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When I grow up, I want to be......



Amy, BA(Hons) Business, Class of 2015

I’m sure we’ve all been there, and had someone ask us what we want to be when we grow up. The most memorable time I was asked this was during primary school, in about year 5, where everyone’s picture was put up alongside our future career goal. At that age, all I could see in my future was having a career involving riding motorbikes, because I’d recently started participating in junior motorsports. There was no questioning about my reasons for that goal, and discussion about other options – instead, that was put up on the wall for the rest of the school to see. And so, the seed was sown!

But, I hit 16, had participated in competitions, was pretty adamant I wasn’t going to progress any further to become a professional, and now I had no idea what the rest of my life would look like. Maths teaching became an option, inspired by good and bad experiences during school, but Maths and Further Maths A Levels completely destroyed this aspiration; a love for the subject turned into a temporary deep hatred!

Fast forward 15ish years - via teachers who told me I was wasting my Maths skills, discovering an unexpected passion for retail/business/helping others, and thinking I was going to work in retail as a Buyer – to now where I am working in an area helping others take control of their careers and futures (a career move inspired by my poor experiences in school). And 10 years from now? Hopefully I’m selling my cakes and cookies in my own café, with the profits supporting the Cat Sanctuary I’d have also opened… I’ve gone from being someone with a severe cat allergy and dislike of cats, to now where my allergy has almost disappeared and our cat is the most important *person* in our lives.

What’s the point in what I’ve said here? It’s to remind us all that we can have goals and ideas, either ones we’ve chosen or external influences have put to us; but things change, new passions and interests are ignited, technology moves forward and the world changes. You almost certainly won’t have a job or career for life, and things will happen that will completely change your plans in the most unexpected ways. Talk to friends, family, colleagues, people you meet at weddings and parties, in the queue at the bus, or wherever it is you might be. You’ll be amazed at what they thought they might be doing, and what they’re actually doing now.

Don’t think that whatever you said “you want to be when you grow up” is the only option, that the job you are doing as a student is the only thing you can do, or that the topic of your degree is the only route you can go down - a degree is the start of a new journey in your life. Use it to find out more about what you love doing, what you find less enjoyment in doing, and remain open to as many possibilities as you can.

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