Bare with me whilst I recall some events from the last year or so…

Okay, so first let me set the scene. 17 years old. Put the boring summer of 2017 behind me and I’m starting the 2nd Year of college. I’ve already heard the words ‘UCAS’, ‘application’ and ‘personal statement’ 60 times too many. So like a sheep, I start the process of applying to university because that’s all I’m being told to do. Fast forward to November of that same year and a pretty obvious thought occurs to me. Maybe I don’t have to go? Maybe I shouldn’t? So I kind of just… stopped. I ignored the emails. I avoided my personal tutor. Honestly, I wasn’t trying to hear it.

Then, we hit January 2018 and all the deadlines had passed so I couldn’t change my mind even if I wanted to – but to be fair, I wasn’t giving too much thought to my decision. I lived my best life in July because lord knows, after those A levels, I deserved it! Then August came and I was completely overwhelmed with my results – A*AA?! I’m even more overwhelmed with the congratulatory messages and phone calls. Can’t lie, I saw way more blue boxes on snapchat than when it was my birthday but we won’t talk about that one too tough.

Here’s the important part. Inevitably, I was bombarded with the assumption that I was going to university because “why wouldn’t you with those grades?” And I was constantly having to explain my decision even though I didn’t have much of an explanation. Having the same conversation over and over again was not only jarring, it was embarrassing because I didn’t really have a plan. I didn’t have a passion. I didn’t even have a field of interest. I was just kind of floating and the uncertainty was frustrating for me.

As it stands now, October 2018, I’m a week into a digital marketing internship and learning so much already. I can see this being me for a while. It came about so nicely too. I saw the ad for the position, I messaged my now boss, set up an interview for the next day and got the job on the spot. “If you can commit, I don’t want to see anyone else” he said. But it wasn’t that easy.

From August until that moment, I had sent so many of the same message, that landed me that position, to so many people but never found the right fit. I was questioning myself and if I’d made the right decision. Going to uni, in some ways, would’ve been easier. With the grades I had gotten, I could’ve gone pretty much anywhere and studied pretty much anything. So why had I made it so hard for myself?

It’s because I felt in myself that it wasn’t right at the time. It’s because I had the courage to go against the grain. It‘s because doing me is what I do best. That last one is what I’d like you to pay attention to. I’m in no way bashing those who went or are going to uni… like at all. Mad props to all of you, you might even catch me there one day. All I’m saying, my friend, is that it is not by force to do what everyone else is doing. “We is not sheep, we is shephard” my grandma would say (make sure to slap on a true Jamo accent with that one). Listen to yourself and see where it gets you. If it doesn’t work out, it’s really not that deep. Just keep it stepping love.

Shian J



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