‘Are you okay?’

When you’re grieving, people will often ask you the same question on a regular basis.

‘Are you okay?’

I get it. It’s a natural reflex, like saying bless you when someone sneezes or nodding politely when you’ve seen someone more than once on the same tour of the local Tesco.

It wasn’t until recently that I started thinking about the way I often answered this question after my brother died. And probably still do today, six years on.

When I’m struggling, I never really answer this question honestly. It’s mainly out of shame because I think I should have my shit together all the time and I expect other people to think the same (which they often don’t).

But it’s difficult to open up to people sometimes. When people ask if you’re okay, you don’t know if that person is just asking out of politeness. Then I worry I’ll only realise this when I’ve poured my heart out in an epic ten chapter novel about how bloody sad it is I’ll never get to see my brother again yet society expects me to be okay with that.

Nobody wants to read that book though. That’s a really sad book. I’m not even sure they’d have a section for that in Waterstones.

Most of the time, I’m just not really sure what to tell you, so the answer is usually always: ‘yeah, I’m alright’.

It’s not that I don’t want to share myself with you. I’m sure you mean it when you say you’ll listen, but there’s still a lot of stigma around ‘struggling’ and opening up about your grief. Sometimes it’s easier to lie and say you’re coping. People react very differently and those reactions are not always helpful, even though they often mean well.

Last year I was struggling, but I kept it to myself. It’s very typical of me to keep running on a sprained ankle when I should have just taken a break from the race to restore my energy. But people who are grieving are often like birds with a broken wing, hiding our injuries to protect ourselves from predators. We won’t always let you see us struggling, just in case it’s seen as a sign of weakness or vulnerability.

When I’m in those moods and struggling to form a sentence, I start writing all my thoughts down on an iPhone note. Some of the words I write make sense. Some of them don’t. It’s often a flurry of emotions and ideas spat out on the screen like I’m throwing paint at a canvas until it makes a shape or tells a story.

The other day, I started scrolling through those notes. Between an array of to-do lists and strange dreams I’d decided to write down in case they had some alternative meaning, I found a poem I’d written a few months back and forgotten about. It was all the answers I wanted to give when someone asked me if I was okay.

As I read it, I felt like I was reading through my teenage diary. The words were full of angst and raw emotion, like a drunken conversation on a night out, and even though I was slightly embarrassed by its brutal honesty, something compelled me to share it.

I posted it to a Facebook group for bereaved siblings. I didn’t think it was very compelling or insightful, but it showed a side of my grief I often hid, even from the friends who understood my pain. A friend from the group texted me to tell me he’d read the poem to his mother and wife. They told him they’d related to my words in their own grief.

I realised how close I’d been to discarding those words, just like the real and honest answer to the question: ‘are you okay?’

It feels right to share it, so here it is. A poem about how grief really feels, but how we often answer people, mainly due to the fear of judgment. It doesn’t speak for everyone in their journey with grief, but I hope it makes sense to some.

 

I feel the despair in the centre of my chest, like my ribs are coated in lead or my lungs are made of weights. But yes, I’m okay.

My brain in running at 100 miles per hour, words and scenarios running through my head like an old reel of film with no order or sequence. I’m overwhelmed. But yes, I’m okay.

My stomach is tight, a ball of elastic bands all twisted and stretched, ready to break. I’m a piece of porcelain, fragile and balancing on the edge, ready to fall. But yes, I’m okay.

I’m exhausted from the routine of having to put a fake smile on my face when my grief is suffocating me, pulling me under the water like a wave that just keeps getting stronger and stronger. I’m swimming against the tide. But yes, I’m okay.

I feel nothing some days and everything all at once. My auto-pilot is switched on but sometimes the switch trips and I’m thrown off course, like a train that’s come off it’s rails. But yes, I’m okay.

How do I explain in words that make sense to you that some days I feel like I’m drowing? Yet I’m pulling myself up to the surface. I keep afloat somehow. But yes, I’m okay.

