Knowing your career options before selecting a certain path is always a good option. It can help you plan ahead, figure out what you might be interested in and how it will shape your lives. This week I bring you an article written by Katie. Written on her own experiences, she writes about how taking the conventional path does not necessarily mean you have it all figured. It works for some and for some they may feel stranded.
In this article, you will see how choosing your dream careers can work wonders for you. How it is never too late to change paths and the ways in which it can help you figure out what you want to do. But before we dive in here is a little bit about www.lovekat.co.uk in her own words.
When you are in secondary school, everyone is pushing you to complete A-Levels, go to university and get a graduate job. This pathway suits some people but in today’s society, it doesn’t suit a lot of people. Some find it too stressful and others just aren’t academically suited to exams.
At 18 not many people know what they want to do, we may all have ideas of what industry we want to go into but realistically most of us don’t actually have a definitive job role in mind. Unfortunately, the process of A Levels and the UK education system drills into us that we should know what we want to do at this age. That our mind should be made up about what we want to do for the rest of our lives.
If you are reading this now, listen up – You do not need to know what you want to do at 18. In fact, you do not need to know what you want to do at any age as long as you are working towards a goal.
What other routes are there to get into university?
A Levels are one pathway into the working world. Emphasis on the ‘one pathway’. You can do A Levels if this route suits you, however, take time to learn about your options – from local colleges, taking a gap year before deciding on A Levels, or just going straight into an industry and working. These are all pathways that can lead you to your end goal but they aren’t promoted by most secondary schools.
When I say all this, I am talking from experience, as I listened to my teachers and career department even though my mum suggested that I explore other options, but because my school wasn’t promoting the other alternatives I didn’t value their worth.
So I willingly took the path of A Levels, going into them I was convinced that I wanted to pursue Physiotherapy as a career which had stemmed from my frequent visits to my local physiotherapist during my many years dancing. I enthusiastically took on Biology, Home Economics, Physical Education and Business Studies despite being useless at subjects related to science throughout my GCSEs, I was determined that I was going to become a physiotherapist.
Differentiate real from surreal
Now don’t get me wrong, it is possible to beat the odds, work hard and master a subject and then continue to follow a career path but for many people, myself included this isn’t reality.
Exams are stressful enough without already being useless at a subject, multiply that with three subjects that you perform badly in and you have a serious problem.
I really wish going back I had of listened to my parents, who at the time told me to play to my strengths and focus on the subjects which I not only enjoyed but excelled at. Business Studies was the only subject I took on for A Levels that I actually scored well in at GCSE level while thoroughly enjoying the content. Unfortunately, when it came to doing it for A Levels; the stress and pressure of my other three subjects led to me performing badly in my Business class as I stopped focusing on it.
Fast forward to the end of my exams, we all know where I am going with this… I didn’t get the results I wanted or needed to get into any of the Physiotherapy courses I had applied to do.
You would think at this point I would have learned my lesson, and went to my parents for advice about what to do next, but foolishly I went straight to my careers department to ask their advice and they sent me to my local college to do yet another science course which I also absolutely hated and I only lasted five months before I decided it wasn’t for me.
What I did next?
So in May, coming towards the end of my A Levels and before starting into my science course at the local college I started working in Topshop as waitressing just wasn’t appealing to me any more as a part-time job!
After less than 6 months working in Topshop, I knew that I had a serious interest in how the business world worked. I loved understanding the different types of customers and audiences that we attracted and how to retain them and market effectively to them through design, product placement and a brilliant social media strategy.
After I left the local college I finally decided it was time to listen to my parents and my gut instinct and play to my strengths. So I went through the gruelling process of applying to universities again through UCAS but this time I applied to only universities within Ireland as I knew that I wanted to live at home while studying to have a support network close by. It was time to apply for business-related courses that could lead me to employment in various industries. I didn’t want to narrow myself down too much but still knew I wanted to go into business.
In my UCAS reference letter, which for anyone from outside the UK is basically an essay on why you want to enrol in the course; I openly admitted all of my failures from the past two years. I exposed myself completely and took a massive risk, the admissions office could have taken one look and said this girl doesn’t have her life together, she hasn’t committed to anything in two years. Instead, they took a risk and offered me a place in Ulster University on the Magee campus in Derry in the Business with Specialisms degree course. I didn’t have the grades to get into the course and I only scraped having the right amount of points. Why they took a chance on me? To this day I don’t know the answer but I am eternally grateful! Maybe it was because they saw a girl who had been misdirected, a girl who needed to be finally on the right path and a girl with drive in her heart to find the right pathway in her journey.
So in September 2016 I started at Ulster University and I have never looked back since, I absolutely love my course, I love the campus I study on and more importantly I know in my heart and my gut that I am finally on the right path.
Start of a new journey
Since starting at Ulster University, I have really found my feet, from working with the Arcadia Group for three years because I absolutely love fashion, to travelling to America with a group of complete strangers to volunteering for a week and completing a 7 week internship to starting my placement year with an engineering firm which is completely different to where I originally saw myself. But the point is I am challenging myself to do different things all the time, I am developing as a person, trying to grow my skill set and myself as an individual.
Now that I am finally on the right pathway, it makes me feel a lot more confident about where I am going, granted I still don’t know exactly what I want to do once I graduate but I know for definite that doing a business degree through Ulster University is what I am meant to be doing, I know that I want to work within a marketing role, and I know that I want to travel the world. So now I just need to find an industry and company that allows me to do just that!
So if you are still reading, do not be fooled into thinking there is only one pathway as a student. Do not think you have to do what everyone else is doing, there are multiple pathways to the job you want, if you don’t know what you want to do or if you are the slightest bit unsure I would strongly advise taking a gap year and either working or travelling if you can afford to as it will really shape you as a person and change your perspective on life.
Take your time to discover what you want to do with your life, don’t be afraid to try different taster courses before you make a big decision. Don’t be ashamed to go to a local college, not only are they a more cost effective route to graduating but they also have better employment statistics and often the lectures will also have more time to commit to you. Work hard to secure industry relevant experience because the difference it makes when you get to graduation will make a massive difference.
Finally, always remember that if you do get sidetracked and end up on the wrong path, you can always turn back and find your way, there is always a fork in the road or a roundabout. You are never stuck in one place, there are always options out there. You just need to talk to the right people, do research and follow your gut instinct.
I hope this piece by www.lovekat.co.uk inspires you to work out your options and find a career path that you love. It can be quite daunting at times to go away from the usual but if you feel that you need to take time and find the best fit, you should go for it. But if you have already figured that the path you had earlier planned is what you want, all the best!
This motivating article will help all students struggling with their decision and hopefully inspires you to choose your path wisely. Blogging is truly a handful job just like any other and can develop skill sets that are sought out in today’s world as discussed by Emily.
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