When I was 16 I had it all planned out. I would do my A-Levels, pop over to Uni for a few years and then bam, I would be a teacher. Schools would be fighting to take me on. It all seemed so bloody simple. All because I had a piece of paper in my hand that deemed I was clever. That’s right, I had taken my GCSEs. I had a piece of paper that would shape my future. I worked my absolute butt off for them and this was my reward. Right?
I headed in to my A-Levels and wow, was it a change from GCSE. I found them a struggle but I just wouldn’t let on. I mean, how could I? In my family I was nicknamed ‘the clever one’. The one who had to do well? I couldn’t let them know this was harder than I first expected, could I? I remember sitting there a week after my 17th Birthday and was busily working away on a piece of psychology homework and it did not make sense. Not one word of it. No matter how hard I tried with it I simply could not make head nor tail of anything that was on the paper before me, and it was starting to royally pee me off.
I wasn’t used to this. Everything had always come quite easily for me and I had never sensed this feeling of ‘I can’t do it’. It was horrible in all honesty, however it was the start of me realising that I was going to have to put in some real effort to get to the end point I wanted.
Year 12 was a hard year. I suffered the sudden loss of a young relative during exam season and it knocked me for six. But looking back that also made me want to work harder. I struggled through and managed to get good grades. I could see the effort I was putting in was working off and before I knew I was heading off to Uni. Okay so it wasn’t the Uni I originally wanted or even liked. But I was determined to make this work. Finally, this is where it would all go my way … right?
Wrong. I found Uni hard too. In all honesty I didn’t like the course and if I had my go again I would have taken an education or teaching course and not just English and Drama. It made me fall out of love with reading, something I had enjoyed since I was a young child and to be honest, something I am only just getting back into now. Don’t get me wrong, I made some good friends and enjoyed my time at Uni but I was starting to realise that my expectations were far greater than reality.
Just before the start of my third year I found out I was pregnant. Not the massive shock many believed it was. Everyone assumed that this was some silly accident, however it wasn’t. But that’s a story for another post covering my PCOS. We were happy but scared of what lay ahead, and I realised quickly this would put my plans for teaching out of the window for a few years. With Evie due half way through the school year I knew I would have to take a year out and come back, much to my disappointment.
As I expected, studying with a baby was hard. Really hard. Throw in to the mix that I was also working at the same time you can begin to imagine the levels of tired and exhausted I was beginning to feel. I genuinely wanted to quit so many times I lost count but I kept pushing through, refusing to give in to those who said I couldn’t do it.
I got my 2:1 and let out the biggest sigh of relief going. I showed those who thought I would jack it all in and be a ‘Jeremy Kyle’ mom. Now came the harder part. I knew I couldn’t take going back to education and training to be a teacher straight away so decided I would try and find a graduate way in. I couldn’t find much to start with and decided a full time job for a year would help me out.
I somehow fell into being an estate agent. I think I knew instantly that it was not for me but dammit I’m too bloody stubborn to admit it. I didn’t want to end up back in retail or hospitality, and so I was determined to make this work, make this a success. I must say, I really did try. I loved helping people find their homes and I really liked having a mooch at how people decorated and laid out their houses. However I hated sales. I hated the bitchiness, the way they would stab you in the back and smile at you to your face, I’m not a natural born liar and I like to make friends, and so after 6 months I knew it was time to move on. I felt ashamed that I had failed in this path but glad I had given it a go.
I thought I would try and get back into teaching, and was lucky enough to be given a chance. However, without going in to too much detail (It’s still very upsetting) this failed and failed hard. Due to issues that I was not in control of I found myself out of work. And spiralling into the worst depression I had faced in my life. To say I felt like a failure was a complete understatement. I found everything so hard and would spend hour after hour crying into the dark of the night. I simply just did not want to be here anymore.
Some may think that sounds pathetic. I had done everything in my power, worked my backside off into the early hours of the morning completing assignments with a newborn and it felt pointless and worthless. Like my achievements had been made redundant by it all. It took a very long time, some fantastic friends and family and a number of doctor’s visits to get me out of that dark pathway, and get me trying again.
I knew I needed to work. Not just for money but because I needed it for me. I hated not being in work and not using my mind, but I also knew I needed to take things slowly. I decided to go into an admin role to ease myself back. I knew it would never be a forever role but it was what I needed there and then. After a few months I felt ready to go back into a job within education. I was scared but excited at the prospect.
I was lucky that within my first week of applying for roles I was offered a job where I am working currently. A small independent alternative provision for those who could not handle mainstream schooling. A bit like me. I jumped into my role with everything I had and gave it my all. I still do. I may moan some days and it will never make me a millionaire, but I am finally in a place where I feel I am mainly being utilised and appreciated.
It was hard, very hard to get to this point. Some days I would like to just give it all in and stay at home with Evie. Some days I feel like I just cannot be bothered and should get myself a part time job in retail again. But I know deep down I wouldn’t be happy. It’s not how I thought I would be starting my career. But its not all bad.
Until next time…