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Post Info TOPIC: Not sure whether this is brilliant or utterly bonkers


Mookish Deity Most High

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Not sure whether this is brilliant or utterly bonkers


I'm currently on my exchange semester in Sweden, studying English Language & Literature and loving my modules. Discovering what it feels like to enjoy uni has made me realise not only how much I hate the course I'm doing back at home (Translation - English and German with a bit of Cultural Studies and Lit thrown in) but also that I'm 100% justified in hating it because it's crap. Last night I decided to drop out and switch to Archaeology. My plan is as follows:

1. Have an awesome time in Sweden.

2. Drop out (and possibly tell the fuckers why I'm leaving).

3. Get a job. Work, write, play the piano, do all the things that make me happy.

4. Send off uni application in March.

5. Have an awesome summer, possibly involving volunteering at a museum/dig.

6. Go back to uni and ace the Archaeology course, then move abroad to do amazing MA things.

It sounds awesome but I'm so scared. I'm quite certain I want to do this but it means I'm back to square one next academic year. Instead of beginning my final year of undergrad studies and thinking about my MA options, I'll be in year one again. I'm afraid it will make me feel like a failure. I'm scared. Scared of being two years older than the people on my course, scared of failing. I find my course very boring and I hate it but I'm also amongst the top students in my year and I'll be so ashamed of myself if I'm not any good at Archaeology. If I want to do any of the MA courses I'm interested in, I have to get a First or a 2:1 when I graduate... What if I get a 2:2? What if I'm a really shit archaeologist?* Will potential employers think I'm incompetent when they see I switched courses in my second year of uni? Can I still go into academia if I'm somehow two years behind my generation as regards education? What if I never get a job and end up slaving as a secretary forever and ever?

I'd like to hear your opinion on the matter. Or maybe I'm just after some reassurance, which is silly. I could try and stick with Translation but the thought of my department makes me want to cry while the Archaeology course programme makes me want to skip around because it's so lovely.

*(Both my father and my aunt are archaeologists so at least I have a fairly good idea of what it's like to work in this field so I'm not likely to be disappointed.)



-- Edited by Spiggy on Tuesday 25th of September 2012 10:01:02 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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First of all, I'm very glad you're having an awesome time in Sweden! I'm envious, your modules sound fantastic.

I'm personally of the opinion that there is no point doing what you don't like unless you have a very good reason. If your current degree would lead you onto an MA which would make you dance for joy, then I'd tell you to stick it out, but only if you were very certain it would put you in exactly the position you want to be in. If you want to go into Archaeology, do it! Fortuna favet fortis, or fortune favours the brave, so you should do what you want and what makes you happy. However, you also don't have to make a decision immediately. Why don't you see continue enjoying Sweden, let this mull over in your mind to make sure you're fully comfortable with it, and all the while research some fieldwork experience you might be able to get [could you attend a few Archaeology lectures for the experience?]? That way you can get a feel for the subject and probably confirm that you'll be just as awesome at it as you are at everything else.

One of my best friends had a year out in Japan GCSE and A-Level, then did a Foundation Art course, so was two years older than most people on her degree course. No-one cared, she had a ball. I severely doubt that will be a hinderance to you. Also, you don't necessarily need to put it on your CV, and even if you choose to, you could just put that you have several years of experience studying and applying various languages and translation issues. They'll probably just be impressed by your linguistic prowess and not press it.

I'm really glad you've found something which really excites you, your current course sounds like utter bollocks and you deserve something excellent. Also, I'm still holding out for you to come to Cambridge for postgrad so we can meet up and indulge in all of the quimsy :)

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Dearie, I think you're pretty miserable in your current course. I've seen your posts on the forum relating to it, and this post confirms what I think. Fear of failure is very natural and we all have it, but don't let it tether you down to a course you don't want to be in. Sure you're fantastic at your current course, but you're an intelligent lady and you will be fantastic at anything you set your mind to. I'm sorry this is a bit rubbish, but I didn't want to read and run x

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Dame of Mooky (mod)

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Being two years older than everyone else shouldn't be a huge problem, i was 20 in my first year ad my friendship group at uni range from 19-30 (Two have kids, one has a newborn, one is married with his 3rd child on the way, and another has dropped out of courses he didn't like 3 times and is now redoing it at the age of 26!) You will by no means be the oldest there. plus this whole plan sound awesome so get on with it :)

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I dropped out of the college course I'd spent my entire life building myself up to (I'm not joking - my mam brought me to Ireland when I was 1 specifically so I could go through higher education.) I won't lie - it's hard, it's scary, it's a blow to your confidence, and it can leave you feeling completely and utterly lost. It's probably one of the most difficult and weighty decisions you'll ever make.

