This article was written by Kirrily Ireland, a current VCE Legal Studies & VCE English Language Tutor. Kirrily is currently accepting students, so if you’re interested in her services, you can see her profile here

It’s the end of August. Open days and uni programs are coming at you faster than the latest memes. Exams are closer than you’re ready to think about. And all the adults in your life keep asking you that one burning question: What are you going to do next year?

Right about now, in the mouth of so many daunting things, you’re probably searching for some inspiration, especially if you’re not one of those people who planned out their future careers when they first stepped through those high school doors. The subjects you’re doing now might be a good indicator, but that’s not the only place to look.

What do you do outside of school for fun? Is it some kind of extension for one of your favourite subjects, like a science group? Are you part of a drama club or production? Do you play sport? Do you volunteer for an organisation? Play an instrument? Write stories? Create oil-painting masterpieces?

These passions aren’t to be overlooked. Even though there’s a lot of choice in VCE, the selection of subjects doesn’t cover everything. Universities and TAFEs have much more to offer you-you can study things that aren’t options in VCE. During my time at high school, I loved writing in my spare time and it became something that I was really passionate about. When I discovered that there were a bunch of writing courses out there, my whole outlook on university and life after the high school changed. I didn’t have to settle. And neither do you.

One thing to keep in mind while you start making these big decisions is that uni is not like high school. You have a lot more freedom. So if there’s something you love doing but have had to put away for a bit while you slave through year 12, look into it. Despite what people might tell you, creative pursuits have as much value as academia and trade. The best part is, aside from maybe having to prepare a folio, these pathways usually don’t require prerequisites, so you can make a fresh start. The whole high school-to-uni transition will feel a lot better if you have a great course to look forward to!

So, you’re thinking of heading off to uni or TAFE next year? For some of you, this may be a really exciting prospect. For others, the thought of returning to cramped classrooms, more studying and exams is dreadful.

Good news— the university is so much more than that!

Much like high school, your coursework will only make up a portion of your university experience. There’s so much else to look forward to, including clubs, societies and other groups that’ll fill your free time and give you a chance to meet other like-minded people. These clubs fall under categories like:

  • Sport
  • Spirituality
  • Creative arts
  • Politics
  • Academia

Participating in extracurricular activities is great for many reasons. I’ll admit, even if you love your course and electives, uni won’t be much fun if you spend all of your time in dark lecture theatres or sitting on your laptop doing work. Explore the campus, connect with other people and, most importantly, don’t forget your other passions! Meeting up with a drawing club or joining a team for a game of netball once a week might help cut through your workload.

A lot of these clubs and societies can also complement your course. I’m doing professional writing and editing. To gain even more skills, I’ve joined a team putting together an anthology (a collection of short stories and poetry). I’ve helped plan poetry nights, read and judged submissions and now I get to edit a piece to go into the book.

While it’s scary forming new friendships and doing new things, joining a club or society might actually make the transition between high school and uni easier. Used to do debating? Hit up the debate team! Loved school aths days and team sports? Universities love the sport too. And if there’s something that hasn’t been done yet, there’s always the chance to start your own club—most institutions will support these.

Your uni years genuinely can be some of the best years of your life if you seize all the wonderful opportunities coming your way!

Check out the clubs and societies on offer at major institutions:

Monash University:

University of Melbourne:

RMIT University: 

La Trobe University:

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