The Expectation of European Universities

European universities often place a heavy emphasis on students having a clear-cut project and demonstrating passion or motivation for their chosen subject. What if the passion doesn’t spark? These demands start early, sometimes as young as 15 years old. While students navigate through high school, striving for good grades and selecting subjects that promise future opportunities, they’re also urged to stack their resumes with extracurricular activities showcasing their passion for their favorite subjects. Just writing it down makes me panic. I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be for a teenager who lacks a passion or even a vague idea of their future self. Personally, I’ve worn many hats in life. I wanted to become a scientist; then I became an educator for students with special needs, a math and science teacher, even delving into sales, an event planner and, of course, a consultant. Who knows what the future holds? Yes, education has been a consistent theme, but did I realize it back in high school? Honestly, no!

It’s normal to feel lost

It is kind of a life changing decision as it starts quite clearly to define your possible life as a grown up, right?! If you want to become an architect you NEED to study architecture. It is necessary! But do you HAVE to become an architect? No! Nothing is carved in stone. Many people study one thing and end up pursuing entirely different careers.

Having a burning passion, the kind that consumes your thoughts and time, is rare. It’s far more common to feel lost, unsure of what path to take. With the huge number of programs and subjects offered by universities, it’s no wonder panic hides around the corner. As a consultant, I see it as my duty to reassure students and their families. It’s okay to be confused, to lack a plan. There are ways to explore whether a certain path is a good fit for a student. Moreover, it’s okay to try something and then change your mind. How can you know if a choice is right if you don’t try it?

Exploring Options

Participating in summer enrichment programs can be helpful. These programs allow students to delve deeper into subjects they think they might like or to explore professions they find intriguing.

My advice to uncertain students is to explore, learn as much as possible, and listen to their instincts. Consider taking a gap year if needed, but ensure it’s well-structured A gap year should be challenging, and filled with experiences. Then, make a choice based on what seems right at the time. And remember, it’s okay to change paths along the way. Sometimes all it takes to change is just some determination, a bit of planning and a little courage.