High school students have graduated from high school and it is time for the chosen department of a university. Maybe you have already chosen or you are still thinking. But if you hear directly from university students, maybe it would be easier to decide for you. 

Choosing a department of universities is important because you will see lessons about your department for 4 years. But it doesn’t mean that you have to pressure yourself. Sometimes deciding something is hard and maybe first, you need to experience that department. Sometimes, you will understand that your dreamy department is not for you or maybe everyone says that if you choose that department, you will be unemployed and have difficulties. 

The experiences of the people who study in that department may be helpful to you. Dora Krznar, Anamaria Trsinski, Ivan Martinko, Paula Petrinec, Iva Kunštek and Mia Marija Lež explained their department and their studying journey. Let’s discover the Psychology, Croatian Language and Literature, Turkology, Law, Tourism and Comparative Literature departments…

“I fell in love with psychology”

Dora Krznar, who is 21 years old, is studying Psychology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zagreb University. She is finishing up the second year this month. But before psychology, she enrolled in Law but she realized that this department is not for her. She says “I realized pretty quickly that that is not something I was interested in and I was really unhappy. So I decided to quit after the first semester. After I quit, I didn’t know what I wanted and I was feeling lost so I took some time to think and I almost took up the Croatian language and literature but one of my friends said ‘What about psychology?’ and that got me thinking so I just decided why not let’s try and then somewhere along the way I fell in love with psychology.”

There are a lot of advantages to studying psychology for her. She explained “After finishing Psychology, you can work a lot of different jobs. For example, you can be a teacher or work in human resources or a hospital as a clinical psychologist or you can continue with your education and become a scientist or a psychotherapist. And those are just a few possibilities that I could think of, there’s many more.” When I asked about the disadvantages of studying psychology, she couldn’t find it and she added she really likes her department. 

She recommended to young people who want to study psychology “Get good grades in high school and study for your matura exam, especially math, that’s the first step. Everything else, you’ll figure out eventually.”

Being a high school teacher or working in a library…

Ivan Martinko, who is 23 years old, is studying Croatian Language and Literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zagreb University. He is in his third year now. When he was a kid, he was interested in literature and he wanted to be a teacher or a professor one day. And he is trying to fulfill his childhood dream and he plans to be a teacher in high school or work in a library. He says “I like working with people and I think I could positively impact young minds.”

When I asked him the advantages and disadvantages of studying Croatian Language and Literature, he said “You learn a lot of things about your culture, you read a lot of books, which I like. Also, you get to know about your language and other languages as well. The disadvantage is that maybe I will have a hard time finding a job because I’m in humanities studies and these days it’s all about tech.” Martinko says that Croatian grammar is very difficult and adds: “To prepare for a lot of reading and hard work”

Language, history and culture

Iva Kunštek, who is 23 years old, is studying Turkology at Zagreb University. When she graduated from high school, she decided that she wanted to study German and another language. She didn’t want to study English because she wanted to start a language from the beginning. Iva Kunstek said “I have considered Russian and Turkish. I always loved Russian, and I still do and want to learn it, but the decision fell on Turkish because it is a simpler combination with German.”

Kunštek explained the disadvantages and advantages of studying Turkology: “If I explain the advantages, you study something different from anything close to you, so you expand your horizons a lot. You don’t learn just the language but also a lot of history and culture. The groups are very small so you get to know all the people, professors know you by your name and you are not just a number. It is an opportunity to start learning Arabic and Persian.” and she added, “On the other hand, you have to do a lot on your own if you want to speak the language fluently in a few years. Other topics not directly related to Turkish can be a huge time consuming and the language has a different syntax than other languages we know, so it takes some getting used to.”

Iva Kunštek encourages those who want to study Turkology to try it. “Turkish language, culture, and history are amazing,” she said and added, “If you can, start studying before university.”

