In April last year I was with my friend in Amsterdam and we were sat in a bar discussing our lives. I told him I wanted – no, needed – a career. And soon. I’d spent three years in university studying English Literature and Creative Writing and I’d recently graduated with a Masters in Writing, but I wasn’t achieving anything. I looked around and saw my fellow student-writers all achieving in some way or other. And then there was me, just waking up from dreamland and opening my eyes to the realisation that I wasn’t making much money and my life wasn’t going anywhere.
‘I’m going to be a teacher,’ I said.
It was a good idea. I spent my time researching PGCE courses and finding out what it’s like to be a teacher. By Autumn 2013 I was driving to Edge Hill University to re-do my maths GCSE so I could get onto the course. It felt like such a step forward that I had a smile on my face, even during the terrifying first-time experience I had driving on the motorway. The PCET was another option. That was college-level teaching. I achieved my grade for maths, got my references, applied and got an interview in April. It was an intense four-hour interview. So intense that my head was aching on the entire trip home. I was a nervous wreck. Part of the interview was a presentation in front of two interviewers. Two! How could I stand in front of a class if I’d get nervous in front of two people? Suffice it to say I did not get on the course.
I tried again, though. In the Autumn of this year I decided primary school would be a more satisfying and rewarding job, and I thought having an 8 year old niece and 2 year old nephew that I’d be good with kids. I even got a placement at a school. I was so happy. With my DBS (CRB) check completed, I strolled into the school ready for whatever I was going to do. I hated it. Well, not hated exactly. I just felt awkward and didn’t know what I was doing. The teachers there were odd, the sort who do their own job and quickly wave their hand to be rid of you. (Let alone not being allowed to use the staff room). The kids were fun. They were interesting and interested. But each time I went I was more than happy to be kept busy cutting out and gluing things into the kids’ books. I realised I hadn’t the confidence to be apart of the class. I was shrinking away.
At last I decided it wasn’t for me. But it the constant non-thoughts of yes and no. The lack of decision-making in my own head. It made it difficult to decide. It gave me a headache. The last time I was there I was cutting out things and gluing them to the kids’ books when I said to myself, ‘What am I doing here?’ I didn’t belong. I’d opted out of my life-choice.
Choosing not to do something is just as important as choosing to do something. Writing was my first love. My girlfriend told me if I’m not happy then I shouldn’t waste my time trying to pursue it. I thought about her a lot as I walked home from the school. I thought about if she and I weren’t together. I’d still be in this mess of not having the career I want, but worse, I wouldn’t have her. There are things in life you don’t get – or can’t get – but surely there are things you have which makes life okay.
Digital Marketing is my next step. Copywriting again and editing. Writing. And my novel.