Somedays I’m hurting. Somedays I’m a bit broken. Somedays I’m a bit lost.

But yes, I’m okay… I guess?

 

 

 

‘How do I become a journalist without a degree?’

I was fifteen when I decided I wanted to be a journalist. I bloody loved the news. I would wake up at 5:30 most mornings to watch it with my dad before school. I also had a fascination for documentaries. Louis Theroux was my icon and I longed to tell stories the way he did it, with empathy and curiosity for everyone he spoke to. It was my mum who taught me that everyone has a story. Since becoming a journalist, no truer word has been said. My passion is for story-telling and for people. 

I didn’t know if I was ever going to get here. I wasn’t traditionally academic in school and I don’t think many of my teachers thought I’d make anything of myself. I was the quiet and slightly strange girl at the back of the classroom who’d rather daydream whilst looking out of the window than read another chapter of ‘An Inspector Calls’.

The truth is, I didn’t really ‘fit in’. I wasn’t even one of those teenagers who’d say they were ‘misfits’ but were actually really cool and mysterious with their box-dyed hair and facial piercings. I was actually painfully uncool.

I wasn’t smart enough to hang out with the nerds and I wasn’t bad enough to hang out with the rebellious kids. I was a wallflower, and not of my own choosing. I’d learned it was better to keep quiet and be ‘undetectable’ as not to draw too much attention. Children can be cruel sometimes and I learned the hard way in middle school. 

I didn’t do well in my GCSEs. Unfortunately, my high school would often nurture highly gifted children. You know, the ones who were going to sail through their exams regardless of how many extra hours of tuition they received in after school club.

Children like me were encouraged less and so, we spent much of our school years wondering if we were actually any good at anything or if we had talents at all.

I scraped just enough passes to go to the sixth form, and although it was a bit more independent in comparison to school, it still felt like I was in the same system, my knowledge, and understanding of the world questioned in an exam hall, compared against hundreds of other young people who didn’t learn the same way I did. 

I was quite disruptive and argumentative during my first year of A levels. My teachers would often write home with words of warning, informing my parents that I had a bad attitude to learning or was too opinionated during classes. I was actually just finding my voice after years of feeling unconfident and awkward, blending into the background.

And surprise, I failed my A Levels. At that point, I’d written myself off as being awful at exams. Nobody has encouraged me to be better. I didn’t consider myself to be academic or ‘smart’. I just couldn’t do it, or so I thought.

Looking back, it was actually a blessing in disguise. I started searching for journalism courses in local colleges, still determined to get to where I wanted to be. I found a creative media course which offered journalism as a unit. For the first time in a long time, I was excited about education. This was probably the first time I remember a teacher seeing real potential in me (apart from my Maths teacher Mr. Coleman from middle school and my form tutor Mrs.Ewing who were both proper Gs). I felt like I’d finally found something I was really good at. I felt like I had a purpose. 

In those two years, I was inspired to learn about the industry and encouraged to achieve more than I’d thought myself capable of. I still remember the day my tutor turned to me and said; “Georgia, if anyone can do it, you can” (Big up Jonathan). I still think about that moment when I’m full of doubt and imposter syndrome creeps in like some shadowy menace hanging over my shoulder. I learned a lot from that place. I learned to film productions and take professional photos. I learned to write and script articles. I even became one of the editors for the college magazine. It wasn’t long before I was being encouraged to apply for universities and take the next step, an option I thought I’d never have when I looked at those A-Level exam results the previous year. 

Sadly, in my last few months of college, the worst thing happened. My younger brother Elliot died suddenly and unexpectedly. It tore my life apart in an instant. Everything took a back seat and I didn’t know if I’d survive the year, let alone go to university.

Although I’d passed my college course with the grades I needed to get into Salford, my chosen university, I wasn’t in the right mindset to live away from home. I could barely get on a bus without having a panic attack at this point.

