This is a question I have been asked since an early age, and my answer has of course changed over the years. When I was younger I could get away with saying I wanted to be a camel without much thought for the qualifications that would be needed, or the hours it would involve. After realising I was severely under-qualified for such work, I have had to put thought into what I want to be now that I’m ‘growing up’.
I chose biology as my degree, without particular thought about what it would lead to after uni. Now I am a second year student I need to start thinking about what I should do once I am released into the ‘real world’. A quick Google search shows that six months after graduating, just under 50% of biology graduates enter employment; the largest sector doing either clerical, retail or catering work (see Prospects.ac.uk). My previous summer jobs have included all of these options, and while the work was good to have, I don’t see myself still doing it once I’ve graduated.
To be honest, I do enjoy learning. While I realise that learning is involved in any job, I prefer the way it is at uni. I am already on a Masters course here, and to buy me some more time before I have to decide between a life of research or a job outside of academia, I’ll try to get onto a PhD programme. This should give me some experience of academic life at the next level; and if it doesn’t seem like my calling, the qualification should make it easier to get another job.
For others wondering what to do after graduation, I recommend the careers advice section of the Prospects site to see what paths people on your degree usually take. The University’s own Careers Service also has Careers with my Degree pages; a great resource for understanding the options available to you. However, neither would seem to recommend being a camel…
Ed (Student Blogger)