This time last year I made the huge decision to drop out of my first year at university. I had been studying up in London and had come home feeling lost, confused and underwhelmed. My course and my University hadn’t been what I’d expected. I’d found myself feeling lonely in London, with little money to do anything and way too much time to myself. To put it straight, I’d lost my enthusiasm.
Going to university had always been a given for me. I knew that I wanted to be a journalist and I loved London. I’d envisioned three years up in my favourite city, loving every minute of it, so it was a massive surprise when it turned out that I didn’t. I’d applied while in Sixth Form and differed my place, taking a year out to do some travelling. It wasn’t until I moved up to London that I started to realise, perhaps University wasn’t for me.
In the UK, there’s a lot of pressure to follow a certain path. Our Sixth Form didn’t give much guidance for those not wanting to go university. The options were pretty much, go to university or go and work. The thing is, If you follow your dreams, there are limitless opportunities and paths to get you where you want in life.
For me, I was lucky because I found another shorter course that suited me. In England, we have a thing called an NCTJ diploma in Journalism. This short course is significantly cheaper than one year of University. It was full-time, so it could be completed in three months, it would give me experience writing and being published and would provide me with qualifications and practical experience as a journalist. I could also study this back in my hometown. So last January, I moved back to Brighton, got a cafe job for the weekend, studied like crazy in the week, got my diploma, got published, got work experience and then emerged with a good set of skills, the freedom to do whatever I wanted and a renewed enthusiasm for life.
What I’m trying to say is that there is a world of opportunities out there. At any time in life, but especially when you’re young, you should be trying everything. Every idea of an idea, follow it. If you want to travel, go. If you want to learn a language, learn it. If you’re not sure what you want to do in life, then go and try everything and wait to be inspired. There are no time limits. Who says you can’t go to university when you’re 23? Who says that you ever have to have an office job? Who says that you can’t be your own boss?
As 2017 comes to an end, I’m excited for what the new year has to hold. At times, life, since leaving university, has been pretty uncertain, but I’m learning to see this uncertainty as a challenge, not a threat. At the moment, I’ve just come back from a solo backpacking trip around Asia and my plans are to see much more of the world this year, while continuing to blog, write, photograph, laugh and follow my heart.