In hindsight, I should have taken a year out but I felt a pressure to go, thinking it was what people expected of me. I had it in my head it was the only way I could become a journalist.

I pushed myself on to a course at a local university so I could still live at home and be near my family. The course hours were sporadic and the entire experience was lonely as most of the people on my course had met during freshers week or lived on campus, so had seen each other around. It felt like school all over again. I needed routine, support, and stability. I also needed to be around people, to talk to other human beings on a regular basis.

I dropped out of the course a few months later and I felt like such a failure. I’d been placing all my hopes for the future on this one opportunity, and it had come crashing down on my head like a tonne of bricks. I felt my vision for the future slip from my grasp and felt I had to let it go. I was never going to become a journalist without a degree.

The next year or so, I got some odd jobs doing social media marketing for small, local businesses, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do in the long term. It was all about the money and the creativity was limited. During that time I decided I didn’t want to give up on becoming a journalist. I set up this small blog, writing a few articles on a weekly basis which focused on mental health, grief, and wellbeing. 

It wasn’t long before I was writing articles for Huffington Post and my blog posts were picked up by local newspapers and eventually, the local BBC radio station Three Counties. The lunchtime presenter, Nick Coffer, invited me for an interview on his show to talk about my writing as well as my experience with grief. Whilst I was there, he encouraged me to sign up for work experience. Nick could see I was knowledgable and passionate about the local community, so he put me in touch with the news editor who told me how to apply online. 

I spent two weeks at the radio station in 2016, getting to know the newsroom and the different teams on the shows and I loved it from the moment I stepped in the door. I knew this was where I belonged.

After my two weeks had come to an end, I was told I should sign up to the freelance pool as a Broadcast Assistant as it was nearing the summer holidays and lots of the staff needed cover. I freelanced for a few months, working as a BA on the afternoon and mid-morning shows.

Whilst I was there, the BBC’s Digital Journalist Apprenticeship was advertised. It meant I could get my journalism qualification and train with the BBC. I submitted my application knowing hundreds of people would be applying for the same opportunity, but I wanted it so badly I was willing to work my ass off to get there. I became a dog with a bone I wasn’t going to let go. I was going to do it all off my own back, no matter what.

I remember the day I got one of the seven places available. After the phone call, I asked myself ‘is this really happening? Am I really going to get a job working for the BBC?’. It was a real ‘pinch me’ moment and it seemed a long way from the memory of thinking I’d have to say goodbye to the career I’d always hoped for. I’d somehow overcome the obstacles.

I trained up for 22 months in local radio, studying for my NCTJ exams (the ones I thought I could never do) and got a gold standard certificate at the end of my course. During that time I made hours of digital and radio content, learning from some of the best journalists in the industry who taught me so much and supported me through my studies. My confidence grew. I went from someone who couldn’t leave the house to traveling around the country and interviewing strangers on the street about their lucky pants.

Since then, I’ve worked for Radio 4’s Today programme, getting a daily podcast commissioned as well as reporting and producing episodes for the award-nominated Beyond Today. I’m currently a producer on a BBC News podcast for youth audiences, and I work in London, a statement I never thought I’d say a few years ago.

I’m from a working-class background. I went to a mainstream comprehensive school. I wasn’t privately educated and none of my family were either. I didn’t know if journalism was for people like me, but it is. The industry needs people like us, people who can speak for working-class communities and shine a light on issues which are sometimes overlooked. It needs people who come from deprived areas or places with a bad press because we have the ability to change perceptions, to gain people’s trust and tell their stories. We grew up in those communities. 

So, if you’re reading this and you want to become a journalist, don’t give up because you think it ‘isn’t for you’. Don’t ever think you don’t deserve to be here or it’s too late to try. As long as you’re passionate and determined to get there, you’ll succeed. 

Don’t get me wrong, some days I still doubt myself and wonder if I’m good enough, but doesn’t everyone? I just have to remind myself how far I’ve come.

Just remember, you’ve got this!

This is England 90 Review

SPOILER ALERT!

Anyone who has followed this phenomenal series from beginning to end will understand why TIE fans across the country were left bawling with a mixture of happy and VERY sad tears as the series came to it’s conclusion the other week. Yes, the last episode of the series had arrived, a series that had started as a gritty independent film set in 1983 and travelled right up through the years to the beloved era of the 90’s. I can honestly say, I’m going to miss those fictional characters on my TV!

Lol, Woody, Milky, Shaun. We’ve seen these beloved characters grow up in front of the screen (literally as Thomas Surgoose was only 13 when he prised his role on the film as young Shuan). We’ve seen their ups and downs. We’ve witnessed them mature and change throughout the years and true fans will agree, many have become ‘attached’ to them.

Just like the film and previous two series, This is England 86 and 88, this series was NOT a disappointment and the last episode, although upsetting to say the least, wrapped everything up in a gripping and nail biting finale where most of our characters got a happy ending.

Lol and Woody finally tied the knot in a wedding, which, although traditional, was certainly as close to ‘them’ as they could get! The reception at the Miner’s club was far from fancy but it was certainly true to the characters.

Kelly got kicked out of the flat by Harvey when he found out she was addicted to crack. She ran away and was pursued by poor Gadget. Sadly though, Gadget still doesn’t get the girl.

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I think Meadow’s was looking to portray Kelly as the lost soul, running from herself and blaming everyone else for her problems. But you couldn’t help but feel sorry for her when she turns up at Lol’s wedding with a card and finally admits she had a problem to her sister. I’m really glad Meadows allowed Kelly self-reflection as a character. I was starting to worry she’d gone completely off the rails. Her reunion with the gang was cleanly bringing down some walls that has been built between the characters this series. Harvey appears to be making reconciliations with Kelly. Although Gadget’s fairy tale love story was not to materialize. Harvey appeared to have that corner covered though. But as they say, mates before dates YO!

Shaun, however, did find himself an eligible beau in the form of fellow photography student Charlotte. And Smell was left no more then a fart in the wind. Although she was sure to show her green eyed monster before the episode was finished. I’m still a bit confused as to why Smell didn’t have more presence in this series, seeing as she was a more developed character previously. But I’m more then happy that Shaun found his vocation and ended the series as one of the most likeable and developed of the characters.

So pretty much all our favourite characters were together again, happy in life and in love.

But that couldn’t account for the fact that this last episode left just a few people ‘upset’ by Combo’s exit from the series.

The café scene in which Milky drove Combo to a derelict café to ‘talk things over’ was possibly one of the most powerful scenes witnessed in the series.

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For the first time since the series was born way back in 2006, we see vulnerability in Combo we have never seen before. Even when we cast our minds right back to the end of the film, remembering the brutal assault inflicted on the much loved Milky and just how unprovoked and evil it was, we still can’t help but feel desperately upset when Combo meet’s he’s demise.

Throughout the series, Milky has been deemed a quiet and gentle character. I couldn’t help but feel some frustration and disappointment when he allowed he’s relatives to take Combo away, tears and regret etched across he’s face, and didn’t even try to prevent the act from happening.

It’s quite easy to understand why he wanted revenge against Combo. After all, this was the man who left him so badly beaten, he’s family were unsure he was going to make it. Yet I think this series allowed the audience to reflect on what revenge really means and whether it truly makes us feel better in the long run.

We can understand the resentment Milky feels towards Combo, he’s anger. But seeing that look of remorse on Milk’s face throughout Lol and Woody’s wedding celebration just showed how a quick decision acted upon in a moment of passionate anger, can leave you feeling nothing but guilt. As the old saying goes ‘an eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind’.

