Study Tips

What To Do When You Still Don't Know What Your Major Work Is

words by Ben | photo by @skylajaneslens

Don’t stress, it’s still relatively early in the year, but if you’re anything like I was–you’re completely under prepared for your major work/s. I had three majors; Drama, Visual Arts and Extension English and was wildly unorganised for all of Year 12. Never fear, by the end of it all, I submitted three works that I’m still pretty chuffed with.

For Extension English I created a short film that stemmed from my fascination of cults. Luckily, I thought of that idea very early on in the year and actually used the same concept for my visual arts major. I didn’t plagiarise any of my own material but being able to immerse myself into a single concept for two subjects was my greatest Year 12 life-hack. For Drama however, I spent a majority of Year 12 having no monologue.

If you’re struggling to decide what to focus on, think of what interests you. And I know, you’ve been told this a hundred times before, but look at the question differently. What have you caught yourself furiously researching in the late hours of the night because you find it so incredibly weird or interesting? Is there a an unsolved crime that you can't stop looking into? If there a theme of conspiracy videos you can't stop watching on YouTube? Or do you find yourself constantly thinking about something like whether there's life on Mars or what the human race would do if Earth was unlivable?

On the flip side, think about what gets you fired up. Are you always arguing with your 'rents about how much shit your little brother gets away with that you would get in trouble for? Are you the one in the family that 'ruins' Chrissy because you call your family out on their outdated views? Did you join the Climate Strike rally? Or campaign greyhound racing to be banned?

Whatever it is that could have you talking for hours, find it and use it.

My weird interest was cults, and there were so many ways to explore that concept in a way that was interesting and in a way that didn’t get boring. This way of finding a concept applies to most major-based subjects (except maybe Design and Technology, sorry guys) so look seriously! You’re more than likely an interesting person with interesting interests and if you put your mind to it, you can think of something you can work hard at–it’s not too late. Start with having a look at your open tabs on your phone and see if anything jumps out at you.

Regardless if you’re technically talented, you’ve picked major based subjects because you think creatively. A major component of my arts major was scribbled words onto a piece of cloth. This required no raw talent at all but ended up manifesting itself into something interesting and engaging (I hope–who knows what the markers thought). For Extension English, I created my entire film on iMovie and filmed it on my dad’s old camera. Not the highest tech program out there but the end result embodied the concept I was trying to get across. For my drama monologue I wrote the entire script two months before it was due and I was in love with what I wrote by the end of it. For some reason, the monologue of my dreams came to me in the space of two days and even though I left it quite late, my teachers loved it and I was obsessed with performing it.

Just because you don’t have a clear idea now doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually get the inspiration you need to get you over the line. I'm not saying sit around and wait for it to smack you in the face; get out there and actively look for it. It's there, you just have to get it out of your head.  

Major works are bloody overwhelming. They're hard work, time-consuming and make you question why you picked the subject in the first place.

But you will finish it and you'll probably look back and be pretty damn proud of what you've done.

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