Process can help you with the big decision ahead

Deciding what to do with your life after school ends can be a daunting decision. Many of my friends have agonised over not knowing what they want to study at University, or what kind of career they want. By Renee Cooke

I guess you could say that I’ve been quite lucky in knowing what kind of subjects I want to study. I have a passion for nutrition and learning about the human body, so the most obvious choice for me would be to study a bachelor of science majoring in nutrition at University.

However, there was still a process I went through to determine if this is what I truly wanted to do. Here are some of the things I did to help me make my decision.

Talk to family

Talking to my parents and relatives about my decision really helped me have more confidence in what I wanted to study and my future in general.

I felt unsure whether the degree I had chosen would be good enough for job opportunities, but my dad advised me to follow my passion because studying is a huge financial and time commitment.

Going to Open Days

Attending the University of Auckland’s open day last year allowed me to explore the very building I could potentially be studying in. I went to a presentation about the course I hope to study and got to see my potential lecturers in action!

They explained what type of content is taught in the course and the potential career pathways the course can lead to. I recommend attending the open days for any universities or polytechnics you’re interested in so you can see firsthand who your lecturers will be and the campus facilities.

Using online resources

The website is a great resource when you’re considering what to do after school. Articles such as this one really helped clarify the steps I could take to research what I want to study. This was super helpful as what seemed like a confusing, huge situation to deal with was made much simpler.

The Careersnz website also has a handy quiz called CareerQuest, this suggests career pathways for you based on your answers to the detailed quiz.

Talk to someone in the industry

If you’re considering a certain job, talking to someone who currently does that job allows you to ask any personalised questions you may have and you may even receive some special tips. I emailed a dietician who studied nutrition to ask her what steps she took in deciding her career.

Some of my friends also visited the school careers counsellor, and one even visited a career coach outside of school.

Get up close and personal with the job

My school hosted a ‘Workplace Day’ last year; this allowed us to visit a workplace of our choice for the day. I visited the BePure nutrition clinic in Auckland where I was able to sit in on nutrition consultations with clients. This was extremely helpful as I got to see firsthand what happens in the workplace and ask heaps of questions.

Finding your way after school can be scary and can look like your own mission impossible. Following a process and covering all the ground you can will certainly make it way easier for you.


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Renee is a year 13 student in Auckland, planning to study for a Bachelor of Science majoring in Nutrition at the University of Auckland