Did I choose the wrong degree?

It’s been six months since I graduated. Sometimes I completely forget that university was a thing that I did, but I had a little reminder recently and thought to myself ‘boy was that a long ride…’

I studied at uni for four years in total; a three year undergraduate degree in Film and Creative Writing and then a one year intensive masters in Journalism.

I’ve always loved education and my masters was the best thing I’ve ever studied, but equally the hardest. In such a short space of time I really felt like the course developed me as a person and it gave me the tools I’d need to progress within my career. It was an active and practical course and within a week I was expected to start interviewing people for unpublished news stories I’d found myself. I was so TERRIFIED I even considered quitting. I hate speaking to strangers on the phone and I hate rejection, so having to ring people I didn’t know, requesting interviews in the likelihood of having the phone put down on me gave me pure anxiety.

I did push myself out of my comfort zone though. I started to develop my own savvy interview style and phone skills and it seemed like the people on the other end quite liked me. By the end of the course I was interviewing and filming drag queens around London pubs and I had an hour long Skype call with a woman from Washington who worked for an organisation that collected research about the discrimination of women in media (both were absolute golden highlights!) I couldn’t believe how far I’d come. I learned how to write better, film better, edit and most importantly how to speak to people.

I feel confident that I made a good decision to do a masters in the subject I did. However, reflecting back on how much I learned from it, it made me realise how dry my undergraduate degree was…

Don’t get me wrong I loved studying film, it was fun, and fun is good…but it’s not practical. I can’t even remember why I chose to study it other than the fact that I’m a film junkie. You’re so young when you have to make these life changing decisions and nobody really preps you for it. Your 18th birthday rolls around and all of a sudden it’s the start of the rest of your life.

I always knew I loved writing and creating ‘content’. Writing is special to me because I can write about anything I want and I can do it anywhere I want. Nothing can stop me. So I tried to write as much as possible throughout my film degree and I attempted to tailor it to my interests.

And I have A LOT of interests. I can never really just ‘like’ something, it always consumes me. So choosing one thing to study was hard. But I was consumed by cinema at the time so that’s what I chose. I got to write an ace dissertation, watch loads of wacky films and go to a bunch of film festivals in Europe; in the moment I absolutely loved my degree.

Was it worth £9000 a year though? No. And will I ever actually use it in my life? Probably not. It’s shit to think that you may have wasted three years of your life but I do believe I was lead down that path for a reason. I’d like to think that wherever my career takes me in the future, that I’ll find myself with a project or in a meeting and piece of what I learned from studying film while I was a silly teen will be useful right there, and it’ll make me happy.

I’m curious to know if anybody else has felt this way about their degree, or any choices surrounding university…

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Berlin, Berlinale Film Festival 2014
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Portugal, FEST Film Festival 2016
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Portugal, FEST Film Festival 2016

10 thoughts on “Did I choose the wrong degree?

  1. Ah, don’t get me started on the inadequacy of education in the UK – and the value of university. With so many now going (basically 50% I think), it’s lost it’s value, and the fees are extortionate for the quality of teaching / value you get. Your Masters sounds like the experience I got when I started in recruitment – ringing up strangers was terrifying! However, this act of phoning and meeting people, and getting comfortable with it, is such a useful life skill, I feel, and I’m sure will serve you well. Also, given you know you want to work in the ‘creative industries’ it certainly helps that you’ve studied a relevant Bachelors and Masters! Good luck with whatever lies ahead ✨

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post really resonated with me. I’m currently in my first year of my undergrad in English literature and I constantly worry that I’m not going to use it and that I chose the wrong course. I also really loved your voice in this post – you have a real talent for writing keep it up! Followed 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I go through this all the time! I too studied film and I honestly can’t remember why I took those courses other than that it was right up my alley. College is full of those impulse moments, when you’re so eager to learn and absorb without even considering how such knowledge might be put to use. I just wanted to learn more about film! Admittedly, it would’ve been nice to think ahead and prepare myself for after college, but I believe I would’ve studied film all the same. Was it sobering when I realized my film education didn’t make me competitive for a job? Definitely. Do I regret taking film courses? Hell no.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was a great read, and it’s something that comes up often for me.

    I think that a degree is only vital nowadays depending on the subject, and even then you need a Masters to really stand out. I didn’t go to Uni, as I wanted to try my hand at getting genuine experience within the film/creative world, then go to Uni if that didn’t work out for me. I personally feel that it was the right way to go, for me at least. You obviously can’t say the same for other careers, where you’d need to become properly qualified or need the university to offer the tools/equipment to practise (even some related to film, like SFX work and Animation). For me though, having been working on various projects – all different genres, budgets, formats etc – since I was 18 I’ve managed to build up a nice portfolio and network of contacts, and have since lectured to BA/MA courses about working in film.

    I feel that with film, you can learn so much just by being on a set or in the edit suite, even in terms of “what not to do” from badly organised projects, that it’s sometimes best to just start the creative process yourself. Learn from your own mistakes, building up credentials and a portfolio in the process.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I definitely agree! I think with creative courses you need to find a good mix and balance between education and practical experience.

      You’ve done so well and should be really proud! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A good balance is probably best, I agree.

        And thank you! 🙂 You should be proud of all that you’ve done too, I really like to see people genuinely going after their creative aspirations!

        Liked by 2 people

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