Do not despair! From the brief information that you have given it is clear that you have a great deal of skills, academic ability and determination, which should all stand you in good stead for a promising career ahead of you.
I think it is important that you view your life decisions in a positive way; the course may have been ‘rubbish’ but did you gain any skills during the year that would be sought after in the workplace? For example;
• the ability to work well with others on the course
• strong presentation skills
• leadership qualities
• meeting deadlines
If you can view these courses and your achievements during these times in a positive fashion, you can then go on to reflect the choices you have made in a good light when mentioning them on your CV and at interview.
Which brings me to my next point; just because you did not complete the 2 courses that you started, it doesn’t mean that they are not worthy of mentioning on your CV, and as you say, leaving a large 2 year gap in your CV may lead to potential employers drawing negative conclusions about your responsibilities or commitment to developing yourself or your career during this time, so definitely include this information on your CV in the future.
The best way to do this would be to include it in your education section, giving the course title and the date that you studied; please make sure that it is clear that the course was not completed. You can then clarify in your opening paragraph the fact that at the start of your higher education you were uncertain of the path you wished your career to follow, which led to you starting 2 courses, learning some valuable skills, but then taking the decisive action to change direction.
This action in itself is a very bold and brave decision and shows that you want to be committed and able to apply yourself wholeheartedly into your studies or career, and you have obviously learnt from this that your commitment is to another field; presumably the type of job that you are now considering.
As for including extra information such as hobbies and pastimes at school, this is not always necessary, as long as you can identify your own personal skills, for example your computer literacy, secretarial skills etc. then you will have plenty to discuss at interview.
I hope this information is helpful to you and will allow you to appreciate your successes and enter the job market with confidence.
My company Words Worth Reading Ltd. offers a full MoT CV service where we can provide a full CV critique and make necessary changes to language, format and style for you. If you would be interested in using this service, please feel free to email me direct at Sam@wordsworthreading.co.uk or take a look at my website www.wordsworthreading.co.uk