Confessions of a… Professional Undergraduate Student

Hi, my name is Emily and I am a self-declared professional undergraduate student. By that, I mean I’m on my way to completing my second degree – and yes, that’s 6 years of undergraduate studies! I completed my first degree in Political Science and Sociology at McGill University, in Canada, while my second degree here at King’s College London is in Law. Now, some of you are probably wondering why I didn’t jump straight into studying Law. Others, however, might be considering doing their own second degree.

So, why DID I do a second degree?

  1. I wanted to give myself time to decide on my ‘chosen’ career.

As some of you know, when you study certain degrees, there can be an expectation that you will end up in a career linked to that subject. At 19, I was in no way ready to choose what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. I needed time to grow and discover my passions. If you had told me that I would be going into commercial law in 6 years, I would’ve probably just blinked blankly at you, not knowing what commercial law is or how I’d get there.

If you’ve already decided that you want to be a doctor, graphic designer or whatever it is that makes you tick, then that’s great! If not, then I’m here to tell you that it’s alright not to be sure yet. Sometimes, all you need is a bit more time to decide what career you want – and a second undergraduate degree can be instrumental in making that decision!

  1. Too many interests, not enough time for one degree!

When I first got to university, I wanted to study Law, Spanish, Politics, Psychology, Sociology… and the list goes on. I was fortunate to be able to study two subjects while at McGill University, but that was in no way comprehensive of the list above. Nor did I get to do all of the extracurricular activities I would have wanted to do – volunteering, sports and so on. So, I saw my second degree as an opportunity to finally ‘do it all’. I studied an entirely new subject that I had wanted to focus on before, and I participated in societies and volunteer organisations that I had previously not been able to fit into my schedule.

  1. International student reasons

As an international student from Canada, a 3-year law degree meant that I would be able to qualify back in Canada, if I ever chose to return. While this is not applicable to everyone reading this, it just shows that it’s important to consider the practicalities of doing a second degree. Whatever you plan on studying, it’s always a good idea to research prior to making the big decision so that you have some (loose) idea of what’s ahead.

So, should YOU do a second degree?

Doing a second degree allowed me to choose, with confidence, my future career. Maybe you’re in the same situation, or you’ve changed your mind on your current studies and need to experience more. My advice? Don’t rush into it – have a good (long) think, do your research, and speak to your professors and Careers Consultants for advice. But remember,  the decision is ultimately yours to make!

Written by Emily Lemaire, 3rd year Law student & Marketing Assistant at King’s Careers & Employability

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