When I was 16, my school did short tasters for the new subjects available for study at A-Level. I attended the psychology session and was hooked from that moment on. Previously, I had thought I might study biology at university, but from that one hour sessionI knew that I wanted to be a psychologist. For two years at school I studied, fascinated at all the huge variety of topics. I started to look at universities; I even went to a weekend of psychology lectures at Nottingham University, aimed for A-Level students to get a taste of university life. My parents and I sat through opens days which promised high employability for their psychology graduates.
Skip on three years and I had finished my degree in Psychology. I will admit, I didn’t do that great. For all my interest in the subject, essays and exams were very much an afterthought for me. During my third year, everyone had narrowed their interests relating to their future aspirations and I picked the topics I found most interesting. It was here that I became stuck. I had absolutely no idea what to do next. My older brother had done a masters, as had a few of my home friends. Not wanting to be left behind, I signed up for a masters in Forensic Psychology. I studied part-time so that I could work, and I also did some relevant volunteering. This is when I struggled the most. For all my interest in the subject, I could sit and take notes in lectures for hours, the stress of applying that knowledge to essays and exams left me in a constant state of anxiety. It was some relief that I dropped the dissertation module and concentrated on passing the others. I quit my retail job and moved back home to start looking for my career.
And nothing happened.
The psychology job that I was promised at that open day never materialised and neither did any of the related jobs mentioned. I knew that I was employable: great job history and references, a degree and postgrad, volunteering and relevant experience. I am not stupid; I know to be a psychologist I would need even more training. Yet I thought that I could get something related to psychology. But still nothing happened. 10 months after moving back home I finally got a job. It was entry level support work and I was over qualified but I stuck it out for 18 months. I thought it would be a great stepping stone and that I could build up some hands-on experience before looking for something else. When I handed in my notice, I had no other job to go to but I didn’t think it would matter; I was highly employable. 6 months later and I am still looking. In the meantime I have been doing some temp work but mostly I have been writing.
While I love writing, I have always thought that I was a writing fraud. There were always people better than me. I hadn’t wanted to be a writer since I was small. And I didn’t spend every spare moment scribbling way. But I have always made up stories. And I have always written, in some form or another. And maybe that is enough. Maybe I should have studied English at uni, or journalism. Regardless, I didn’t and here I am. And I am certainly going to make the most of it now.
It’s never too late.