Stephen perfectly portrayed a man on the edge. I couldn’t have imagined Combo could feel fear. Throughout the series he has been portrayed as the alpha male, the boss and a guy who stared fear straight in the face and laughed. But I can guarantee that audiences across the country who watched Meadow’s final instalment of This is England on Sunday, would have fought back tears as Combo cried and screamed for he’s own life as the hands of a vicious gang even bigger and stronger then he. I can honestly say that scene was one of Meadow’s most traumatic and emotional. The audience would have felt helpless. Nobody wanted Combo to suffer the way he did. The fans had grown attached to him. And to know he didn’t have such a happy ending will have left a lot of people still attached to their TV screens, hugging them tight and asking Meadows ‘WHY?’

Meadows really is a creative genius. He captured the countries imagination with some of the most lovable and intriguing characters to ever appear on British television and a story with true realism.

It was British television at it’s finest and truly BAFTA award winning if I do say so myself!

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What society should learn from Robin William’s Life

Yesterday marked the year anniversary of Robin William’s passing.

When somebody in the public eye who is admired and loved by many passes, it’s always a desperately sad time, even more so when said person was known to be just as much a character in real life as their celebrity personas.

This was Robin Williams. I know this to be true because my Aunt shared a story not long after his passing, stating that as a youngster, a friend and herself had crossed paths with the late actor when she was still living in the USA. He was apparently very kind to them and even referred to them as his friends when his security was being over precautious.

Stories like this seemed to swamp the Internet when it was announced the actor has died at his Californian home in August 2014.

One of the sweetest stories referred to the friendship between Williams and fellow actor Christopher Reeve, who was involved in a horse riding accident in 1995. The story was about how, during Reeve’s recovery in hospital, Williams had paid him a visit dressed as an eccentric doctor with a strong Russian accent who stated he must perform a rectal examination of the actor. This was the first time since the accident that Reeve’s had laughed and realised, thanks to Williams, things were going to be okay.

Robin Williams really was the sweetest, most caring man in Hollywood. I get really emotional when I remember that such a talented and wonderful man was suffering through some of the darkest days of his life.

It was no secret that throughout William’s life he battled with addiction. This in turn had brought him to hard times and affected his mental health. Yet he had been able to beat it and had gone on to commit himself to 20 years of sobriety. But like most addictions, there is always the possibility of a person relapsing back into their old ways.

Reports stated that Williams had spent some time in a Treatment Centre before his death in order to focus on his commitment to staying sober. He was extremely proud of this, as anyone with an addiction will know how hard it is to become independent from his or her addiction.

It was stated not long after the announcement of Robin’s death that his suicide was as a result of a recent battle with severe depression, with information added at a later date that the actor has also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

It was very obviously the last straw for Williams. He could not take it any longer.

The thing about Robin William’s death is that he didn’t die from suicide. Yes, suicide was the direct cause on paper but what the actor really died from was an illness. Just like a terminal illness, severe depression can result in a person’s passing. Except, we as a society don’t seem to see it in the same way.

Depression isn’t a physical thing. You can’t see depression in the face of an individual the way you might see a person’s broken leg or chronic back pain.

Their pain is mental. It takes them to places that are so dark and full of despair that they can’t drag themselves out of it. It’s like falling down a muddy decline and haven’t no grip on the sides. You can’t pull yourself up and sometimes; other people can’t reach down to grab you either.

These people have often been fighting for a long time. There is no energy left in them to claw at the sides of that muddy pit anymore. They could see a little glimpse of sunshine at the top to start with, but they’ve sunk too deep and they don’t know how to wade through it.

People like Williams are so strong. Suicide is not cowardly. It’s not a sign of weakness. Suicide is often the last resort for so many who suffer from mental illness. People who haven’t experienced mental illness may not understand how dark Robin Williams mind was, how desperate he must have been to keep fighting but how tired and lost he eventually became. He felt he couldn’t carry on living his life the way it has been moulded for him by depression.

