Hello everyone. I am sorry that I have not been consistent on my blog and Instagram. My depression has had some very bad dips and I often isolate myself and procrastinate. The good news is that after those dark periods, I have these spikes of motivation! What I find what matters the most is not the bad periods themselves, it is how you pick yourself up! To be honest, what I am going to discuss in this blog post is partially due to the reason that I have had severe depressive episodes.
Most people believe that they start a new chapter when the new year starts. Not for me, I felt like I have been stuck on the same damn chapter for over three years and have finally found a new direction and purpose. I am writing this because as cliche as it sounds, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. If something does not go your way or runs smoothly, you’ll later find out that it happened for a REASON. Because there is much better down the road. Whether it is a job, a relationship or even career path that went pear shaped and left you devastated, it happened for a reason. You may not know now or will know anytime soon, but when it becomes clear it is THE best feeling and sign of personal growth. Embrace redirection and change. Your future self will be ever so thankful!
If I discuss my whole experience in education, it will be immensely detailed. So I am going to only briefly cover some of the academic side in this. The purpose of this blog post is to share my experience with you and to show the importance of trusting your gut instinct! I cannot stress how important this is and how it can be your best guide in life! As for this blog post, I did not decide to write this to discourage people who are on the Psychology career path. But to just give my personal reasons for making a change. I hope this helps. So, here goes…
The Previous Chapter: My Initial Goals & Start of My Psychology Career Path
I was depressed and under a psychologist at 17 years old. Beauty therapy, that was why I was depressed. I snapped after one of the teachers confirmed to us that after passing the course we would be working 12 hour shifts on minimum wage. What is the point? I did my research and found that this was a dead end path full of women who hate their jobs and could not make ends meet. UNLESS, you work for yourself. But I didn’t enjoy it. Tired out me just needed a new direction and I went back to my psychologist. I had no qualifications at the time so I never thought I could ever do anything “academic” until my psychologist told me otherwise. She was one of the best psychologists that genuinely did help me. I wanted to do the same and help people.
But how can I do this with no qualifications? So I saw a careers adviser. He advised me to study a science topic at college at GCSE level and progress up to A-level/level 3 to get into university to study Psychology. Long story short, I did it. And trust me, it was NOT easy. I started university with victory and a positive mindset. My goal was to smash this degree, graduate and be a clinical psychologist. But it is not that straight forward. To qualify as a clinical psychologist you need: 2:1 degree or above accredited by the BPS, a masters degree, 2 years work experience and completion of a three year doctorate in clinical psychology. At the time I was eager enough to decide to persevere through those stages.
The Previous Chapter: Gut Feelings & Suspicions
Initially, I loved this new experience and felt so positive. Until I noticed the behaviour of other students and how cold and competitive the environment is, and not in a good way! In one of my first seminars our teacher did not turn up, ten minutes went by and then 45 minutes passed…We wondered what the hell happened to this teacher. Then, she ran in flustered and said callously, “Some idiot has just thrown himself in front of a train so it held the tube services back. How selfish!”. Then the entire class went into a uproar and started insulting this man who ended his life minutes ago, a man who was clearly suffering. This is what made my stomach churn because this was a psychology class part of a psychology degree. People do this course predominantly to aim for jobs which involve helping people in that state of mind. I also witnessed an amazing lecturer get laughed at and mocked in lectures due to his stammer. The more people laughed, his stammer worsened. It was painful to watch and I kept thinking, “what kind of place/environment is this?”.
The hypocrisy burned me. I had this horrible feeling & vibe. Then, I volunteered at Mind and went for training, I met loads of other people. I met this 28 year old man who also wanted to be a psychologist. He was telling me how he had a masters degree and could not find any work. He was clearly depressed after all of the efforts he went through only to end up unemployed. This is when my suspicions were raised. I already had a bad gut feeling about the people and environment. I came home to my mum and told her that I was scared about ending up unemployed in my late twenties and told her about the man I met. She said, “oh don’t be so negative! there was probably something wrong with him!”. I could not listen to her. I just had that bad gut feeling.
The Previous Chapter: When Things Turned Sour
Then, I slowly started feeling isolated. Then, I would not hear from anybody for weeks, until deadlines were close. I constantly got asked for help. At the time I went through a breakup, my dad got diagnosed with cancer and I was a wreck. Nobody cared. I even writ cries for help on social media only to have no response or interaction. Then, voila! my WhatsApp and inboxes would suddenly blow up with questions asking about the essay/exam that was due. It was truly the most isolating experience of my entire life and I was seriously questioning the direction of my life. Okay, people aside. I HAVE to achieve this, I can do this on my own.
Things got more tough and people turned nasty. I got stepped on by my group in group work and even got left out of groups. One girl got nasty because I said I could not meet up for revision due to my 4 hour total journey that would make me tired for the exam the next day so I suggested meeting before the exam on the following day. She was only angry because she could not go over my notes and actually said, “Well that won’t help me much but oh well” whilst not acknowledging me one bit. Luckily my lecturers were extremely supportive and gave me alternative assessments in the form of essays instead of group work. The final straw was when a guy pretended to care as a classmate only to get me to send my previous submissions to him to plagiarise. The “I am not going to copy it, I just want to see it” excuse started to bore me and make me want to rip my eyes out. I thought f*ck this place, I am going to achieve what I came here to achieve and get the hell out!
