I’m sure a bunch of you reading this now have got your bags packed, your places on your chosen courses secure and have already been out and bought a Sharpie in every colour you can find, two planners (because you just couldn’t choose between them) and more document wallets than you will ever use. You’re either off to uni, or college, for the first time, or maybe you’re a returning student.
Either way, have the thoughts about your future come creeping in yet? For me, it was always in the dead of night, just as I would be drifting off to dreamland, the little voices would pipe up and start questioning everything. Am I on the right course? Will I cope with the coursework? Will my thesis be the greatest toilet roll ever created? Will I have an idea as lucrative as Harry Potter on my morning commute?
The thing about uni is this, it has us questioning our choices, our sanity and our ability to down several steamboats 15 minutes before happy hour ends (just me then?). Growing up, I was always made to believe that the choices I made in education would set out my career path for the rest of my life *insert thunder and lightning*. The REST of my life. I don’t plan on bowing out anytime soon so realistically speaking, that’s a really long time - how the hell at 16, then 18 am I supposed to know what I want to do with the rest of my days?
Truth is, most of us don’t know. I was always made to feel like because I didn’t know, because I didn’t have my life plan, hell I didn’t even have a 5 year plan, that there must be something wrong with me.
Growing up, I wanted to be a vet - then a science teacher told me I didn’t have a cat in hells chance of making it in the sciences so to think again. When I went to college I studied English, ICT and Media, I picked two subjects I was kick ass at at school and a wild card - media. Fuck you sciences, I never liked you anyway! The whole time I was at college, I decided I wanted to be a teacher of either English or ICT. Then I did really well in media. It was decision time.
I went to university, flipped a coin and chose English and Creative Writing. I was going to be an English teacher. Sorted.
3 months in and I dropped out of English and took up Media Communication. As you do. I was going to be a journalist. Who would teach media on the side.
Three years later, graduation was fast approaching, I was still working part-time in Tesco and the whole teacher/journalist career path was wavering. I had to think fast, I had to find a career based on my studies or all will have all been for nothing. Oh the drama. Then I was offered a two years part-time placement on the Creative Writing MA course. YES! That gave me another two years to figure out exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Over those two years I worked hard on my thesis, I looked at a million and one possible jobs I could do with my qualifications. I went from wanting to be a journalist to a teacher, to a lecturer, to a writer, then a scriptwriter, back to being a lecturer and a writer, dabbled with the idea of running away to Florida and working in Disney, dipped my toes into Freelance writing, turned down a job in a call centre and somehow found myself finishing my masters and working as a Laboratory Assistant.
Now? I’m a Laboratory Technician for Clinical Biochemistry by day and a blogger by night (I can say that, it’s on my cv!). Years I spent freaking out and panicking over what I would do with my qualifications, nights I spent sleepless wondering if I was doing the right thing. Hell, I even considered going back to university at one point and doing something entirely different to get me on a career path.
I guess what I’m going all around the houses to say is this; it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up. If you have a subject you enjoy, something you are good at or that fills you with passion, then pursue it. Don’t worry about where it might or might not take you. Who cares if people don’t understand why you’ve chosen a particular subject or institute, it only has to matter to you.
Your education does not have to define your future career path. Sure, it can help, and if you know exactly what you want to do for a career than go ahead and do it. But it’s ok to not know, hell I still don’t know. But what I do know? Is that it doesn’t scare me anymore.
How do you feel about the choices you have made for university? Let me know in the comments below!