The new year often brings thoughts of rejigging your life. Maybe that’s heading off on a new career path or going back to school. Whatever it is, just know that there’s more than one track to your destination.
Happy New Year everyone! Can I still say that? How is it the 16th of January already? My poor blog has been somewhat neglected for the past few weeks, so I feel like I should do a quick catch up.
I had a lovely Christmas with my family and friends. I feel like the older I get the more Christmas-crazy I become. I love it!
I’m also a big fan of the new year, I have developed a sort of ritual around it. I always sit down on New Year’s Eve and write a list of things I want to achieve in the coming months.
Last year, I set myself the task to start/complete a diploma online, and today was a big day for that goal. I finally submitted my very last assignment. You are now reading the work of someone who – fingers crossed – will have a diploma in journalism in the coming weeks.
If I’m honest, for a long time I felt regret when it came to my education. Deep down I felt like I wasn’t as valuable as someone who had gone on to the next level and it really bothered me. That thought seems ridiculous to me now, but it played a real part in how I saw myself in the past.
Growing up, I always just assumed I was going to be a singer. Seriously! People would ask me what I wanted to be when I got older, and it would roll off my tongue – “Eh, singer? duh!”
*I also always liked the idea of being the first female TV presenter of ‘The Late Late Show’. And come to think of it, THERE’S STILL TIME – watch out Ryan! 😊*
Jokes aside, when the time came to choose a real career path, I was at a loss. I had some university offers, but it just didn’t feel right. There was nothing I really wanted to do that seemed worth it. All that strain, both financially and academically, for something I didn’t have any passion for, it just didn’t make sense.
I think that a lot of young people feel pressure from society to ‘just do something’ these days. Do anything! Long term happiness is an after thought. Once you go to college, that’s the main thing. It’s sad, but that seems to be the only idea of the future that is offered to you in secondary school.
I couldn’t bring myself to do that, so I went straight to work after my leaving cert. Literally! I did my last exam on a Friday and the following Monday I started working in a gym. I stayed there for the next four and a half years and worked my way through the recession. I did a personal training course while I was there (this was back in 2009), and I spent a few years ticking away at that.
There were so many times that I felt like a failure, like I had made the biggest mistake of my life by not going out and getting a degree like everyone else. Someone actually said to me once, when I was about 21 “You’ll never make anything of yourself if you don’t go to college.” I will never forget those words. It made me feel so belittled and hopeless at the time.
And the gas thing is, that person was wrong.
Eventually I left the personal training behind. The fitness industry has to be something you are really, really passionate about for it to work, and it just didn’t do it for me at the time. So, I moved on and after a brief stint working for a phone company, I found my place at the Irish Independent.
The day I got the phone call to say I was hired and would be working for the biggest news company in Ireland, was such a pivotal moment in my life. It meant so much to me to be invited in to that world.
Sure, I felt like an imposter at first. I kept thinking, but I don’t have a degree? It took some time to shake that feeling off, but slowly, as I settled into my new ‘home’, I began to relax and believe in myself.
Many years have passed since then, five to be exact, and I am not the same girl who walked through those doors on Talbot Street that very first day. I know that I can do whatever I want to in life now, so long as I am willing to work for it.
This blog began as a private journal, I didn’t even use the word ‘blog’ when I started out, but over time it escalated into what it is today.
It gave me the courage to ask for a chance and it has opened up so many doors these past couple of years. Because of it, I get to write professionally. I still have my day job, but I also spend many evenings and weekends freelancing and creating now too. And none of that is down to my education.
I have proven to myself, and to anyone else who was wondering, that there is more than one route to get you where you want to go in life.
I’m not against people going to university or college, I think education is extremely important. You just don’t have to settle for less and go for the sake of going if it’s not what you are truly passionate about. You spend most of your life working, shouldn’t that be doing something that is going to fill you up with satisfaction and happiness?
If you don’t know what that is yet, that’s ok. It’s perfectly fine to give yourself the chance to figure it all out.
It’s been 12 years since I left school and it’s only now that I am discover my path. The reason I decided to study last year was because I wanted to explore and work on my craft. The course I chose was enough for me to learn some of the things that I couldn’t teach myself and if nothing else, it’s nice to have achieved something that I can apply here now.
I keep thinking of my Dad as I write this post. He’s in his 60’s, has battled dyslexia his entire life and is writing his first fictional novel at the minute.
Who says everything has to be in a neat little box by a certain point? Or that you can’t decide to hit reset at any time?
We make our own rules and follow our own path. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, tell you differently.
Written with love,
PS. I will be posting my top tips for studing online over the next few days, for anyone who is interested in that, so watch this space.