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December 11, 2020, by Abigail Rowse

Second Thoughts About a Professional Degree? Here to Help!

By Abigail Rowse, Employability Officer

There are a range of professional courses on offer at Nottingham, from medicine and health sciences to social work, law, and teaching. These degrees are designed to help students prepare for a particular vocation, as well as develop graduate-level skills.

If you are studying one of these degree subjects but you are having doubts about your future career, you might feel like you are the only person in this situation. Whilst the majority of students on these courses go into the associated profession, this is not always the case and you are definitely not alone.

Read on for some tips to help you to understand why you are having doubts and what you can do about it!

Why are you unsure?

If you are unsure about whether you still want to become a pharmacist/teacher/fill in the blank, the first thing you need to consider is why that might be. Self-reflection is an important step to ensure you get to the root causes for your doubts.

Firstly, ask yourself: is it the career itself you no longer want to do, or that you do not like the course? When thinking about your career after graduation, this is an important question. If you generally enjoy the placements and work experience you have gained as part of the course, do not be too quick to write it off as a career choice just yet.

Doubts about the profession?

Maybe you know that you do not want to work in the profession associated with your course. If that is the case, well done for recognising this and for taking steps towards a fulfilling career for you.

Knowing what you do not want to do could be more useful than you think. It might indicate what you dislike about the career choice and that could lead you into preferable roles. For example, do you dislike the high-pressure environment? If so, you could look at potential careers with a slower pace of work. Alternatively, do you hate following a rigid set of rules and regulations? This could lead you into looking into a more creative and flexible career.

Doubts about the course?

You may have reflected on your options and realised that you are interested in the future profession, but you are not particularly enjoying your course. If this is the case, your most important consideration should be whether to complete your degree. Please consider speaking to your personal tutor or another trusted academic for advice if you are struggling for any reason.

If you no longer think the profession is for you, then the next step is to start thinking about alternative careers you might like to do after university. You have already reflected on what you do not want to do and why, so start there. Write down what you have learned about yourself during that process. For example, do you really like working in a team? Do you love coming up with creative solutions to problems?

It might be that you are considering changing course, particularly if you are not very far through your current degree. The University of Nottingham Students’ Union has some useful resources on changing course. If this is something you are considering, we recommend that you talk to a careers adviser about your options. You can book an appointment by logging into MyCareer.

What are my next steps?

However, it might be that you are further into your degree or you would prefer not to change course. In this case, remember that your degree does not dictate your career. A degree is a highly useful and versatile qualification no matter what subject you graduate in. Every degree, including professional courses, offers opportunities to develop transferable skills that you could apply to a diverse range of roles and sectors.

No matter what you decide to do, you have taken some important first steps. Self-reflection is an integral part of career planning and a highly useful skill to take with you throughout your career. Whatever you do, you don’t need to panic: there are options available to you, you are not alone

Once you have decided whether or not to change course, your next step is to consider your future career. You have already spent some time reflecting on your strengths and preferences. Check out our comprehensive A-Z types of jobs list to get some ideas, or use our detailed choosing your career resources which can support you no matter how many ideas you might have. You may also consider gaining some work experience or discussing your thoughts with a careers adviser.

Posted in Careers AdviceChoosing Your Career