It will soon be one year since I made the decision to leave my social work course. It wasn’t an easy decision – in fact it was one of hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I’d been thinking about it but I’d been putting it off because I loved my social work course. I wanted to help people.
If you haven’t been reading my blog for long then you won’t know the exact reason why. You may be thinking why leave a course if you love it? Well, my mental health problems were getting in the way. I lost sleep over having to go and shadow a social worker on a placement. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do it – so with a heavy-heart and a lot of discussion with family I decided to leave the course for good – and I’ll never go back to it.
I to-ed and fro-ed with what course to do. I was advised against sociology even though I was good at the subject. So I decided to have a look at media courses because that was the area I applied for when I first wanted to go to university back in 2011/2012. Now I just had to pick: Journalism? Which type? General or specialist? PR? Or a more theoretical course like Mass Communications or Media and Cultural Studies?
One year on where am I?
Well…I’m on a journalism course and it has changed my life. I’d go as far as to say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made! I’m so much happier, I can’t explain it. I can’t put it into words – and I should be able to as I’m training to be a journalist! All I can say is it’s an overwhelming feeling getting to do what I love everyday.
From a young age I’ve enjoyed writing. I remember creating a whole book on the Tall Ships Race that came to a town near me back in 2005. I was only 11 but I knew I wanted to write in whatever I did. Writing had to be a part of my life.
Fast-forward a year to now and I’m also enjoying a lot of other things. Writing is still involved but I love being at events. I love being there and reporting on the radio. I haven’t tried it on camera yet, but I don’t think I’m a TV person! There’s certainly a buzz – and it’s a buzz that certainly won’t go away in a hurry. I get so much adrenaline and that’s how I know I’m in the right career.
As much as the early mornings and late nights are hard at first, it doesn’t bother me either. Some mornings I would dread back when I was doing my social work course because I knew we’d be talking about issues that triggered my mental health problems. In my journalism degree, I still do come across issues that may trigger me but I can deal with them better now. I still hear about them but in a different way. I’m not the one dealing with the issues first-hand, I’m dealing with the story behind it.
What else has changed for me in the past year?
I’ve had so many amazing opportunities from being on BBC Breakfast, on the radio and being in the Daily Mirror to becoming a Huffington Post blogger and working with some amazing charities in my media work. Charlene White, who I met at a media day I attended with the Carers Trust, kept the idea of changing course in my mind and I’m glad she did.
I’ve also developed my confidence too. A year ago I was still shy and my anxiety definitely got in the way of things. Now, I feel my confidence is a little better especially when talking to people. I’ve interviewed a lot of “big” people – from Alastair Stewart to Natalie Bennett. I even got the guts to go and get an interview with Eamonn Holmes during difficult circumstances. I struggled with one-to-one situations but now I can do it and can talk to people with others around me too.
There’s been so many changes that I couldn’t possibly list them all.
I’m in a better place and that’s all that matters.
I’m settled. I’m comfortable. I’m happy.
If you like I’ll do an advice post on what to do if you are doubting your university course then please let me know in the comments section or on my social media accounts.