I always knew what I wanted to be when I was older. I had the mad dreams such as being a dancer and the normal dreams that were more along the line of a teacher or a physicist (because I thought that that was a job title!) Then I went to university and it was chemical engineering; that is what I was going to do when I was a ‘proper’ adult. It is now potentially a year until I graduate and I have no idea what I want to do anymore!
Being one of those people that had their life planned out in such a normal way was very simple. The plan was A Levels, University, Graduate Job and I hadn’t thought any further than that! I had always assumed that said job would be in an office environment and would probably involve talking about something number based, be that money or the dreaded engineering calculations! Now, I’m not so sure. It just all seems a bit normal for me!
Nobody that knows me well would call me normal, well I hope they don’t because I don’t want to be! I’m the girl that hated wearing dresses and heels. The girl that decided the bassoon was a far better choice of instrument than the flute or violin. And finally, I’m that girl that took physics and further maths in sixth form. None of these things are rare but equally none of them are what you come across all day every day. Things have moved on a bit since then because now I’m that girl that didn’t hide her mental health problem away, I’m the girl that put it all over social media and on the internet for the world to see.
Having to seriously consider whether the path you had chosen to take in life is not only the right one but also whether it is possible anymore is something that the majority of people don’t want to do. I was definitely one of those people. However, now, I’m glad that I’m having to consider my future in a whole different way because I couldn’t have ever imagined the number of ways that people earn a living and some of them look a lot more fun than what I’d had planned!
I’m not really ashamed to admit that I’ve always been driven by money; to be honest I think the majority of people studying chemical engineering are drawn in by the rather lovely average starting salary. There have been many articles saying that once you have enough money to provide yourself with food and shelter, you’ll be happy and that no extra money on top of that will make you any happier. My initial reaction…that’s wrong. Thinking about it properly though, why would you go and do a job you hate for 48 weeks a year so that you have enough money to go on a flashy holiday for 4 weeks a year when you could spend 52 weeks a year loving what you do?! Obviously there isn’t a job that comes without its boring parts, that is the balance of life, however there are jobs that are far more satisfying than others.
I’ve spent the last 12 months hating my course at university. Whether this is due to the sheer volume of work, the fact that my brain had to work harder than ever before or merely because I’ve being living with Anxiety is probably a question that will never be answered. However, it has taught me one important lesson and that is that I won’t spend another year doing something that I hate. It’s just not worth it! Your mental health with inevitably start to suffer and in my opinion that is a price that is far too high to pay.
As the modules within a course change every year I’m lucky that no 6 months is ever the same for me at university so I’m going to finish my degree. After that, who knows what will happen but I know that I won’t be finding a job in chemical engineering if next year is half as bad as this year. Besides, using your degree to find a job seems a bit too normal for me and why would I want to be normal when I don’t have to be?