I did it.
In the words of my mum, I “did it my way.”
In 2006, in my final year of school, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to university. My school was horrified. Not go to university? This would reflect badly upon them. They did not care about me, about how it was not right for me to go to university. If I had gone to uni when I finished school, at just eighteen, I am confident I would not have finished.
I hated my last two years at school. I did terribly in my A Levels, because I felt everything was forced upon me. That style of learning was not for me. The stifling atmosphere, where pristine uniforms were the main concern, and subject choices were limited to academic topics that did not interest me remotely.
So I left school with rubbish qualifications and went to college for a year. Less pressure and rules must have helped, because I finished the one-year course with a distinction. I got a job in a children’s daycare, “for now”. Two years later, I was still there. Sure, I had been given the responsibility of a supervisory role, but I was slowly going brain dead. Don’t get me wrong here – it was a good job, but it was not for me. My brain needs space to be creative and be challenged. I wasn’t getting that with the standard routine that childcare demands.
So, after considering a few options, I decided to apply for university, just as all my friends from school were graduating. I was really nervous that I was getting myself into a crazy amount of debt, committing to three years of full-time study and moving to a different country, just because I felt itchy to change something. What if I hated the course, or worse, what if I wasn’t capable of the work? It was all a huge risk. I loved writing and everything about books, but what if this was all a stupid idea and I just had no talent?
Turns out, it was worth it.
On Saturday I graduated with First Class Honours in Creative Writing with English.
Sure, I won’t walk away from this course and straight into a job. That’s not the kind of degree I have. But I have learned so much, it was undoubtedly the right course for me to take.
Some people know what they want to do with their lives, and some don’t. Some go to university right after school, some go to college, some go into employment, some have children, some go travelling, and some don’t know what to do. And that is okay. It is much better to take the time to work out what is right for you, than feel pressured to rush into something totally wrong for you. It only took me three years to figure the start of my path out, for some it may take longer, or for some it may not take any time at all, but just do what is right for you. Don’t let someone tell you what they think you should do, just because they are older than you, or don’t want to ruin their sparkling school-leaver records. It’s your life, not theirs.
And this is the beginning of the next stage of mine.
I’m not sure where this quote originates, but it sums this all up extremely neatly for me right now: