“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Taking into consideration the fact that we’re paying £9k a year for our university education, it goes without saying that we want to choose the right course for us. This depends on what career path we want, what our passions are and, ultimately, what kind of a person we are. So, what does our choice of university course say about us?

I’m a third year English with Creative Writing student, but believe it or not for years I had my heart set on working with animals. I didn’t go through college hoping to go to uni and study the course I’m currently on; in fact, it didn’t even cross my mind. Despite my A-Level choices, I just looked towards a future in Animal Management.

Let’s put that to the side a moment and explore what kind of person I am, and why the course I’m on was always the course for me, whether I knew it or not.

I’ve written a diary since 2007, and before then I used to write what I called ‘My Life Story’ which was a form of diary, but typed instead of handwritten, and more of a childhood hobby than an emotional outlet (which is what my diary was when I started it during my teenage years). I wrote little fiction stories, and even created my own comic strip characters and wrote/drew original comics featuring them.

But still, it didn’t dawn on me. It was animals or nothing. I would read for pleasure, and write my diary, and at the same time as wanting to work with animals, I had decided in my head that it couldn’t possibly happen, and I accepted this, and carried on, conscious of the fact that I didn’t know what I would do instead.

Somewhere along the line, something must have clicked. One day, I walked into college and we were all told that we couldn’t leave until we had applied to university. I wanted to run away as fast as I could. But instead, I logged onto UCAS and, to make sure I could leave honestly, I chose a course and ran with that instead. What made me choose English with Creative Writing? I don’t know. I don’t remember consciously making that decision. Even afterwards, I wasn’t fully aware of it, because I had it in my head that I was going to study English. As in English Language.

I said to my mum, ‘I’m not going to go to uni to study something I’m not interested in!’

Then I had an epiphany. Alongside applying to uni, I had applied to do BTEC Animal Management. It was a ‘it’s now or never’ situation. I got an interview, and on the day I started off praying to get on the course, and finished, during the interview saying that I wanted to go and study English instead. Suddenly, I could see a future at university and I wanted it.

Best decision I’ve ever made.

Creative Writing has always been a passion, but because it was something I engaged with naturally, I didn’t feel that it was anything special enough to be considered a passion.

My course has helped me to explore and develop that passion, and has made me into the person I am now. I love what I study, I love what I do, and I’ve finally found a path that feels right to be on.

Personality-wise, I’ve always been introverted. This means I am more comfortable sitting in bed reading a book than I am socialising. I was creative as a child, I’d write stories, and draw pictures, and make up detailed scenarios with my toys which would develop its own narrative, much like a soap opera, or a stage play. It has always been in my nature to learn and create. So reading English, and writing creatively is the perfect combination to enhance what I’m good at, and make sure I enjoy it at the same time.

My university course has allowed me to discover my passion and to embrace it. The person I am today has been shaped by what my course has allowed me to do, and that will carry on long after I graduate. In hindsight, although I feel like I arrived on my course by accident, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.

I asked three friends what they thought their course says about them

#1 studies English at Leicester University, she said: ‘It’s multicultural; it’s relaxed and not competitive.’ Then, went on to say: ‘The city itself has more halal restaurants, a good mosque, not far from the city centre or train station, so it’s convenient. Basically, I like meat and am lazy!’

#2 studies Photography at the University of Derby, she said: ‘University was a bit of a whim for me. I spent my whole life saying I wasn’t gonna go and went for mostly the wrong reasons. I picked photography because I enjoyed it and felt like I knew what I was doing and I wanted to learn more. The only reason I didn’t pick media was because I knew I wasn’t a film maker despite how much I wanted to be. I imagined all media courses to be strictly about film making whereas the films I wanted to make if I had to I wanted to be arty but I also wanted to learn about the industry. If there was a blend between art and media I’d jump on that right away! Whatever I say about what my choice of course says about me will most likely be wrong because I still don’t know myself or what I want to do and as much as my tutors say, “You’re here to become artists” that’s not always the case.’

#3 will be going to uni to study Video Game Programming, he said: ‘I’m intelligent and hardworking. I love video games and take enjoyment from providing entertainment to others.’

It can be a difficult question to answer, but I think a lot of different reasons, both personal and academic factor into the course we choose and they all say something about us and the people we are.

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