You know one of those situations where you look back and think ‘Wow, I really had it together there. Now, not so much’? Yeah, I’m there. For the majority of this year, I took the just-gonna-go-home-and-figure-my-life-out-without-making-any-rash-decisions route to graduating university. Then three months until the end of uni, I started freaking out completely. I should have a graduate job lined up already. I should have applied for further training. I’m 21, I should know what career I want (and other such nonsensical statements).
So I got on to applying in an attempt to find what I really wanted to do. Even though it was just staring me in the face the whole time, judging me and asking me to have the balls to pick it and run with it. What I really love and what I have always had a passion for is words. From making up fully-illustrated stories (I know, it was a sheltered childhood), to following English and Media through school and college. Whilst other little girls played with dollies and prams, all I ever wanted was paper and pens. By the time I got to university, I’d caved into those people who said a good writer needed a formal education in the language, the crazy ways we use it and what it does to people. That seemed legit, so I got on with learning. I took as many varied classes as possible to learn as much as I could about a variety of literature, something which still fascinates me. We live in an age where one ‘tweet’ can make news headlines the world over and Shakespeare’s Sonnets gets three out of five stars on Amazon. Just a little reminder that what we think we know about the written word can still surprise us. Three stars? Come on! He deserves a three and half, just for effort.
You’re just sailing along, loving life, then when you least expect it, life just slaps you in the face and says ‘That thing you said you wanted? You don’t want that. You want this. P.s. These are your twenties, so get used to them expecting you to know what you don’t actually know!’ Woo! Thanks for that memo. So, I got to thinking. No, I got to doing. I decided to just run with the dream. I’ve done it before, it worked. I’ve clearly found the method.
Three years ago, I chose to study English Language and Literature at one of the most prestigious universities in the country. I didn’t have the required grades, but I applied anyway. Against all odds, they gave me an offer (which, with my continued determination, I knew was achievable). But, alas, things don’t always go how we expect. I didn’t get the grade I wanted for one of my courses. I knew right then that the dream was over. That I was silly to punch above my weight. I logged on to the application tracking service to confirm my suspicions and saw ‘Congratulations! Your place has been confirmed’. Then I literally rubbed my eyes and looked again, at which point I asked my Mum to bring her glasses and come to the computer. She saw it too. Either we were both hallucinating, or someone had decided they’d give me a shot. At this point I’d like to think it was because, at 17 years old, I thought that quoting Winston Churchill was a sure fire way of illustrating my intentions. Clearly, it was. I like to think they gave me a chance to prove myself, but my Dad maintains that by applying in the first place and showing I knew I could do it, I created that chance for myself.
So, how about that? How about creating your own chances? What if luck is just something we use to mask our fear of failure? After all, the higher you claim, the further you can fall. But, the views! Sometimes it’s easy to forget the necessity of believing in your own abilities. After three years of university, I have come to realise that the ability to believe in yourself is what makes or breaks your chances at success. Even when the odds are stacked against you, it’s possible to achieve what you want to achieve.
You can read more from Adele Swingewood on her blog.
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