Our accidental social experiment

We did an interesting exercise the other day that turned into an inadvertent social experiment. We went around to random students on campus asking them why they loved their course. The answers we received were somewhat surprising. A few people said how much they loved their degree and how involved they were with it. But others said that they didn’t want to comment, were changing degrees or simply didn’t like what they were studying. The majority of these tended towards the latter. We were confused. We thought if students loved what they were studying they should want to tell us all about it, right?

When we are immersed in what we love, then our motivation overlaps with our intrinsic values. We are motivated to do something we love. Yet we always find us asking ourselves “why am I doing this?” or “what am i doing with my life?”.

John-Paul Flintoff in the book ‘How to Change the World’ suggests a strategy to help us get a grasp on our own values and passions.

1. Write a note of events or relationships that have made you feel truly alive in the recent or distant past

2. Then ask yourself why

3. Then ask yourself why is it you like that aspect of it?

4. Keep on breaking down the activity until you can derive the ultimate reason for why you enjoy it

This could be something as simple as ‘I like playing basketball’

Why? Because I like playing in a team
Why? Because I enjoy working with other people of different capabilities to achieve a result
Why? Because I am a sociable person and am able to work with different personalities and abilities

In this case, you could conclude that you find ultimate satisfaction from working in a team environment with people that inspire you, and whom you can learn from.These kinds of strategies can provide important clues that help you determine what you are truly passionate about.

But don’t worry, not everyone has to have one passion that they pursue, so don’t go frantically searching for it. You can have hundreds of passions and life’s all about exploring them. Maybe even explore one a day. You have the agency to follow the things you love and the capacity to discover what you want to do.

In a similar way, our Course Resource is a strategy for Year 12 students choosing a course. By placing interests at the forefront, we lessen the focus of narrow criteria of ATAR and institution. University is a place where you learn how to learn, so why not study something you love. If you know anyone struggling to decide what they want to do next year, encourage them to use the Course Resource to do so.