section of choosing your university and opens up a vast array of new choices. Despite this, I believe it is still something that each one of us should take into consideration as it will provide you with a dimension of opportunities. Personally, this is one of the options high on my university list with me looking into places all across the world, mostly with a heavy focus in Germany where university is free. This seems like the best escape for myself to get half way across the world and still be able to live comfortably with me only having to pay for accommodation costs.

Admittedly, there will be a range of obstacles to pass when travelling to Europe to study that I will not list as they would go for pages but with the right mind set, it is something that is of course achievable. It may not be for you, however, it is definitely something that you should consider when making your final step down to finish high school before climbing the mountain that is life.

After reading these questions, I understand that you have most likely not suddenly decided what university you will be heading to. Instead, I want you to take away the advice that you should not rush into the decision of university and these questions were laid out to open your eyes about the next important part in your life. All of them mark an important part of the process to choose your education and you should take each into consideration when attending seminars and tours so that you choose the best university for yourself that will help you lead a successful life!

Will Cole is a year 13 student with a passion to write and is pursuing a career in journalism. When he’s not at school, he runs the communications for his healthcare business www.clearfree.co.nz with two friends. See his weekly blog pieces here where he talks about the journey of a young entrepreneur and New Zealand’s current affairs.

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