It’s getting to that point in the year, where I save up the majority of my holidays, in order to do as little work as possible over the festive season. And today happens to be one of those days, in which I slept in till 10, had breakfast/brunch/lunch (not sure which it falls into by this point…) made for me by my lovely boyfriend, and intend to watch Elf wrapped up on the sofa with my favourite Yankee candle in full swing and copious amount of tea and biscuits. Ahhh bliss…
But the point of this blog wasn’t to give you all an hourly update of my day off, but to instead write about something that has been on my mind for a few days now.
On Saturday, me and the girls had our annual present swap and we got into our usual girlie conversation about marriage, weddings, babies, careers etc. After looking through a few Instagrams of wedding dresses, bloggers, and Christmas ideas, we began to talk about the grand topic of being in your 20’s.
It sometimes comes as a surprise to me when I think about how I am actually 25. In my head I am still a 19-year-old university student (I say 19 as I didn’t go to Uni straight away) with no idea what I want to do with my life: to be honest, I can’t say too much has changed!
If I go back to my life when I was 19, I was studying Broadcast Journalism, in Nottingham, living in an old decrepit, student house that probably wasn’t fit to live in, wishing I had put more thought into where to go to university. After a few months of being utterly miserable, hating my course, my house and missing my friends and family, I decided to come home, which in hindsight, was probably the best decision I ever made. Within a couple of months, I’d got a job, a place at Manchester University studying English, and I was volunteering at any PR/Journalism/Marketing agency that would have me. Somehow it finally felt like I had some sort direction for once.
When I look back at it, 19 is quite a young age for so much to be going on in your life, and with most of my friends scattered about the country, it was a difficult time. A few months into my job at the call centre, one of my close friends came back to work there, which meant work was 100 times more fun! On one of the quieter days, we started discussing where we thought our lives would be by the time we were 25, which at the time felt a million miles away.
In reality, it wasn’t. It is in fact next year for me, which in itself is scary enough – less than 6 months away. Not only this, but I will also be a quarter of a century old.
*Cue quarter life crisis*
But getting back…
During this conversation, we both thought at least one of us would be engaged/getting married, have our own house, a career, and maybe even have a baby on the way. And these are thoughts we weren’t alone in thinking.
But were our 19-year-old, naïve selves, so far wrong?
Most of my friends are working in jobs they like, some have gone back to university to study Post-grads and masters, and some have moved to the other side of the world. Some have bought houses, some are saving to buy houses and some are engaged. As a group of friends, we are all at different points in our lives; points that I’m sure I didn’t think I would be at when I was younger, but points I am happy to be at overall.
When I started university (again) at Manchester, I thought that I would sail through with countless work experiences and internships under my belt, and get the job of my dreams after studying hard for three years. In truth, this isn’t how it happened. As I’d studied Journalism previously, I spent a lot of my time trying to break into the ‘media’ industry by working at the Uni’s radio and TV stations. During the summer of my first year, I had barely any experience in this field, so I made the decision to pursue a career in PR. I was lucky enough to be selected for a marketing and events internship with Cancer Research UK for the duration of my second year, which helped me to understand how hard this industry was to crack – Just what you want to hear 2 years into your course! Finally, I changed my mind again (shock), and decided I wanted to work in the events industry, organising and coordinating large-scale music and sporting events.
In my final semester, I applied for PR and marketing jobs, events jobs, and jobs at local newspapers, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I continued to volunteer with Cancer Research UK and Forever Manchester as a digital marketer and event staff but by the time I had graduated, I had given up. I finally decided to take a job I was offered at the head office of the company I had worked at since I was 19, which obviously I was grateful for, even if it wasn’t related to what I wanted to do with my life. But then again, I was 22, and still didn’t really know what I wanted to do.
We’re unfortunate that we are studying and graduating at a time where there are not enough jobs to satisfy the number of graduates which finish university every year. We shouldn’t feel pressured to get our dream job as soon as we finish, and I know I’m not the only one to work in a job which is not only related to their degree but also one that is a ‘stop-gap’. One that is a means to an end. One that pays the bills, and one that shows we weren’t just dossing around for 18 months after graduated – The CV filler.
Sometimes when you work in a job that you don’t particularly like, or one that you didn’t see yourself working in, during uni, it can be quite disheartening. But we have to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as cliché as it sounds. Even if your life isn’t going in the direction you once thought it would, it doesn’t mean it never will. And sometimes this can be the most exciting time of all. Even if it has been 2 years or 20 since you graduated, or maybe you never graduated at all, you never know what doors will open. Maybe that job you took when you were 21 will help your career somewhere along the line, maybe it won’t. Only time will tell.
If my 19-year-old self, dreaming of being a high-flying journalist living in London could see me now, taking a Tuesday off just before Christmas, wrapped up in her dressing gown and a blanket living 20 minutes from her parents, spending most of her time taking pictures of her cat, she probably would be surprised. My life has taken me to new highs and lows, and I’ve started a completely different chapter to what I once thought. But sometimes it’s fun to rewrite your journey.
For the first time ever, I am finally in a job that I like, in a stable relationship, with family and friends that I would do anything for, and when I think about all the things I have right now, I am so happy and blessed.
So for everyone who has helped me along the way to where I am now, I am truly thankful. For everyone who has been there for me through break-ups and make-ups, job interviews, job rejections, family crises and much more, you make me the person that I am. And although I never thought my life would pan out this way, I am happy that it did.