I know this is a huge topic at the moment and your Facebook feeds are probably full of pleased parents and soon-to-be graduates boasting about their degrees and whilst I am incredibly proud of the people in my life who have achieved what they set out to do, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t everything.
When I was 17 I made the decision to leave formal education. Two weeks before I was due to sit three A-Levels, I realised that I did not have the support I needed within the academic year in order to pass my exams and get the grades I needed to get myself to university. I had no plan, no idea what I was doing and I was told by the staff at the sixth form college I attended that I would amount to nothing if I did not complete my exams and go to my chosen University (Staffordshire to do Journalism if anyone was wondering).
Once I signed the papers to leave, I was terrified.
Months passed and I still had no clue what I wanted to do; I was on the dole being told I needed to apply for anything and everything, and with no experience I wasn’t getting interviews for shop or bar work, so anything else was out of the question. This was, however, until I stumbled across a social media apprenticeship in my tiny hometown. Working on social media all day every day? It sounded like my idea of a decent career. Whilst I didn’t get that job, it planted a seed that wasn’t going anywhere.
After 3 recruitment days, I was hired at an SEO company. The job was menial and I was essentially a data hunter until my last month with the company when I was allowed to work on social media for some amazing clients, but this led to a plethora of opportunities and I have since worked with clients ranging from insurance and legal to travel and food. Working with some majorly established brands aged 20 was a shock to me, when just three years earlier I had no idea what I was going to do with my life.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing, and I have had my fair share of bumps in the road, but when I set out to try every kind of job within the digital marketing sector, I knew it wasn’t all going to be for me. Trying to be an account manager lasted a month, and I hated the immense pressure that came with it, and whilst I thought I loved working in social media, I quickly realised that paid social was not for me.
I am now 22. I left college with a huge fall from grace 5 years ago, and I am now living my dream working in the music industry. I work on a small campaign team, working with some of the worlds’ most successful influencers as well as my peers in the community, and I am incredibly happy and humbled to have spent the last year totally besotted by what I am doing day to day.
Whatever you take away from this post, I want you to realise that university is not everything. They are phenomenal institutions for starting various careers, but in a lot of cases, you cannot teach passion or determination which are the two main factors in success.
And remember: if it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.