Happy December! First and foremost, I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone for giving such warm, positive feedback on the new blog and the welcome post to go with it. Going from being part of a blogging duo to starting up something alone was extremely daunting, but the response has been incredible and I’m now more excited than ever for the journey ahead. SO to kick things off, I wanted to write a blog post where I can ramble about something that’s been in the back of my mind for a while… Why I’m glad I didn’t listen to certain pieces of ‘advice’.
If you weren’t already aware, I made the decision when finishing school last year that I wasn’t going to go on to University. I went to a very uni-focused school (and by that, I mean there really wasn’t any other choice but going to uni… anything else was made out to be ridiculous, stupid and completely the wrong decision), therefore I was pretty much the only one from my year who was set on not going. Without rambling too much about the decision itself, since before I can remember I’d never seen myself going to university. As time went on and it got closer to the UCAS process, I felt more and more strongly about not going. I’ve always felt passionate about going straight into the working world and I knew waiting 3 years to get a degree was too long for me. I’d worked hard at school and now I was ready to find my feet and test the waters.
Refusing to send out uni applications proved to be a pretty traumatic experience. It’s not easy being set on a decision about your future and having pretty much everyone else surrounding you telling you that you’re making the wrong choice. ‘But how will you stand out if you don’t have a degree?’, ‘Why would anyone trust your skills if you haven’t got anything to show for?’, I even got told by a teacher that the only job I’d get would be as a dustbin woman (this is of course laughable now, but at the time it infuriated me). While parents, teachers and seriously irrelevant adults continued to bash my decision and attempt to plant seeds of doubt, I was extremely lucky to have a mum and close friends who fully supported me, regardless of whether or not I truly knew what I was doing (and believe me when I say I didn’t really know what I was doing by the time it came to saying au revoir to the comfort of school life).
Fast forward and I’ve spent the past year interning at various magazines, acting as the Press Assistant in the head office for a global beauty brand and now landing my first permanent role at a creative agency. Interning was a long, gruelling challenge and I’m going to write an entire blog post on this, but it has meant I built a CV that landed me the interview for where I am now. One of the main reasons my boss was so interested, was the simple fact that I didn’t go to university. He described my decision as ‘brave’ and showing ‘real determination’ and for the first time, someone had finally told me that my decision had got me the job… You better believe I’d stick my fingers up at anyone who doubted me and thought they were giving me the right advice! I’d have never imagined this is where I’d end up this time a year ago but I couldn’t be happier and I’m finally doing something I love.
Sticking with the ‘work’ theme, another piece of advice I’m glad I didn’t take involved turning down potential jobs, regardless of the play slip. When leaving one of my internships, a few other companies were keen to get me onboard; the job would have involved the same roles I’d previously been doing but for a year long placement. I can’t deny that the money offer was tempting, especially for someone in my position where everything so far was unpaid (don’t even get me started on the idea of unpaid internships) . But 3 months of PR was enough for me to realise that as much as I loved being in the beauty world, the role just wasn’t for me and I needed to be somewhere where I could be creative while pursuing my editorial dreams. Just like with saying no to uni, many people questioned my decisions to turn down these job opportunities, particularly as I had nothing lined up for after the 3 months interning were up. But deep down I knew I was making the right decision. Happiness is the most important thing in life and being so young, the thought of accepting a role that I knew I wouldn’t really enjoy seemed ludicrous. So what did I do? I took my last ever summer holiday. I enjoyed myself for a few months, doing what I love most…travelling. Looking back, I don’t regret a single decision so far and I’m so grateful for all the experiences and opportunities I’ve had. Without them I wouldn’t be in the position I am today and this is only just the beginning. Sometimes people don’t know what’s best for you and it’s okay to say thanks but no thanks!
I could keep going with more times I’m glad I didn’t take peoples advice, but I realise I’ve already written a longer blog post than intended…classic! Listening and taking others advice into consideration is always important; sometimes we’re not always right (as much as we like to think we are) and it’s always worth looking at decisions and scenarios from alternative perspectives. Simultaneously, this doesn’t always mean that others advice is the right advice. More often than not, trusting your gut and following what you know is right for you ends up being better than expected. Take risks, follow your instincts and see where it takes you. It might not work out the first time round, but that doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision. I’m not entirely sure what the point of this blog post was, or if I’ve made any sense at all, but I just wanted to tell my story of how not listening to advice led me to the happiest times of my life so far.