I did not want to go to university. At all. To be honest, I applied and I was kind of like, whatever. I wanted to do an apprenticeship. The initial plan was: do an apprenticeship in something finance-related, then work my way up to being in investment banking. Unfortunately, back then, I was thinking of the money.
I do not advise that train of though at all. If you’re reading this and you’re approaching a big decision like this. Honestly, believe people when they say, do what you love. It’s never too late to change – trust me, I’ll get onto this later on…
For my A Levels, i did: business studies, philosophy and ethics and psychology. I also did an AS in biology.
A few days after submitting my choices I had received all my offers – great. (Bar one, which felt like it was taking too long, which unfortunately, I withdrew from before hearing back).
So, great, I thought.
Little did I know then, this actually wasn’t a good thing, because not too long after, my offers became unconditional offers.
**For those of you who haven’t applied to university before, this means, i was guaranteed a place whether I got the grades or not.**
Sadly, due to this, my ego inflated and I did slack A LOT. I was a bit disappointed when I opened my results. I knew I could’ve done better. For one of my exams, I remember properly cramming in my notes the night before and from like 7am in the morning before my exam. WHAT WAS I THINKING. That was also my favourite subject (philosophy and ethics)! Which unfortunately, I ended up doing least well in, compared to the others.
Now, to explain why receiving unconditional offers and not doing as well as I expected, was considered a hurdle.
I moved into halls and was excited to start taking my course in accounting and finance. “Can’t be that hard, I’ll push through it, easy!”. I thought to myself. Boy, was I wrong!
Quick Summary 1: got an unconditional offer to the uni of my choice, passed my A-Levels, started university, began doing accounting and finance – uh-oh…
Yeah… big UH-OH.
I remember being sat in a seminar room, with all these people who actually wanted to be there? Meanwhile, all I could do was think, “when can I leave?!”. I attended this class for 3 DAYS. That is 1 week of my timetable and in that time, I already knew it was NOT for me.
During one seminar, an introductory one, we took it in turns, going around the room to say “WHY” we want to be on this course. The common theme was “I like numbers”… I was sat there frozen, like, what the fuck – what will I say. I don’t remember if it ever came round to me, or what I said if I did. But I can still feel the intense rush of emotions, urging me to get out of there as soon as I could. All that I could think about in response to the question was: “I don’t. I care about people, how they think and behave. I don’t care about numbers”.
I think I managed day one, but day two and three – I went back to my room and cried so much. What was I going to do now?! Drop-out? Then do what? I didn’t plan for it to go this way. All I really wanted to do was learn more about human behaviour. THAT is what I am interested in. Not numbers, or how to do other people’s taxes/accounts.
I was super fortunate to have an earth angel in my life then, and still now – who calmed me down and made me think rationally about what my options were. We figured, there was no philosophy option at my university. I didn’t want to move or lose a year. So, we considered the next option: psychology. Great, all great – I knew this overlapped with philosophy. Also, some would say, it’s a more beneficial degree in terms of careers pathways afterwards.
All well and good. We got a plan going. What I needed to do: go speak to my course director about all of this – i did and, yes, I cried, I was seriously so certain it wasn’t for me and that psychology was what I wanted. She saw that and did not hesitate at all in signing my ‘changing course’ form. I then had to find out who the course director for psychology was, and go and speak to her. This was literally a life or death situation for me, as I know how over-subscribed courses like psychology get.
Quick Summary 2: within a week, figure out accounting and finance is not my forte. Escape! Find psychology is available and begin to do the paperwork…
Now, I spoke to the course director for psychology, who informed me about the entry requirements to get onto the course. I was one grade off it. My heart was literally sinking and sinking. I had to send my result transcripts over to her to be reviewed with the admissions tutor. This was getting serious.
I already knew I didn’t meet the general entry requirements. So, I didn’t stop there. I literally remember explaining to her how much I wanted to do psychology.
I then received another email, asking for my GCSE grades. Who would have thought they mattered, hey? I was pleasantly surprised they asked for this though, as I knew they were looking for strong mathematics grades, to support my ability to do statistics…
I did resit English Language and Maths as I got a B previously, and wanted to get an A in both – which I did, but I couldn’t find the resit results papers to show for this. So had to settle with my original grades. I remember being so desperate for this, that I emailed back saying that I’d be going home at the weekend and that I’d dig them up then.
To my delight, I received a long email back. Welcoming me to psychology and that everything I had sent already, had satisfied the requirements.
Whaaaat! This was by far the most stressful start to university! I didn’t think I would be experiencing that.
Quick Summary 3: I did it. I got onto the Psychology course. I was over the moon.
I guess this is what happens when you don’t follow your heart at first. You end up in a bit of a muddle, but as long as you find it again, and fight for it, you really can get wherever you want to be.
First year was tougher than I imagined, but I finished the year with a high 2:1. I was actually happy with this result, because I knew I could use all my feedback to improve for the next year!
*surprise: I did. I ended my second year with a first class – let’s bring this energy into my final year*
To close, I wrote about this because I think it’s important people don’t make the same mistakes I did.
1. Work hard in the beginning, no matter what opportunities you’ve already got in the bag. Don’t ever become a slacker. You may need to re-jig your life around in the future and your integrity will stand strong if you are consistently a hard worker.
2. Don’t follow the money, you won’t be happy and to be honest, you may not even manage to pull it off. (If you do, congrats to you).
3. It’s never to late to change and make a life-changing decision. I cannot even imagine myself if I were to have gone through with accounting and finance. Literally, nothing at all. It just wasn’t me. I care too much about the meaning of things and I’m far too curious to just settle for liking numbers.
I guess, I’m slightly curious about all those people who can? I guess we need them in the world, so I’m glad they can do their job and enjoy it…
I didn’t intend for this to be super long, but man, what a journey! If you got to the end, congrats, you’re a trooper!