The End of The Chapter: Finishing My Degree & Post Graduate Plans
I completed by degree with serious struggles. When I went to analyse the data for my study/dissertation, only to find invalid/incomplete entries. All those fake people at university did not even complete the questionnaires and opted out. I can see the IP addresses, time and dates and knew who completed it and who didn’t. My study was only completed by a very few close friends and relatives. I was fuming but luckily I got my 100+ required participants from Reddit! Then, I graduated but did not turn up to graduation because I felt so isolated and betrayed. I just could not face it. Finally, I got my 2:1 degree, thanked my lecturers and deleted everyone from that place on social media. EVERYONE. I took serious satisfaction in closing the university WhatsApp group chat. I literally knuckled down and did it alone, beat the odds and succeeded again.
Then, I applied for a Masters course at a good university and they gave me a conditional offer. So, I paid the university a visit. It was a lovely place, the building was state of the art and the lecturers were warm and welcoming. But I just had this bad feeling and I could not put my finger on it. It was like something was telling me that this is going to be a lonely and dead end path, for me anyway. I became so burnt out as I had to complete a massive backlog of work and gain participants last minute that I could not cope with more education at the time. So I just left my application and let it expire. I constantly questioned myself on whether it was the right thing to do.
The End Of The Chapter: The Realisation & Right Choice
I decided to research into the traditional psychology route more deeply to see whether I made the right choice. I did loads of job searches on reed and found that assistant psychologist posts and work experience was extremely sparse. There was one time that I only found one job and it had ridiculously high requirements such as having a first class degree and a ton of experience beforehand, FOR WORK EXPERIENCE to get onto training! Throughout my research I found forums of clinical psychology doctorate students that just wanted to quit and weren’t happy. I then found that work experience such as assistant psychologist posts attract 150+ applicants and have a 95%+ rejection rate.
After my research I was thankful that I changed my direction. But just because I chose not to do the traditional clinical psychology path that does not mean that I will stop helping people. But I am not writing this to discourage psychology students, this path was just not for me personally. Plus, I’d rather not compete on a path with similar statistics and chances of failing in multi-level-marketing/a pyramid scheme, which is 99.8%+, only a few percent off from the clinical psychology route. I can persevere but I refuse to continue with these levels of odds against me. I chose to use my skills elsewhere. Most might think, “why did she not research this before?”. I did, but not as extensively. Plus I did not have a choice or alternative route at the time. I had to stick to my degree or drop out. Which was NOT an option.
A New Chapter: New Path & Life Goals
Back to when I took time out, I started dating/talking to this guy online. He discussed his goals with me and I really opened up to him and connected with him on a deep level. Unfortunately he turned nasty and screwed things up. I was too anxious and in a bad mental state to date anyway. But he taught me about all of these possibilities in working for yourself and using social media to your advantage.
A few weeks later I started my own blog. As discussed in my previous post, I had some blips and trip ups. Blogging is hard, especially when you start out. It is like shooting in the dark. So I broke down and wanted to throw the towel in so I posted for opinions and help on a Facebook Bloggers group. I got torn to bits. But I also got some amazing advice, one person even recommended looking into Digital Marketing so I thought I could maybe continue my studies in this field and use this to aid my blogging journey.
I researched extensively for courses, employment rates and demand in the field. Finally, I found the perfect university. The location, accreditation and course was perfect. I decided to apply for the MSc in Digital Marketing. Guess what? that glossy 2:1 got me an instant unconditional place the very next morning! My goals are to continue blogging and sharing my experiences with people. In addition I plan to work as a digital marketer, blogger and content creator. I have also been keen on starting a life coaching business. Also, I plan to fund my own travels, look after my body and break into modelling while I am still young. My goal is to be self reliant so I don’t have to base my livelihood on one career, goal or path.
The Moral Of The Story
The moral of the story is that everything happens for a reason and to keep your options open. I am thankful that I am not working or studying in an environment where it is so competitive that it cultivates toxicity. That was my experience anyway. People have not been very supportive and I have dealt with terrible stigma for being unemployed for that year I had off whilst figuring out my future. So, I decided to cut everybody off from that path and to walk into my new path with a completely clean slate at 24. Luckily, I have a family that has and is currently supporting me.
I summed up my experience in one tweet saying “3 years ago my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I found out that my ex was with someone else & I planned to end my own life. My dad recovered & I graduated with a 2:1. Most of all, I am happier without my ex & just sent off my MSc application & now following my dreams. It DOES get better.”. That tweet gained 500 likes in one day from my small twitter account. People told me how my experience is inspiring and starting following me out of nowhere. That’s when I knew that everything happens for a reason. As painful and scary set backs can be, always remember that the comeback will be much stronger than the setback! When life does not go to plan, be thankful that it isn’t. Because there is much better down the road!
Current Situation & Final Words
With no experience I managed to find some writing work and there is now a more steady flow of work. The money is not enough to fully live on but I managed to be able to work from home. I am much happier with what I do now and I am excited for my future.
One wake up call happened recently that made me realise how much I progressed. An old friend from school contacted me and asked if he could mention me anonymously in his blog post. He writ about the hard time I had when I was struggling and how I had zero support when I needed help (besides him reaching out to me). He then writ about how people now appreciate me for my content and what I have to offer, as opposed to before. His posts are writ in such a honest way. He urges people to reach out to those that are silently suffering and need help. This is what inspires me and what I want to raise awareness of.
Do you also want to know what kept me going through a hard time? my supervisor/lecturer. He told me that success is not linear. And he was right. I went through 3+ years of hell to get where I am today. I would like to thank you for reading one of my longest blog posts. If I gained something positive from one of the darkest, worst and isolating experiences of my life, so can you! I hope that you guys enjoyed this and I hope that you enjoy the travel blogs coming up!