Just wow. It’s kind of daunting to speak in a public sphere like this.
For anybody who knows me in real life, they’re probably wondering “Why a blog, Cam?” My answer to you right now, is it’s my creative outlet. And what sparked this, was my careers session 3 weeks ago at university.
It’s second year. This is the year of getting serious, down to business etc. It’s the year where your strengths and weaknesses truly shine through, and you need to make some serious calls – decisions about your career. My thoughts about my future career were always in limbo, after results day.
I remember the feeling; it was August 2015. After a year, retaking my Chemistry and Biology A Levels at a private Sixth Form, with one-to-one tuition, and 1000% support from teachers, the results sheet flew out the envelope rapidly, as I stared at a B and a D. I had mixed feelings. I didn’t cry. I didn’t feel sad.
I felt relieved somehow. And I didn’t know why.
It was a mad rush from there; I was warped with echoes of ‘clearing’, ‘phone’ and ‘home’. So that’s what I did. I looked at my best grades; Biology and English Language and Literature. I knew at this point, I had to stay with my strengths, that’s all I had. Both my firm and insurance choices had refused to consider me, even upon calling them. I knew I had to look somewhere else, it didn’t matter where it was in the Russell Group league table.
The truth is the Russell Group doesn’t matter when your future education and degree hangs in the balance.
I wanted somewhere far from London; I needed to be somewhere new. I needed a distance from home. I craved that independence – I wouldn’t have been ready in Year 13. But I was ready then. That’s when I found Keele. They had Duals Honours English and Human Biology available – I didn’t think about what I’d get out of that career, other than I would be working to my strengths and it caters to me. So I called them and took the place.
Throughout first year, I was never certain of what I wanted to do. That’s what happens when the unexpected just… happens. And of course, the degree title was certainly baffling to people; it was either “What can you do with that?” or “There’s so much you can do with that!” It just confused me either more. And that was my biggest problem. I couldn’t consider any jobs with a degree like mine. The options were too niche; Science Writing, Science policy and potentially, if I was motivated enough… Science Communication and Teaching. And that at all didn’t win me over. I wouldn’t mind communicating and writing material; I just didn’t have the energy to do it for science.
The most revealing moment for me was the beginning of my Creative writing module this semester; the module outline is simple – write your own poems or prose, and develop your writing and think critically. I feel like I’m back on my creative streak again. I always used to write stories when I was younger – overarching concepts that never came to fruition. But that didn’t matter – my mind was always buzzing with ideas.
This is when I knew I had to go to careers. And I remember the feeling when my adviser said, my biggest problem was not my degree itself, but that I was unable to see the English and Biology divisions standing separately as degrees, in their own right. That was the moment I admitted to myself, in that first drop-in session that, I didn’t want to be a scientist. I didn’t want to go into Research. I wanted to do something creative. I wanted a career that would allow me to write, to travel, to be flexible.
It feels like I took a massive 360°. And it’s daunting, but I feel more than motivated to get out there and sell myself to employers. Contribute something bigger and better to marketing companies, copy writing jobs, advertising, media. Luckily, I discovered this at the right time. Even if you feel like it’s too late, it’s never too late.
You’ve got a whole life to live. The pressure for a student to be at university by 18 and graduating by 21 is too much; so much you’re learning and discovering at that age; how can you make such large life decisions? All you should and can do is pace yourself. This is cliché but listen to your gut. Listen to the little voice in the back of your head – it’s probably saying something worth listening to. Don’t ignore it. The worst thing you can do is solely live up to people’s expectations of you. They are not you. You do not represent them. You represent you. So represent you at your best, because you know yourself best.
And this is why this blog is here. It’s a starting point. Sure, I want employers to see this, but I want them, as well as other audiences, to notice my creativity. Notice how I write, and how my brain digests what’s in this looming bubble of life.
I hope you all notice me too.