“I wanted to study something where I can help people”

Anamaria Trsinski, who is 21 years old, is studying Law at Zagreb University. Law was not her first choice. After she won Law, she was planning to study for one year and apply to the one she wanted. But after class started, she started to like the Law department. Trsinski said: “I met a lot of interesting people and I could imagine myself staying here. I wanted to study something where I can help people later and I realized that I can do that with Law.”

Trsinski explained the disadvantages and advantages of studying Law “First, probably the most common thing you’ll hear about studying Law is that it’s really hard… and it is. You have a lot of big subjects that don’t have a lot of practical classes so your only option is hours and hours of studying from the books which can be pretty boring. The lectures are not mandatory, which can be both an advantage and disadvantage. On the other hand, you can organize your ‘free time’ and ‘study time’ however you want because on a daily basis you mostly don’t have any homework and assignments so I would say that you have a pretty flexible schedule in which, if you organize well, you can have time for everything, hobbies, partying, hanging out with friends and of course, studying. But also, it can be isolating because you don’t see students and professors daily. That can be easily fixed if you put yourself out there and join different student programs, clubs etc.”

Anamaria Trsinski recommended that you should try to study if you think that Law is a good department for you. She says Law is not as hard as people say and she added: “The great thing is, Law is such a big department in which you cover a lot of different areas of Law. You can find something that you enjoy. Also, there are a lot of people studying here so you can really meet a lot of different interesting people and potentially make really good friends.”

“Sometimes it can be pretty hard to choose what to study or what to do in life. It can be frustrating and there can be a lot of pressure from society to make a plan for the future but it is completely fine if your primary plans don’t work out the way you wanted them to because in the end it always works out somehow.” Trsinski said.

“Always do something, do not waste your time”

Paula Petrinec, who is 25 years old, graduated in Marketing in Tourism at the University of Rijeka. Also, when she was studying Tourism, she went to Portugal for Erasmus and she studied at ISAG – Instituto Superior de Administração e Gestão.

Paula Petrinec also studied Tourism and Hospitality in high school at Zabok and she always wanted to study in Opatija. After high school, Paula made her dreams come true and she studied in Opatija for 5 years. Petrinec said “It was exciting for me to move out, to meet new friends from all over Croatia and study at one of the most appreciated faculties in the Mediterranean for tourism and hospitality. I would do all of it the same way again.”

She said that the advantages of studying tourism are numerous and she added “When you study tourism, you study an economy with an emphasis on tourism and hospitality. That means that you still get the general knowledge of the economy and you get to choose between numerous jobs afterwards. I swear I think there are job positions I don’t even know of, and that you could do with this degree. But because there is a lot you can do, students can get lost and don’t know where to start. My advice is to work, volunteer and participate in projects as much as you can during the studies to see what suits you best.”

When I asked about disadvantages, she explained “Tourism is largely affected during pandemics, wars, natural disasters etc. One day you have it all, the other you can lose everything. It also takes a large share of Gross Domestic Product in Croatia which seems like a positive thing, but since the tourism industry can be really sensitive to occurring events things like the pandemic affect the whole economy negatively.”

Paula Petrinec recommended that you take the time to go on Erasmus. “Working, volunteering, projects, exchanges… Always do something, do not waste your time. You will have something to put in your CV and will stand out in the crowd. The jobs afterwards unfortunately do not fall from heaven, especially the good ones. Put yourself out there, be everywhere and do cool things that let you grow.” she said.

“Literature and reading all of my life”

Mia Marija Lež, who is 23 years old, is studying Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb and she is in her third year of her bachelor’s degree.

Lež said she likes literature and reading all of her life. Because of that Mia describes her choice as “an obvious choice”. She said “The advantages are that it’s a relatively small department, so students and professors are familiar with each other and very friendly, and the subjects of our studies give us universal knowledge. But you get a lot of literature and you create your interpretations. So it might be tricky if that is not your kind of learning.”

Mia Marija Lež wants to work in art and culture one day and she said she could not imagine studying something else. Lež recommended that you study something else with comparative literature and she added “so you’re sure you will have a job one day when you finish college.”

Writer: Evin Arslan

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