There are some ‘what if’ moments in life that I seem unable to shrug off more than others. What if I went to uni? This question lurks in the back of my mind more often than not. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those questions that I won’t ever have closure for. I don’t know the answers, the outcome, how it would have changed my life, if at all.
Ten years ago a decision not to take that big ol’ plunge into uni life was frowned upon. Unlike now where apprenticeships, gap years, volunteering and travelling are all thrown on the table with big open arms. For me to say ‘nope, I’m not going’ lead to frowned faces and a big failure label slapped against my name by my teachers. Truth be told, I hated school. I’m not academic in any way shape or form. Confined to a desk filled me with dread and anxiety. Looking back, I think there was more to the picture. I just couldn’t concentrate in class. I was forever skipping school, bunking off lessons, hiding in the toilets, taking a wander down to the shop or just pulling sickies at home. It’s not that I wasn’t bright or unintelligent or even uninterested or unwilling to learn, I just couldn’t breathe, I was stuck in a room closed in by four walls. The only qualification I really came away from school with flying colours in was Drama (you guessed it). I have always been creative. Drama was an outlet for me to speak, move, express, be crazy and be real. Give me a maths equation and I fall to pieces, give me a script to belt out and you’ll see something magical (if i do say so myself). My confidence sky rocketed from my days spent in Drama class and my favourite of all, lessons in musical theatre. I have such fond memories of playing the star part of Tallulah, all singing and dancing blonde bombshell in American musical Bugsy Malone. I locked myself in the school toilets for hours putting my war paint on, layers of red lipstick, I donned a gorgeous green prom style dress which swished around my ankles every time I took a step. On stage I came alive, I sang, flirted with my cast mates, flirted with the audience, a glimmer in my eye that stayed right until the last line. That to me was what school was about, what was worth taking that god awful, stinky, crowded bus journey in for. The minute the words uni came into conversation, I lost that spark.
So I jacked it all in for the bright lights of working life. McDonald’s, cleaning companies, call centers and even a sex shop, my early CV is a varied one at best. Jumping from job to job until I figured out exactly what career path I wanted to take. All the while building up something that I think, or have been told you tend to skip and miss out on at uni, that being people skills. Out in the ‘real world’ and in front of real people, working long hours, sometimes doing utterly shit jobs but building character and gaining confidence. To me, it was a massive learning curve. An early opener to the big wide world. Fast forward to now and on paper there’s no real education, there’s no A-Levels, there’s no degree but I have a growing, solid career in marketing, within the beauty industry that’s taking me places. Hired based on my blog, which really sold me to my boss, a CV in itself and something to show exactly what I can do, what I can produce and when I put my mind to it, what I can bring to life. Working in social media and more recently moving into a brand manager role has pushed me to a working level I never thought I could reach, especially without that dreaded word; qualifications. Whichever job I have been in, whether that have been a shit one, an average one or somewhat significant, I have always put my all into it. Having learnt so much on many different jobs, learning from others and teaching myself, I have got somewhere pretty impressive without a piece of paper defining me for reason to be hired.
Of course, this is just my story. I appreciate there are plenty of jobs that require a degree and I’m not naive in completely understanding why. When I speak to friends that have gone to uni and earn’t their stripes, I can so see the hard work, hours and effort they have put into securing a future for themselves. Just as I, but down a different path. It really is a case of each to their own. For me, it’s more the whole bubble of that uni experience I think I have missed out on. Friendships, memories, relationships, flings, fucks, parties, pizza, the nights out, the nights in, the stress, the tears, the laughter, the unity of this group of people, a household, a family, all in the same boat. A social world that carries you and shapes you. Defines you, molds you and develops your personality. This is the part that I always and will always wonder if I so desperately missed out on. The friends that you make for life who you will always have the ‘do you remember when such as such did this, or so and so said this’ moments with.
I think it’s fair to end this blog by saying their are always options and there is always a choice, right or wrong, your decision is to make for YOU and not for anybody else.
It's Emma over email but Ems face-to-face. By title, I'm a writer, photographer, creative, freelance marketer and more importantly rosé drinker. I'm also a daughter, sister, auntie, girlfriend and friend. I overshare and I swear. I have been dedicating my time to this space for four years. Lifestyle topics are my specialty, with a dose of daily fashion thrown in for good measure.