How I chose my major at University - Japanese & PsychologyHi everyone!
Finally I have some time to just sit down and do another of these blog posts where I can just sit down and write whatever is on my mind! (Sorry for my lack of blogs, I have been working 6 days a week lately and it's really taking up all my time :( )
A few people asked me to do a blog post on how I chose my major at university. I'm going to say that what I did probably isn't the best way, but I will tell you guys my experience to how I ended up choosing Japanese and Psychology. This blog post will probably be long since I am going to start off with what I wanted to do back in highschool.
In Australia, we finish highschool at age 17. To be honest, at that age it is way too young to know what you want to do in the future. When I was young, I had many dreams. I actually wanted to have a career in music back when I was in highschool. I used to play the piano when I was really young and had entered multiple competitions and won multiple awards. I was good back then, but I quit in highschool because my parents wanted me to concentrate more on school. I even won a music scholarship for my highschool, but my parents didn't want me to take it. My parents wanted me to become a doctor (like most Asian parents), well unfortunately, my marks weren't high enough for that. I would say I was an above-average student, but no-where near the "smart kids". When I was in Year 11 (that would probably be second year highschool for those in the US), that was the year we had to choose subjects that would be counted towards our final year in highschool. I did everything that you needed to do to become a doctor, but I ended up failing Physics.
Physics is seriously not my thing, I just didn't understand anything. My parents tried getting me a tutor, but it still didn't help. In the end my parents thought it was best if I dropped Physics, and the only option left was to take music to replace that subject. My school had a tight-ass of a vice-principal who wouldn't let me drop out of Physics half way through the year to change to music, even though the music teachers wanted me to jump over as soon as I can. Because I couldn't, I ended up going to extra music lessons outside of school and well... *tried* to get through Physics by the end of the year.
In the end, yes I ended up still failing physics. I didn't care about the subject anymore since I didn't see what the point was in trying to pass the subject even though I wasn't going to need it anyway. My parents then wanted me to do Pharmacy at university. At the time I thought it was a good idea, but in the back of my mind, I always wanted to continue with music. In my final year of school, I struggled with music since it was my first time ever doing music in school. I did music lessons privately my whole life and all I learnt was theory for piano. In school I had to learn theory for all sorts of instruments, learn how an orchestra works, learn new listening skills... it was all super hard to take in. I was really angry at my school back then because they refused to let me take music the year before so I could've at least prepared for my final year. Even though it was hard, I enjoyed it. I think my piano performances saved my mark lol.
Also at that time, I loved composing music. I would compose my own songs during my own free time for fun, and sometimes would give them to a friend who sings to write lyrics for me. I really really wanted to pursue a career in music, but I knew my parents would never let me do it. Also, I thought I wasn't good enough. My mark for music wasn't great, and because I had stopped piano lessons for about 3 years, my performances weren't as great as what they used to be. (I used to get close to 100% for my piano performances, in school I would get around 75%). Anyway, I did try hard in all my other subjects and did alright with my final exams for highschool.
My end result was that I did make it into Pharmacy. But, I didn't accept my offer and decided to go for Science and Commerce at the University of Western Australia. Why? Well the reason is really stupid to be honest. Pharmacy was only available at Curtin University, which is a good university, just not as prestigious as UWA (University of Western Australia). I wanted to go to UWA (come on, UWA has the prettiest campus with peacocks walking around) but I thought I wouldn't make it in because I thought I would fail English. To make it into UWA, you need a scaled mark of at least 50 (you get scaled down about 10-15% so you need to try to get at least 60% for English). Anyway, I made it and I chose Science/Commerce because it just sounded cool, and well, I made it into the best university in Western Australia lol. (And no I am not a UWA snob, at the time I was young and yes, I wanted to go to UWA just because it is ranked higher than Curtin. Curtin is still a great university and I know a lot of people who have great careers who have graduated from there).
Anyway, I started off my first year as a fresher at university doing Science/Commerce double degree. To be honest, I spent most of my first year slacking off, skipping classes, partying with friends. I absolutely hated commerce. I did economics as a subject when I was in year 10 in school, and even though I did well, I hated it. It was boring and I could never get into it. Science was... not too bad, but because I didn't study at all and skipped all my classes, it was quite hard for me back then lol. At the end of first semester I ended up dropping commerce. I only did it to try it out because a lot of my friends did it and I thought I could give economics another shot. Nope, I hated it. I then was just doing a straight Science degree. In my second semester, I talked to my friend who was doing Japanese at the time at university. I envied her ability to communicate in Japanese and her ability to read/write in Japanese. She told me Japanese is super easy and told me to do it with her, she will help me.
When she said that I immediately emailed the professor that taught Japanese at UWA to ask if I was able to take the Japanese class (this was around second week of semester). At UWA, first year Japanese you are required to take JAPN1101 in first semester and JAPN1102 in second semester. Since it was already second semester I asked the professor if I could go and do JAPN1102 without doing 1101. He replied telling me it was not possible since the Japanese courses at UWA do move very quickly and the students learnt a lot of information in 1101 so I wouldn't be able to keep up.
I just left it for that semester and continued with my Science degree. As I reached second year, this was when I had to choose a major for my degree. I started off choosing Genetics. Why? I didn't give it much thought, it just sounded fun. I also decided to take up JAPN1101 for fun in my first semester of second year. I initially was only going to take Japanese for fun, and then drop it if science got too busy. However, I enjoyed it so much! It was the first class that I felt excited to study for, the first class that I would turn up to eager to learn. Because of that, I decided to continue with Japanese.
At the same time, my marks weren't great for science since I started to devote all my time to Japanese. I changed to Chemistry in the second semester of my second year which was probably the biggest mistake ever lol. Chemistry in uni was very difficult. I had to be inside the lab around 6 hours a day and I pretty much spent all my time in the chemistry labs. Keeping up with my Japanese became harder and harder, and I just really wanted a change in my uni life.
I really wanted to continue with Japanese and I wanted Japanese to be my major at university. Unfortunately that is only available under a Bachelor of Arts degree. I thought about it for a while.. I didn't want just an Asian Studies major or something because lets just be honest, it is quite useless unless you want to like... I dunno do a PHD or something and be a lecturer. Because I did have a science background, I didn't want to fully give that up. Luckily Psychology could be taken under a Bachelor of Arts degree so I could have a double major. I knew this was going to be a huge change, but I thought this time, I have to follow my dreams and what I want to do. It's my life, and if I choose to do something that I don't want to do, I probably will regret it for the rest of my life. To be honest, I didn't know what I was going to get out of my Japanese major, but I was very determined to make something come out of it.
It wasn't until I went to Japan for the first time was when I fell in love with the country. I loved everything about Japan, the food, culture... fashion. I loved it so much that it made me more determined to study Japanese. That was when I also started Youtube and my blog, since then I have been given so many opportunities that I never thought I would've had. Now that I'm done with university, well... I am meant to start job hunting, but I'm not. Why? Because I don't feel like I need to rush into full time work anytime soon. I still have a lot of dreams that I want to achieve, and going into full time work will stop me from doing that.
End of the day, do what you love doing. I loved Japan and studying Japanese has been the best choice ever for me. If I didn't do Japanese, I wouldn't have been able to travel to Japan so many times, I wouldn't have been able to travel the world with Liz Lisa. If you work hard for what you want, eventually it will come back to you