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I need some advice about my studies!

Hi everyone,

 

Lately I have been having some issues in terms of basically choosing what subjects/units I want to take at uni. One of the main reasons why I have been having issues is because my best friends Dad - who is a political science lecturer at my university - has been explaining to me that if I want to pursue my PhD in sociology, I will need to take more sociology units. This makes sense of course, going into a doctorate in any academic discipline you would want to be as primed as possible for when you come to doing something of the  magnitude that is a doctorate. The issue that conflicts with this ambition of mine is I am the kind of person that wants to study as widely as possible and learn about as many things as I can. And on top of that, I do have that kind of flexibility being an Arts student, I have an especially sizeable list of subjects to choose from. And that's another part of the appeal you know. But yeah, my best friend's dad's advice is conflicting with what I want to do; with my desires.

 

So how should I approach this?

Re: I need some advice about my studies!

Hey @Super_Me, oh so many options! There may be a few people across RO who relate to this one big time...

 

In regards to your overall query - how do I approach this? It seems you're very self aware. You mentioned you like being able to have access to a wide range of subjects (I am totally the same, I think the new term for us is Multipotentialite Smiley Very Happy

 

You could ask yourself some questions such as "Will I be happy specialising in one area over the next few years, or will I get a bit bored?" maybe even a pro's and cons list. What approach do you usually take when confronted with a challenging decision?

Re: I need some advice about my studies!

Hey @Super_Me!

 

It's super cool that you're considering further studies in Sociology! Like you said, having an Arts degree makes studying pretty flexible, since you have so many units to pick from.

 

You don't necessarily have to take a class to learn different things - when I did my Psych degree, I did continue learning about Sociology, mostly by borrowing books from the library. Uni libaries are huge stores of knowledge, so consider searching the catalogue on subjects which would interest you. You could also talk to students who are doing other subjects to see what they read.

 

Of course, you can continue studying well after you finish University, but finding the same store of knowledge to borrow from can be hard, and books aren't exactly cheap, so perhaps prioritise what you think would be easier to learn in a class, and borrow books from your uni's library on subjects you think you could just read on.

 

What do you think?

Re: I need some advice about my studies!

Yeah, sociology is a pretty cool subject I think, it's so relevant to all of us. While I agree that to learn things I can just borrow various books - I feel that I learn best about things with a highly structured curriculum, where I can engage with teachers and other students. It seems as though the traditional structures we have in place are there for a reason; for example you won't become a doctor just by reading all the medicine books you can conceivably find, nor will I be able to become a psychologist without a degree. Ultimately it's a personal thing for me, I want to participate as much as I can academically; and I can achieve that of course by reading books from my library - in addition to taking a class. 

Re: I need some advice about my studies!

Hey @Super_Me!

 

Have you checked with the uni to see whether they'll allow you to take less courses at the beginning rather than a full load? It'll give you more time to take a range of subjects and get a feel for some to find out what you can see yourself doing. The degree will be extended but it's better than feeling rushed to make a decision so soon. Being in that Arts degree definitely helps too!

Re: I need some advice about my studies!

Hi @Super_Me, sounds exciting and daunting at the same time! Is there anyone at the uni (seperate to your Dad's friend) that you'd be able to talk to? You definitely seem like you know what you want, and what you are going to get out of it; perhaps you just need a bit of academic advice? 

Re: I need some advice about my studies!

Hiya, 

 

Yeah look I am pretty sure of myself in terms of what I want. But I am holding back on getting further advice as people may tell me what I don't want to hear. Sounds a bit lame I guess, but it is what is holding me back.  

Re: I need some advice about my studies!

@Super_Me I feel you there, often it's hard to ask other people for advice because they might tell you something you don't want to here. Could you think of some strategies beforehand to help you in case you encounter that kind of situation? Like how you would react, what you would do and so on?
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Re: I need some advice about my studies!

One thing that I believe, and have believed for some time is that when you go away from any conversation - hearing whatever you happened to hear - the future and what it has in store for you has every chance to prove what this other person said wrong. I have had all sorts of discussions with people and one thing I have always got a feeling about is that these people just could be wrong, they may not have all the information - they just may not know how these things work.

Does this make sense? Long story short: things stand to be corrected!

Re: I need some advice about my studies!

@Super_Me That's an interesting way to look at it. People can definitely be wrong and ultimately it's your life and your decision. 

 

Sounds like you're pretty sure what you want to do, Sociology in the long term and a variety now. Is there a way you can work out how many sociology subjects you need to be able to ultimately do a PhD and do the minimum? Most degrees have electives and from how you've described your personal interests and in an area like sociology, other subjects would definitely be beneficial. Particularly in a degree like Arts and especially in the earlier years of the degree, there is scope to do a wide variety of things and then narrow down later.