Walking across the stage in front of hundreds of people, my second thought was that I did it, I was graduating from University again. My first thought? Don’t fall in front of hundreds of people, especially because it was being live-stremed onto YouTube. Could you even imagine?
That’s right. A couple of weeks ago I got to wear a cap and gown, and graduated from the University of Salford with Distinction in M.Sc. Marketing. And for those of you wondering, no, I didn’t fall. Although who gives graduates two sets of stairs to negotiate with is anyones guess.
As the UK was preparing for Storm Caroline, I was preparing for a day I’d been waiting the last 15 months for. After visiting my hairdresser for a cut and blow dry, I headed down to campus for the final time as a student.
Even if you’re new to my blog (hey!), you’ll probably guess from the title of this post, that this wasn’t my first rodeo. In another life, I graduated with a 2.1 in LLB (Hons) Law, and even completed my LPC with Commendation. I say another life because I feel like I was a completely different person back then. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored working in the legal profession and was fortunate to have some incredible experiences. But it wasn’t for me.
I feel like during that period of my life, I was trying to be someone, someone who I’m not. Now, I don’t say that ‘someone’ was a bad person, and in fact, I learnt a hell of a lot of life lessons and skills during that period, I just wasn’t being totally true to myself. It’s so hard to explain, and the reason why I changed my career is probably the topic of another blog post, if you want to read it (do you?). Essentially, I felt like I was living two lives, with one of those lives not fulfilling me as much as it should. It was a brave and scary move to walk away from a career I had built up, and start again, but I did it. I weighed the pros and cons, and in the end, decided that if I didn’t try, I’d always regret it.
When I do things, I don’t do it half-hearted. I jumped head-first, full-speed and enrolled on a postgraduate degree. I immersed myself in my new direction and grabbed every opportunity available to me. I interned, I went to conferences, and, if I’m honest, put in more work than I have ever done before. I think part of it was that I was kind of scared that I wouldn’t be good at my new career. I was moving from a profession I knew, to something brand new, and it was an intimidating move. Having risked everything to change, there was always going to be a tiny little whisper in my mind that questioned my choice. And there were challenging times that did make me doubt my ability, like juggling a full-time job, doing academic research and writing my final report. But I did it. Actually, I didn’t just do it; I flourished.
Although I had the usual school stress, I was actually passionate and, more importantly, enjoying, what I was doing. Instead of dreading going into work, I went in with a smile on my face. What was even better was that I was actually good at my job too! Anyone who spoke to me about content marketing, social media or my research report would be faced with an enthusiastic babble. I just couldn’t get enough.
Back to the beginning of this month, and I couldn’t believe I was stood on the green posing for photos. Although the wind made it impossible to get Instagram-worthy photos, I couldn’t help a smile to myself. It was happening; I’d done it. One of only two people in my cohort to graduate with Distinction, I proved to myself that, not only good I be successful, but also happy. The risk was worth it.
FYI I’m actually wearing the cap back-to-front in this picture because I just shoved it on my head as soon as the wind died down for a second. Oh well.
And, you know what’s even better?
Last week I accepted a job offer as a Marketing Assistant!
So here’s to taking risks, jumping in head-first and chasing dreams. 2018, let’s see what adventures you have in store!
Have you taken a massive risk? Let me know in the comments below and let’s inspire each other!