No I don’t live in a war zone, a famine stricken third world town or small dung hut on stilts over a river of malnourished crocodiles- but I feel really sorry for myself. In the words of a wise teacher, who fancied himself as a bit of a stand-up comedian, ” Let’s not have a pity party!” But that’s exactly what I find myself doing so often. I have had a really lucky life I guess. I screwed up my younger years pursuing my teenage “sweet heart” (HA!) and still managed to come out with decent GCSEs. I realised I actually wasn’t as thick as I was perceived by some people. So, I decided to stay in school and did pretty well from there on! AND.. As much as I will thank the education system in years to come for the great graduate job I may or may not have,I feel like my later childhood/teenage years have been snatched away from me.
So we start career planning in first year. Aged 11. Isn’t this just a little bit after we stop the replies of ” I want to be a princess/camel/popstar.” Mild exaggeration. But what I’m trying to say is that we’re made to look to the future from such a young age! It’s madness. Couldn’t we have retained a little bit of our blissful ignorance until our GCSE years?
And even now I feel as unsure as ever about what I want to do with my life. This absolutely GRIM economic climate has meant that it’s all about picking a job that’s in demand etc. Whatever happened to the good old, do something you love and work hard, then you’ll get a job? See, initially I had wanted to do something really creative such as… English and er, creative writing. I could well have done this. However, at every corner I’m being told that graduate prospects are poor, you won’t have a job, how will you feed your 17 children! Furthermore, Repossession on your house, no banged up Nissan Micra, no tesco value beans. LIVING ON THE STREETS! And before anyone feels I’m being insensitive, If that has happened to someone I am DEEPLY sorry, but what I am trying to say is that generalisations like this are ridiculous.
Odds are if you like something and are good at it, you will find your way in the world.. We can hope. I am now hoping to do a degree in politics. I do love politics and it was a sturdy choice for me to make. I can see myself finding a job I like from it. BUT..*cue for a long list of what ifs*
I always wonder what would have happened if I had left post-GCSEs, as I had intended on doing, to take a course in Fashion and textiles. I’m sure I would have had a great time, and as much as I feel I made the right choice, I wonder if those careers advisors and pesky newspaper statistics would have been right in damning me to a life of poverty and no prospects, unless I am absolutely outstanding and basically the next Stella McCartney. Just because I don’t want to do law, or medicine, engineering etc, does not mean I am not going to do anything with my life. The world needs lots of different workers in different fields. We’ll always need bin men, postmen, nurses.. but we’ll always want the artsy types, too. Imagine a world without artists, or writers and journalists, musicians etc. Would be a pretty bleak place!
But yeah, I guess what I’m annoyed about is the fact I have to choose RIGHT NOW the moves that will determine the rest of my life. I can’t even choose between Deli sandwiches in McDonald’s without a certain degree of deep and intense thought. My mind changes A LOT and it probably will for a long time. Problem is that now changing your mind is an expensive activity. I’m sure a lot of people my age do feel like this. Pushed into a corner and trapped. It’s good to have direction, it’s just scary how quickly it all happens!
Now, I am going to take on the role of an elderly woman and say that I really hope things will be so much different for my children. They may have a nutter of a mother but I will always push them to take the route of what they love over what is construed as sensible. And if I forget this, someone send me this blogpost when I’m forcing them to revise 10 hours a day for a place in Oxford!
Love and good luck,