Here’s the number one thing I’ve learned in my 27 years: no matter how much you feel like you don’t know where the hell life is taking you, you will figure it out.
Three years ago, after dropping out of yet another program that I hated, my friend looked at me very seriously and asked: “If you could do absolutely anything in the world, with no regards to money or time, what would you do?”
“I’d go back to university for English Lit and then I’d be an editor,” I replied, surprising myself at my answer.
“Then why the fuck aren’t you doing that?”
The truth is, I was terrified of failing again. I thought I was too old. I was scared of the money and time I’d put into it if nothing came of it. But I had already wasted seven years in different programs and jobs trying to figure out where I belonged.
I had moved to Vancouver for art school; I spent a year and a half at the University of Saskatchewan for psychology; I moved to London to attend Fanshawe’s photography program; I started an entrepreneurship course and dropped that a week later; I was enrolled in Medix to be a lab tech, quitting after three days.
I’ve been a photographer and a makeup artist, worked a plethora of retail jobs, managed multiple stores and salons, worked at bars and moved about 13 times.
I’ve done a lot and I’ve messed up a lot.
But when I was finally accepted to Western, everything clicked. I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be and I was finally ready to put in the work it would take for me to succeed. I began to figure out who I wanted to be and work towards that. I thought that figuring everything out meant the end of my seven year bad luck.
But not everything has been smooth sailing.
In these past three years, life has happened alongside my education. Two relationships have ended. I’ve moved twice — once in the middle of finals. My brother has given me a niece and a nephew that I’m 2,765 km away from. My mother has had back surgery. My grandmother, who was also my best friend, passed away. I’ve lost friends, I’ve battled with more health issues than I can count and I’ve struggled to find a balance in every aspect of my life.
But let me tell you something, and I want you to listen close:
No matter how much you may feel out of place right now, or think you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, it will work out.
No matter how much things may feel impossible, all of those hardships are worth it.
And no matter how much you feel like giving up and you can’t do it, you can.
Going into university, I was under the impression that profs were mean and never willing to help, that I would fail if I didn’t meet deadlines and that I’d probably always end up with grades I was unhappy with no matter how much work I did.
So I really didn’t expect how many people were willing to help me succeed when I was willing to put in the effort. I went to office hours and I talked to my profs who are now my friends. I went to events and networked and I was given opportunities beyond anything I could have imagined. When I needed more time for essays and assignments because life was getting messy, I was given accommodations. Things got difficult sometimes, but I never went through it alone, and I never failed.
Now, I’m walking out of university with more than just a degree. Out of these years, I’ve made incredible friends, I've set myself up for the future I want, I've got a pretty great resumé and a head full of knowledge. I’ve been a research assistant and a mentor. I've been the editor of a newspaper and an academic journal. I’ve been sent to Norway and England on research trips. I’ve received honours in every year. I’ve been accepted to not one, but two grad school programs. But more than that, I’ve got a passion for books, for editing, for my career path and for life.
So I promise you this: No matter how lost or confused you might feel, have faith. Be patient. Work hard. You will get to where you’re meant to be; time is relative. Make mistakes and get messy. Ask for help. Everything you learn, all the hardships you go through — they’ll all bring you exactly to where you’re supposed to be.