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This content is taken from the UCAS's online course, Smart Choices: Broadening Your Horizons. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds I’m Lucy Collins, I’m head of student recruitment at the University of Bristol, so it’s my job to attract students to this university. I studied sociology for my degree. I thought that I wanted to do psychology and then realised that I needed to have a science A level which I didn’t. I was absolutely desperate to go to my first choice institution even though I didn’t really have good enough grades to go there and so found myself at my insurance university. But it was absolutely the best thing that could have happened to me. I had an amazing time at university.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds I got involved in lots of student union activities when I was at university and then I somewhat surprisingly, got elected to the president of the students’ union, and then I worked for an educational charity, and then I came back to work for the University of Bristol as schools’ liaison officer and a couple of years later I got made head of department. I made some of my best friends at university, I met my husband, I stayed in the city that I studied at, and I’m a massive advocate of university because if you do your research, you choose the right course, the right university for you, it can be genuinely transformational for you and it definitely was for me.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 seconds Hello, I’m Paul, I’m the video production manager here at UCAS, which basically means I’m responsible for creating all the video content that you see, including this one. When I was younger, I always loved music and making videos and kind of being a bit silly with technology so I studied Music BTEC when I was 16 and went on to do a degree in creative music technology where we used computers a lot of the time to create music but also make videos and do graphic design etc, so I’ve always had a kind of passion in that area.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 seconds When I graduated, I moved to Bristol to really try it with a band I was in at the time and I got an admin job to support myself. When I continued with that job I got promoted and saw opportunities within that job, I started training on some of the software that the company made, and then that company got bought out by UCAS, I found myself here. This job came up and obviously with my history of creative and technology ‘stuff’, I went for it, got it, that was four years ago and I’m absolutely loving it. Hi I’m Charlie Brown, I’m a data scientist intern here in the analysis and research department at UCAS.

Skip to 2 minutes and 42 seconds My job involves the statistical analysis of the data that UCAS collects on university applications and admissions. I studied natural sciences, so a bit of chemistry and a bit of physics at university for 3 years. I then did a Masters in biology. The reason I studied science at university was because I loved it at school, I wanted to carry on learning as much about it as I could at university. I never had any particular career goals or ambitions in mind with it, I just wanted to carry on and learn about it as much as I could.

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 seconds While I was at uni I carried on enjoying it so I thought I would carry on into research, academia, get a PhD, that sort of thing. I got a taste of that in my fourth year and decided that it wasn’t really for me. During my time at university I’d done a bit of volunteer work as a primary school classroom assistant which I really, really loved, so when I left uni I thought I could maybe combine my teaching experience with my background in science and maths and I worked as a science and maths classroom support assistant at a secondary school for a year.

Skip to 3 minutes and 45 seconds It definitely confirmed for me that teaching wasn’t the thing that I wanted to do so after that, I thought, right I want to do something to do with maths and science and I came into the data science role I decided I’ll have a go, and then, one year later, here I am. The whole way through I’ve never really had a particular idea of exactly what it is I wanted to do, but I’ve always done what I enjoyed and that seems to have worked out pretty well.

Where are they now?

Some careers and professions do require specific degrees, subject knowledge, or other qualifications, but as we’ve highlighted in this course, people actually choose their degree course for all sorts of reasons.

Similarly, career choices can start from a long-held passion, a chance meeting with someone who inspires, or just being in the right place at the right time – an opportunity comes up and you go for it.

Over people’s working life, their career pathways can take many different turns and head in new directions at different points in their lives. It’s rarely (if ever) a single, once in a lifetime choice.

Watch the video which gives just a few examples. You’ll hear about people’s degree choices and where they are now!

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This video is from the free online course:

Smart Choices: Broadening Your Horizons