This week marks 100 weeks since I moved back home from University.
I’ve come a long way since my student days but in others I haven’t at all. Before Uni, I hadn’t even thought about the possibility of getting a degree. No-one talked about it and, to some extent, I naively thought it was out of my reach and not in my best interests, originally wanting to pursue fashion journalism. Three years later, I left Uni an ambitious, determined and very lucky graduate with more opportunities and prospects than most.
To date, I think that one of the biggest taboos about University is that you’ll immediately take to it like a duck to water. In turn, you’ll feel incredibly torn apart once you experience the first semester lull. I clearly remember feeling overwhelmed that I wasn’t finding Uni as fun, exciting or fulfilling as everybody else seemed to be. In fact, I felt this almost immediately after course enrolment in September.
Nobody talks candidly about not enjoying Uni. I often felt overwhelmed by feeling ungrateful for my place; like an outsider for genuinely not wanting to spend my money on vodka and cheap shots; and like I was underachieving, finding things just a tad too easy (until final year woes took ahold of me, of course). But a corridor chat with my flatmates led me to realise that we all felt that way. And together we decided to see it through.
In many ways, my Uni life was different to others on my course and at my Uni. Let’s go back to 2009/10 when I began my blog, right before blogs grew wildly in popularity. I spent much of my spare time writing blog posts, reading blog posts and keeping up with fashion in digital media, then a relatively new space.
By a stroke of luck, Daisybutter completely spiralled to a level beyond my wildest dreams. I was nominated for ‘blog awards’, I began attending meetings in London during extended breaks between lectures and seminars, I’d then get back on a train in the evening and push myself to network and jump in to the burgeoning industry with both feet. This did me the world of good.
Like so many before me, I spent any spare moment during my student days interning. Internships and work experiences are now more valuable to show prowess and determination as well as a flavour of the industry than anything. But what I wasn’t doing was figuring out which part of the industry was right for me. I interned endlessly at magazines, blindly assuming that would be the right thing for me, I also assisted at PR houses and with in-house PR, blindly assuming that the experience would be good ‘to know’.
But actually, post-Uni? I haven’t quite put my finger on what I want to be doing. 100 weeks ago, was I under the general impression that I’d now be a fashion journo? … Mmm, yes. Life after Uni was a rough bump back to reality. Blogging and the blog industry – that’s what I’m filing it under for now – comes relatively sugary sweet. Step it up and you need to keep swimming. Life after Uni meant starting my own business aged 21. It meant taking my social life back to penny-free activities when seeing friends, invoicing clients with no real expectancy of when “payday” would arrive, filing taxes and spending plenty of hours worrying about ‘The Future’. None of my Uni worries and woes mattered. There’s a huge stigma attached to even the idea of not doing what you studied at Uni. But it’s okay to step away from that too.
Right now, I’m doing that whole annoying what-am-I-doing thing with myself. There’s a whisper of an idea in my mind. No clue how to achieve it. Such is life.
TL;DR? 100 weeks later and I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to be doing, what I want to be doing or where I want to go. And actually, that’s completely okay.
From one ambitious girl to another… However you’re feeling towards being a grown-up, whether you went to Uni or not, have a career goal in mind or not; keep your head up.
No two stories are the same and sometimes it’s maybe better to go with your gut, no information in hand, and see what happens.