But if you're miserable where you are now, then all of that just become fuel to make your life what you really want it to be. It is completely and totally worth baring all the hard stuff to go for your dreams! We all make mistakes, and when it comes to picking the ultimate college course that's going to be like, your entire life, it's EXTREMELY easy to wind up doing something you hate. There's no shame in doing what you need to - drop out, and get right back on the horse and get yourself into archaeology. You'll love it, and you've got family there already, which totally helps.

My biggest mistake was leaving it so long and letting my fears get the better of me and not stopping to think about what I really want from life - it's only now, after five years of working, and watching the lab partner whose homework I used to do apply for a PhD in my old department, have I really started to take my writing dreams seriously. But now I've a baby and bills and cleaning and two cats no time for me at all, so I can't reall manage any dimplomas or anything, I've just got to wing it myself. (End of sad story!) My point is, go for it, and now. We all believe in you! You'll come through it stronger and happier and you'll be doing what you love - so no matter what you've got to lose, you've got So much more to gain. Be strong x

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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Being a super busy bee right now, I'll be back in a few days or so to say more.

I just wanted to say that your worries about age and switching courses is utterly unfounded. We live in an age when learning new shit and switching directions slightly is perfectly normal. In fact, it is the norm. Middle aged people take MA's to improve/change their career path, people take gap years, work with other stuff etc etc. You switching course at your age is, pardon me for being blunt, utterly insignificant.

Also, to do a BA in arcaheology you need to have taken courses in other subjects anyway, so what have you lost?

Seriously, I will be back with more here, but I have to go now. Don't worry hen :)

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High Mookish Shaman

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I have a lot of people on my course who are older, one of the guys I know is 28 and nobody thinks any worse of him so I really wouldn't worry about your age. Also - why do something that makes you miserable? Life's too short. You're doing well in the course your on at the moment aren't you? So why would you do badly at something that engages you and you enjoy? You've clearly thought this through as I've seen your posts debating it for a long time on here. Go follow your plan hun - it's a pretty good plan. :)
x

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Being a different age is nothing to worry about AT ALL. My course ranged from the 18 year olds (me) to one of my bessie mates who was 34 when we started. I think this is a great idea Spigs. You aren't happy where you are and have a plan to change that- go for it!

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Mookish Deity Most High

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When it comes to uni courses your age means, literally, nothing. Look at the people in their 60s and 70s going to uni because they are now retired and have time to do something they didn't get the chance to do in their 20s.

I will always be an advocate for people choosing the life path that makes them happy. It's your life and, depending what you believe, you only get one crack at it so it may as well be the choices that make you happy. Why force yourself to finish something when you know in your heart of hearts that you want to be doing something else? I could be working in a research lab by now, or be a manager for Superdrug (or Miss Selfridge) or still stuck in the crappy office I worked in, or still counting up yesterday's accounts for The Marriott. But those things didn't make me happy (I did enjoy some of my jobs but they were never really long-term career options). My life as it is now makes me happy. I wouldn't have that if I hadn't made the decision to quit uni all those years ago.

Go for it, you've clearly got a decent plan worked out!

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Mookface (mod)

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I'd like to echo Spikey - following your passions and doing what makes you happy is the only way to go. You will be FANTASTIC.

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Booky Mooky (mod)

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Spikey and Claire are right, you are now going to do something you really enjoy. Because of that, you'll have so much motivation and end up getting cracking grades. Seriously, you will be great.

As for the age thing, most people in my year at uni are aged between 18-22, there are people up to the age of 45 as well! All will be fine and dandy, in the respect.

