Written by Tyla Brine
“What are you going to do after uni?” Is a question asked by my colleagues, friends, family – and even my doctor, who suggests I should do a Masters and travel to Thailand. And it’s a question I don’t think I will ever have a definite answer too.
Like most other students, and still to this day, are choosing their GCSE options as young as 12 years old. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do and I picked my options based on what my friends were doing, and what I would find easy. Teachers frantically attempted to prepare us for the big working world, meanwhile all I was focusing on at that age was not my future, but getting home in time to watch Prank Patrol and nudge my friends on MSN.
My careless attitude of picking my options was evident in my GCSE results 4 years later. I didn’t feel like I could pursue a career in acting, because I was terrible at Drama, and i certainly didn’t learn anything in French apart from, “je’ m’appelle Tyla, je voudrais pizza” – But in the end, they always say it’s good for your CV, right?
Leaving school, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I chose my sixth form options based on what I enjoyed and thought I could actually excel in. But the pressures of picking subjects just to occupy my years left in full time education, forever clouded my judgment. By the age of 15 I had a part time job, and my attitude towards the whole ‘plan your life out, get good grades to get a job” baffled me, as I had a pretty sturdy job for a 15-year-old whose employers weren’t actually fazed about the grades on my CV or whether I mastered Pythagoras theorem, but whether I was a good communicator and just a nice person.
Fast forward to final my year of university, and I’ve narrowed down my many lessons learnt to one subject I really enjoy and that I’m actually interested in. But does that mean I know what I want to do for the rest of my life? Not entirely. I like to think I’m not the only one who is quite indecisive about their future plans. Needless to say, I do have some idea of the different jobs I could see myself in and will aim high for. But I am aware that people change and circumstances change, and what I enjoy now may not necessarily be the same things I enjoy in 5 years time.
I feel like I am amongst many other University students who feel pressured with this question and as if it is expectant of us to graduate and go straight into a job at 21, married with kids by our 30’s, and then to stay in that industry for the rest of our lives. Some may argue that we have paid this amount to be here so really that means we aren’t allowed to do anything else.
I have learnt many lessons whilst at university, whether that’d been in relation to my degree, but I think more importantly what I will take from my experience is the general obstacles of life that I have had to stumble over along the way, the people I’ve met, and the problems I’ve faced. University is a great platform for individuals to learn about themselves and grow, but as the years go by the question hovers over and we start to panic slightly about what’s next on the agenda for us. I don’t think any of us are really set on our future plans and I think it’s safe to say we’re all just wingin’ it, with some of us being better at hiding it then others.
To be successful and have a dream career doesn’t have to be something that’s evident on your Instagram feed boasting #livingmybestlife
But I think it’s something that pays your bills, fills your fridge, and more importantly motivates you creatively, socially or intellectually.