There is a lot we, as a society, should learn from Robin William’s life and passing. Although his death will never define his unimaginable colourful and beautiful life, it should open our eyes as human beings to why we need to change our perception of mental illness.

It should allow us to understand why judgement is not needed.

People with depression are in their own personal hell. Judgement is only emphasising the untrue perception they have of themselves. Those who suffer from depression need support and other people’s understanding. They need to know there are others routing for their recovery. They are NOT weak. They are lost and need those around them to shine a light back to the path they’ve lost sight off.

Williams passing should teach us that behind every smile, is a life we do not know of.

People who appear happy are usually the people most likely to be suffering from depression. They smile because our society has taught them to mask their true feelings. People like Williams gave so much happiness and light to other people lives but were unable to give it to themselves. Society needs to recognise that everybody is susceptible to depression. A smile does not necessarily reflect happiness in one’s life.

Celebrities are not exempt from mental illness either.

Many talented and successful people battle with depression and anxiety. I’ve seen a lot of judgemental comments about this subject. You don’t decide to have a mental illness. Depression doesn’t choose a person depending on their salary or lifestyle. Anyone can suffer from a mental illness at any point in his or her lives. Remember this.

It’s so sad we had to lose one of the biggest stars in Hollywood to understand how devastating mental illness can be on an individual. Let’s hope it helps to change people’s perception.

5 Ways to Spot a Feminist

If David Attenborough encountered one, he would get as low to the ground as possible and use his whispering voice as not to disturb one.

An avid wildlife watcher might grab his binoculars to sneak a peak at it’s rarity, approaching with caution, for he knows how dangerous this species can be when provoked.

And if you are a part of the male breed, may we pray for you and your children.

Feminism.

It’s a scary subject for many. If the word is mentioned in passing conversation, both men and woman tend to recoil into foetus positions while shaking their heads, wide eyed and agitated.

Feminists are so dangerous, they have been known to scare full grown men from their Twitter accounts and bring down global corporations.

So I have created a post about 5 ways in which you lovely lot at home can spot one of these ‘feminists’


1. Weapon of choice; THE BRAZOOKA!

Many have faced it’s prettifying potential. Once fully armed with a brazooka, the feminist is invincible. With wire so sharp and strong, it can gauge a sexist pig’s eye out a mile away, the feminist attaches the weapon to it’s arm and wings it around it’s hair for maximum impact when one is struck in the head.

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2. Hairy and Scary

These specimens are rarely aimed with a razor unless they are trying to cut a member of the opposite sex. They may have never visited the Australian Bush, but they know about the one they rock everyday. Razor’s were created by the feminist’s worst enemy. As far as they are concerned, Gillette Venus is a dictatorship.

3. DON’T MAKE THEM ANGRY, you won’t like them when they are angry!

A feminist will often be revealed to you during a heated conversation about 50 Shades of Grey. You may notice it’s pupils dilate, it’s lips pursed as it get’s ready to attack. It’s skin may begin to flush a burgundy shade as it jumps from it’s seat, armed with a collective resource of information regarding the topic of female oppression within the film industry.

You may want to duck, for glasses can be thrown.

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4. All Men Must Cry

If feminists appeared in Game of Thrones, all MEN would suffer at their peril, even Jon Snow D:

Please watch out men, Feminists are potentially destructive to all of society. Theories show that they may be harbouring new technology which allows them to support themselves without the assistance of the male species. THE HORROR D:

5. FEM-fastic

All members of the Feminist collective are females. Vee-jay-jay’s as far as the eye can see. Nope, no men to be seen here. They are in hiding. Poor things.


If at this point you have not realised that at least 95 per cent of this post was pure sarcasm, then I apologise for any offence.

The truth is, of course, that feminists can NOT be spotted.

They are in fact average members of society.

Many Feminists, strangely enough, fight for equality between men and woman rather then superiority.

Feminists are everywhere you look. They are both men and woman.

And they don’t bite.

There is no need to be afraid of them.