I'm so glad you have a happy-making plan! xx

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High Mookish Shaman

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This reads as a choice between: shall I carry on doing this thing that makes me really unhappy, that I can do in my sleep, and that won't serve me in later life

OR

Shall I do all this amazing stuff that will be fun, fascinating, engaging, extraordinary and adventurous, that will widen my horizons and challenge my intellect .

I THINK WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER.

Do it. It will be amazing. I will be so jealous. And I can reiterate that two years difference is no difference at all! x

Clockbox adds in addition: the fact you switched undergraduate courses will not influence your employers remotely. People go around changing careers in their thirties and forties and no one bats an eyelid. My current intern is older than I am and she's just managed to snag herself a job as a literary agent's assistant. A changeover right at the beginning of your adult life, whilst you're still in education, is practically negligible.



-- Edited by clockbox on Wednesday 26th of September 2012 07:58:20 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I have nothing clever or helpful to say but I will say what I think you should do:

DAE IT. DAE IT. DEA IT.
(Translation, do it. do it. do it.)

:D

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High Mookish Shaman

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You should be scared. Everyone always says life begins at the end of your comfort zone and it's true, you really do start to grow when you do things that aren't the safe option. You're unhappy and you're making a change in an attempt to combat that. It's admirable and brave and I commend you for it.

My dad was 40 when he graduated from university with a First. It was the third time he had been to university and the only time he'd got through the whole thing. I really don't think age is an issue. I think once you reach 18/19 anyway, age starts to lessen in importance, you go to university where not everyone is the same age anymore like you all were in school, you start jobs where there's a variety of age ranges, and as a result, age doesn't mean much anymore when you start to make friends.

As for employment, I'm sure you'll be fine. As I said about my dad: he was 40! He has had jobs since and is now self employed with a steady flow of work. I know getting a job seems tough and there's lots of competition, but employers themselves have been through all this, and there's bound to be big bosses out there who changed their life plan at some point along the line and understand why you had to make the decisions you have done.

As for your other worries - I think whenever you start something new, there's always the worry that you're not going to be good enough at it etc. Don't let this get to you, it's healthy to be a little nervous things.

Personally, I think, whatever you do, don't go back to translation. I've noticed on here just how upset and disappointed you are with it, and you clearly have other ideas about what to do so you should do them!



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Mookish Deity Most High

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Spigster, I have nothing helpful or useful to add, I just want to say that YOU ARE BRILLIANT and YOU SHOULD DO IT.

I was stuck in science, even though I knew I wanted to do languages and literature, but I managed to pull out before I ended up stuck at university doing a course I hated, and it's one of the best things that I've ever done.

You have a plan, you know you'll be happy with it, so do it and have an awesome time!

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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Okai, I said I'd be back :) Most of what I wanted to say has been said by others now, but if you want to go for archaeology in Nordic countries I'll be happy to help with whatever I can. I'm a wee bit out of the loop on the archaeology side since I've had some years away from it and have switched to museology, but I have some interesting people among my facebook friends still :) Mostly people into experimental archaeology.

Field experience is good. Actually I'd say it is crucial to get as much as possible of it and as soon as you can if you want a job after you graduate, it's much more important than your grades.
I haven't kept up with the times, but Sweden used to be a hard place to get excavation work while you are still a student. The solution is to get experience in other Nordic countries. Finland is a place where you can get a job with nada previous experience. The pay is crummy though, and the process of getting to know about projects that hires is finicky (but I can tell you how if you want). Norway is trickier, but at least easier than Sweden. Denmark I know very little about.

You mentioned volunteering at digs, that's a great idea for this summer. Makes it easier for you to get paid work at a dig next year. Loads of them all over the world too. I do not see the point of volunteering at museums though, since you ought to be able to get a summerjob as a museumguide quite easily. (You speak swedish, right?)

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Thanks, lovelies. I think I've finally realised that there's no way I can go on doing this course because it's making me miserable so it's definitely time for me to do something about it.

@Irilar, archaeology in the Nordic countries is what I'm most interested in, yes. Thanks for all the info! Ideally, I'd do my BA at some university up north but I'll probably have to graduate in Slovenia because I can't afford to live in Scandinavia for three years and it seems I'm not eligible for any kind of funding. I'm planning to go and see the student finance people at Stockholm University, maybe they'll be able to help me. I've spent the last few days raging because I can't afford to study what I want to study. Argh!


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