There are two types of students in this world – those who know what they’re doing, and those that don’t. Which one are you?

Something menacing is looming over libraries and paper-strewn desks this month. Calendars have been defaced with times and dates of grave importance. Coffee is being brewed at all hours of the day and night. And, sticky notes, highlighters and pens are being used up with more rapidity than bad jokes about the Irish weather. That’s right, it’s exam time.

Naturally,  as you’re probably well aware, dear reader, decisions are quite important. And, whether we like it or not, we all face them on a daily basis. Some have a lasting effect on us, some not so much, and the rest we can barely even remember. However, for study options and course choices, it’s likely that any decisions we do make will be quite important. However, while many of us think they could well have a dramatic bearing on our future, the reality is often quite different.

Take this pseudo-journalist, for example. Last October, yours truly graduated from Arts in N.U.I.G. I was chuffed with myself and, perhaps, overly-so. Due to terrible short-sightedness and sheer naiveté, it soon dawned on these young shoulders that a Journalism M.A or diploma would still be vital. How would I get where I wanted? Would I give up, given I still had a lot of work to do? What was the point of my degree after all? All answers to these questions proved unsatisfactory. Yet, after a few months, contacts had been garnered and experience had been gained and it all came down to figuring out what I wanted to do and working hard to achieve that goal. And, while I’m still a long way away yet, I’ve made a start.

My point is this – it’s never too late to figure out what path to pursue (and a detour is fine, so long as it’s not a cul de sac).  Above all, it is of paramount importance to remember that time is on your side. Whether you’re in your final year of undergraduate studies, or you’re considering dropping out to discover a new interest, choosing your field of study is something that should never be rushed.

Naturally, there are a plethora of options available to graduates today, and although it may not seem as such to the uncertain and worrisome amongst the student body right now, it is, in fact, quite true. For example, you could: a) Worry. Although, it’s vastly over-rated and not terribly effective, b) Take a year out to work or save money, c) Continue on to further education, d) Apply for an internship or, e) Buy a tweed jacket. Have a cup of tea. Muse for a bit. It’ll come to you eventually. In any case, it’s vital to remember that the choices we make should not be carried out post-haste or with too much nonchalance.

So as you chew on pens, sigh fervently and repeatedly, and grow ever-more frustrated with your former self for not paying attention all semester, don’t forget to take time out to consider your options. Invariably, if you are to graduate later this year, now is the time to think ahead. Many of you will already have applied to a variety of courses and scholarships etc., while others may still be a little unsure. If you are in the latter category, fear not, you’re definitely not alone.

But if there’s one thing to take from all this it’s that yes, our third-level education is very important to us, and so it should be, but even more so than this, is the pertinence of our personal edification.