What are you looking for?
19 August 2013

the a to z of me :: u

u is not for university

right the way through primary school and into the first few years of high school, i was really, really clever. i was bookish; always reading and creating stories, and known to hold a weekly classroom session in my tree house with the neighborhood kids. i loved school, never tried to bunk off under the guise of a sore belly or head, and was always first to hand in homework and strive for the the glory of the a +++ or the extra smily or glittery sticker on my projects.

i remember i used to be a junior school tutor too - i got out of classes an hour a week to take a younger child through their reading list or help them with their homework or work with them on flash cards; basically give them the one-on-one that they were maybe missing out on in their own class. we all know how over worked teachers can be, so i guess this little tutoring service gave the teachers a break from the kids that always needed extra attention, and gave the kids something 'fun' to look forward to; hanging out with a big kid for an hour a a week. it was cute; our little kids would come and find us in the school yard and show us off a bit... it was a bit of fun really.

i think from a young age my parents thought i was destined for big things; my dad tells me i was either going to be a lawyer or play netball for australia. i honestly don't know where that came from, as i have never pretended to enjoy sports, and the only award i ever got in junior netball (that my mum forced me to join; coincidentally, she was the the president of the club too) was 'coaches choice'. it was the award for the worst player, to make them more confident. again, my mum was the coach too. the lawyer call was probably closer to fact back then. but even then, that could just be a dig at my insane arguing skills.
somewhere around age 16, things took a nose dive. my interest in school wanned. my interest in the world piqued, and it was all i could do to drag myself to school everyday purely for the socialising that came along with it. always the chatterbox and social butterfly, i would flit from one clique to the next, never sitting tight too long. there were defined groups at my high school, but i managed to keep at least one person from each on my radar just enough to be 'honourary' in each one. i was never short of 'friends', although i suppose in hindsight it was all very 'quantity over quality'.

my attention to actual workload dropped right off. i was phoning homework and assignments in, and - despite still passing, lost all interest in my chosen subjects. english was my favourite and best subject, and somehow i managed to pass with flying colours. creative writing was my forte, and it came ever so easily. i remember writing an assignment for my boyfriend who went to a different school, and he got a high distinction for it. i think it was my best mark that year, ha. my maths and history classes were a chore. business and legal studies, a bore. there was nothing i found challenging or rewarding at school. when it came time to apply for uni, i simply did not know where to start.

lack of career guidance was obvious. for my week of work experience, i was shipped off to a child care centre near my school after mentioning i wanted to be a teacher. i thought i'd be playing with babies and toddlers all day long. i couldn't have been more wrong. i was filing documents, doing data entry, and smiling and waving at the parents as they dropped off their kids. i was cleaning the dishes after lunch, and - worse still, cleaning up the baby vomit et all that the other carers felt would prepare me for life in a primary school. well, goodbye childhood dream of being a teacher. it was horrible. i still haven't recovered, and to this day still don't want kids of my own, and - we all know i didn't become a teacher.
unlike most of my friends, i worked after school and weekends in a local department store, and i was seeing the signs of more responsibility being handed to me during the school holidays. i enjoyed working. i loved chatting with customers, having a routine, being important - and most of all, i enjoyed making money. i was buying my own clothes, accessories, drinks on nights out... i was loving the independence that came with making money. i saved hard, and paid my way through america with my mum at 16. i saved harder, and paid for half of a car at 17 (my parents met me half way!). to me, money was my ticket to the world, and proved more important than anything school had offered me.

despite having applied to uni, and being unceremoniously rejected for the teaching course i no longer even wanted to attend, the measly entry score i could muster from my half-hearted applications left me with very little options. journalism and business studies. not really the stuff that dreams are made of, eh? so i did what i still sometimes regret doing, i chucked it all in for the full-time work force.

since leaving school at 18 i have had a number of jobs. i worked in a cafe/restaurant for the best part of three years straight out of school. at the same time i still worked on weekends and late nights at the department store. i was always busy, always at work, and young enough for none of that to even take its toll. i then moved into fashion retail, managing a local high street store. i loved and loathed it in equal measure. i felt proud, that i could manage a shop without a degree (how naive i was!), that i was making money while my friends sat exams, and that i could afford my many new cars, clothes and mobile phones. i wanted for nothing. the company i worked for paid for me to do a course in retail management, which then landed me a transfer (with the same company) to new zealand. the rest, as they say, is history...
here i am, sitting at my desk, blogging from a london-based music royalties firm (in my lunch break, obviously..), reflecting. i am a working girl, that's for sure. i do sometimes wonder what could have come of the old journalism degree (turns out running a blog is pretty good work experience anyway!), and wonder what i missed out on by not going to uni. were those dorm parties and student bars really the be all and end all, or did i get the same experience working, travelling and living abroad during those same years? will i regret not puting my brain to the test, regret not trying to make my parents proud, or regret just giving up and being so stubborn? i don't know. am i happy with the path i've chosen? absolutely.

Add your comment

  1. Really interesting post... It doesn't sound like you've missed out by not going to uni to be fair. I went, I'd say the experience of going away from home was really valuable, but the actual course hasn't really been that valuable (and it's expensive!) Xx

    1. i agree that i got a lot out of life experience, but.. i will always wonder!

  2. Hello! Enjoyed reading this post :) It's good seeing things from another perspective: I went to Uni & loved it but when I was struggling to find a "real job" after my Master's, I have sometimes wondered what those two 2 years of studying would have led me if I had done internships instead. Like you, I'm happy with where I am today - I think we can never know what might have been. Plus in your case, you could still go to Uni if you ever decided to!
    Jesse x

  3. Sounds like you are doing so well for yourself and are in a position people would dream of having I think those opportunities have happened bcos of the path you took! I went to uni and I don't think it has helped me at all, yes it's something to put on my cv I guess! Lol :-) this was a great read, and you obv love writing so you could always Persue whatever you wanted , degree or not! Xxx


  4. What a lovely honest account of your life so far :-).

    I think it's always best to do what makes you happy and you could, technically, always go back to studying if you desired.

    Sophie @ www.zensiesta.co.uk x

  5. You didn't miss out on anything by skipping uni. I sometimes really regret going, but you can't change things. You made the best choice for sure.


thank you for your comment, you lovely thing you.