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The university of your dreams

Wednesday, 23 March 2016
Studies anxiety. Who have never known that awful feeling? After all, we must admit, there are some things to stress about. You are going to choose your path, to determine what you are going to do for the rest of your life, and in my view, those complicated decisions need to be taken way too early. When we already have to face those teenagers' issues, our first existential crisis, school's stress. Well, in one of the worst moment of our life, at the moment when we barely know ourselves, everybody wants us to know ourselves at the best and to take decisions that will affect us for a lifetime. When I graduated from high school, I did not know exactly what I wanted to do. Maybe journalist, or director of an art museum, something concerning writing or art, for sure, that was all that I knew. But at seventeen, how can you be sure? And at this question everybody answered me, "you cannot be sure, you will only see later if it was the right decision." And so here I am, four years later, looking at my path, almost without any regret. So in this article I would like to talk about those things, studies, universities, decisions that must be taken, our futures, mostly concerning the Art, Letters and Creation fields in the larger way, to only talk about what I really know. How to chose well your university and your program? How to be sure you are making the right decision? Because now I think we can be sure. Yes of course we can change with years, and want something else in ten years, but if you ask yourself the right questions you can be sure of what you really want, right now. 

    And so let's start with the hardest question everybody is asking us since we started school - yes, it started way too early right? - "What do you want to be later?". And to be honest, I think that we just shouldn't answer this question at all. Or I must say, it shouldn't be the first question asked, especially when we arrived at the age of reason and decisions. To me, the real first question is: Who would you like to be later? A job is not a life. You also have to think about all the rest, about the fellow you want to become, about what you like, your passions, your wishes. It is the only way, the only right way, to find the perfect university and the right program. Ask yourself what are your qualities, your flaws, what you would like to change in ten years, what kind of life you would like to have, where would you like to live, with who, how. All of those questions are necessary, because when you choose a college, you do not only choose a job, you also define who you are going to be later. And by asking yourself those questions, you will be able to understand in a better way which one is the right path, and so all of you anxieties will be resolved. 
    To go back some years ago, when I still was at high school, I knew that I wanted a job in the art and writing field. It is already a good start because I knew what I really liked and that I wanted it to be my occupation. But without rally realizing it I've always been kind of influenced by my family's wishes who encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to do as studies and as a job, therefore I have been lucky enough to ask myself those questions quite early. That is why I started studying Art History and Comparative Literature at the University of Geneva - the same as James Bond, I know, this is insane. I must admit that this choice has mostly been leaded by my will to know better what I wanted to do, to be more precise, and so my first choice was Comparative Literature, Art History was at the time only a plus, not what I was focusing on. But time gone by, and by letting teachers, students, I finally decided to pay more attention to Art History. Therefore, I have instantly started to ponder which job could I have in this field, when I will be graduated with a Bachelor and a Master's degrees in this program. I was only able to think in term of job, not in term of passion. That s the main reason why it is so hard to choose a faculty and our study's field. We do not always know what she really love. You have to take your time, to think seriously about it - not especially during a whole year off like I did, but I must admit that I had a lot of time to ponder and to understand what I should  do to become who I want to be. First of all, define what you like. I don't talk about studies' files, or subjects, but real passions. It can be maths, it can be sharing, it can be writing, literature, nature, well, anything but something you LOVE. Something you want to wake up every single morning for. When this is done, the hardest part is over. I won't lie to you, it can last way longer than an afternoon, it can actually lasts for months of questioning, reflexions, but also fear because we tend too much to think:"there is not a job on earth that fits my passion!". But you are wrong. Especially nowadays, every occupation exists, nothing is impossible, and I especially talk for Art, Letters and Creation's fiels in general. And even if your dram job doesn't exist yet, it is up to you to invent it. Who would have think ten years ago that you could become a professional blogger? Well, the only thing that would keep you from succeed is yourself. and now let's go to the next step. 

    How to well choose your university? Actually it is all about details, and most of them are more important than we would have thought. The first thing to do when you find a college with a program that you like is to check its rank on an international scale, so you will see its position against universities from all over the world. It is easy to find those rankings on internet - Harvard is number one for decades, just in case you were wondering - and then you will have an idea on the value of your diploma. Because actually it can be easy to have good grades after three years in a lost public university, but the name of the faculty written on the top of your degree will be the first thing admission comities for masters or PhD or your future boss will look at. This is something that you must pay attention to, because it is the guarantee that you will first have good teachers, and also a diploma which will have a lot of value. But this is only the first step of this hard path. Because once you have find a good university with a program that you like and good results, you will have to look at this program with an attentive eye. Check the obligatory courses, the options, but also the little stars * which can tell things like "*only available this year, maybe not the next one", or "*only for students attending this program...". Well, look at everything and be attentive! Because there could have been bad surprises. And of course, useless to say that in any program, there will be some obligations that you would like to burry, but it is hard to find one that will fit you as well as Cinderella's glass shoe. So be prepared to face long and hard researches, to compare every program, to be attentive to every details, but most of all to rally ask yourself if you like it, and if you would like to work hard in this program to reach your goals. 
    When this is done, the hardest part will be behind you. But some administrative researches will then have to be done. First of all, where is located your dream's college? It is important to pay attention to your future environment, because going to college is of course studying, but also, most of the time, going far from home and start your life all over in a place you don't know with nothing and nobody familiar. Choose some place you like, a city that you would love to live in, something that appeals you, because you are going to spent a lot of time there and to live a lot of experiences. Choose a place where you will love to live those experiences and where you will live your student's life at the fullest. Finally, other "administrative" point, before taking your final decision, take a loo at the cost of life in this place and also the accommodations cause some cities are full of students, and to find a flat will be the hardest thing. Make yourself a budget and see what you can spend in a year, it will help you to provide what's necessary. 

   So here it is. I think that in this way you will be able to find the perfect university. This method has worked for me even if at the very start I was kind of reluctant to ask myself all of those questions, mainly because I was afraid of the answers. However today I am happy to have faced those issues because I finally know exactly what I want to do and where I want to study. So never be afraid of your ambitions, and just a lovely reminder, if you haven't been admitted in the faculty you have choose, or in whatever school or program, it is ok. You will make it, just in another way. Just keep your dreams in mind. And never forget that university is also a place where you will live incredible moments, meet awesome people. So prepare your departure, but once you have arrived, let some place to the unexpected. It is for sure those moments you haven't planed that will make of your student's life the one you have dreamed of in the perfect university, the one that fits you the best. 

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