Honestly.

They fight for gender equality, to shape a fair future for our children and to make the world a better place.

That’s how to spot a true feminist.

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http://www.heforshe.org


If Uni just isn’t for you! (Alternatives to University)

You are in your last year of sixth form or your college course. You’ve raced to finish your final projects or are revising furiously for your end of years exams, all while trying to figure out what exactly it is you want to do for the rest of your life. Then someone throws a spanner in the works.

SO, which University are you going to?’

Obviously, if you’ve even considered going to University, you’ll have already started the laborious (not to put you off or anything) task of submitting your UCA’s application. You’ll have written your personal statement, a page worth of basically bigging yourself up to the point of borderline pretentiousness, and entered your whole educational history, which is always a sad moment if your GCSE results were shockingly rubbish! (OK, mind weren’t that bad but they weren’t the best!)

ATTENTION KIDS, revise for your GSCE’s because no matter how smart your are, you can’t ‘wing’ an exam. Which is totally not what I did… at all…

After submitting your completed application to UCA’s you could be waiting for as long as two months to hear back as to whether you have a conditional place on the courses you’ve chosen.

It’s a bit like X Factor really, expect Simon Cowell probably isn’t judging your applications. That would be too easy.

It can be a very worrisome and stressful time for some young people while waiting to hear back from University choices as to whether you have a conditional/unconditional place. This, as well as other factors, can put many people off.

Yet University is still the main option and popular for the next step in further education.

There is a lot of emphasis on the fact that a degree will allow you better career prospects. And a lot of the time it will. But University isn’t always for everyone.

Costly tuition fees, living expenses and being away from home are just some of many reasons people turn down university in search for a more suitable alternative.

Always make the decision that’s best for you and your future. The older generation often never got the the chance to go to University so may push the idea of taking this path. As much as University is a lot more accessible, the lifestyle that comes with it will not suit every individual.

I rushed into going to University thinking it was what everyone else expected from me. Everyone I knew was going and I felt I’d be looked down on for not extending my knowledge from my college course.

Turns out, Uni life really wasn’t for me. The binge drinking, night owl way of life was really not for this little home bird who much prefers sitting in front of the box then dropping some shapes in the club  (and by shapes I mean slightly bending the knees to the beat of the music, I can’t dance, get over it)

There are a number of alternatives to University depending on the career path you wish to take. Here are suggestions for just a few options you could take and how they could help you.


Take a Gap Year

If you need some more time to think about your options, you can always apply to UCA’s for the year after and take a year out. When I say Gap Year I don’t necessarily mean travelling to Cambodia like a private school kid who wants to know how ‘the other people’ live. You can spend your year volunteering or find a part time job to get you a little extra money for if/when you do attend university. Either way, this is a great way to build work experience and makes for a stronger CV.

Go Part Time or Open

If you like the idea of continuing your studies but want it to be more felxible, especially if you have a job on the side, you could consider taking a part time course up (this is usually out of work hours) or an Open University course, which could mean you are only attending University once every two weeks, allowing you to studying at home in your own time.

Apprenticeships

In my personal opinion, this is probably the best alternative to anyone who enjoys studying but is put off by length and expensive courses. Apprenticeships allow you to ‘learn on the job’ as well as gain a qualification in your chosen subject, which is paid for by the Government/Employer. Work experience is invaluable and you can make money at the same time as studying. I will do a separate blog post all about apprenticeships!

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If you are more interested in experience and earning money you can find a job that does not require qualifications in further education. Some businesses even offer programs that will allow you to gain management positions so there is always an opportunity to move up within a company depending on the sector.

There are lots of different options rather then university that will be equally as rewarding in the long run and can allow you to find an amazing career. Make sure you look carefully at all your options and know you are happy. Not going to Uni or even dropping out if it doesn’t work out isn’t that big of a deal.

You’ll find what you are passionate about and love to do, even if it takes some time.

Georgia

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