Before I start, I just want to say that this is a totally different style of post for me, but I ran a poll on Twitter asking people if they’d like to see some more personal posts and they voted yes. If this isn’t your cup of tea don’t worry, I’ll be back to beauty and fashion posts in no time.
A question I get asked a lot is ‘Why did you take a gap year?’. Whether it’s friends, family, teachers – even strangers – they all want to know why I would make this choice. It seems that even in the modern day, it’s unusual for people to go against the educational norms, and unless you have money to go travelling a gap year is perceived as a ‘wasted year’.
I personally suffer from anxiety very easily – I have done since I was young but it’s something that I don’t often talk about – and although I mainly have social anxiety, the pressure of education and exams really took it’s toll on me in the last few years of school. Now I’m not saying that I’m the only one who got stressed out at school, of course this happens to everybody, but the pressure of it all left me hating the lessons that I once enjoyed and counting down the days until I finally left. I actually was one of those people who really enjoyed school, especially Sixth Form, so for this to happen was very unusual for me – however exams gave me awful anxiety and made me lose all confidence in myself and my abilities. During that final year I didn’t even apply to a university, I knew I needed to take one year out of education to relax and refresh myself and my mind. Fortunately my teachers and Head of Sixth Form were supportive of my decision, and I left school with three B’s which I was pretty happy with.
Although the stress of education was one of the main reasons I took a gap year, another huge reason was that I didn’t know what to do with my life. Ever since I was young I had wanted to be an actor, so in my last year of school I went off to two auditions for gap year courses at intense drama schools with the hopes that that would fill my time and lead me to my path. However, those didn’t work out, and I realised that those drama schools weren’t for me anyway – they were teaching very dramatic, over-the-top theatrical acting that I have never been a fan of, as well as doing the stereotypical drama school thing of asking you to act as a lightbulb, or a tree, which I personally have never understood. I have always preferred a more natural approach to acting, like the style seen on-screen, that seems as if you aren’t acting at all – so I knew that unless I could find a school specifically for acting on-screen, this wasn’t the path for me to go down at that point in my life. I strongly believe that if things are supposed to happen they will happen, so if there comes a point that acting does reenter my life in the right way, I will grasp the opportunity with both hands and work incredibly hard to get where I want to be.
After the acting thing, I had no idea what to do. My entire life had been acting, I had no back-up plan, so I was left completely lost. I started my blog on January 10th 2016 – I actually didn’t have either of my auditions until the February that year, so this was before I knew I needed to pick another career choice – but although I posted weekly, I didn’t really get into the whole blogging thing until the end of August. By July, my little blog was growing ever so slightly, but even back then I knew I had a real passion for it, and at that point everything started to fall into place. I’ve loved reading and writing ever since I was a little girl, and English was one of my best subjects, so writing a blog just made perfect sense to me. I am also obsessed with makeup and fashion (as you probably already know!) – I love trying out new makeup looks and although I’m definitely not a pro, I really think my skills are improving! Blogging was the perfect way for me to voice my passions freely, without anybody else telling me what to do. I decided I would use my gap year to focus on improving and growing my blog, and within a couple of months that effort had grown my blog in ways I definitely could not have expected, and I’m so excited to continue to watch it grow in the future.
I initially had planned on going to university after my gap year to study English Literature, but after a moment of clarity and realising my passion for blogging, I knew that a future career in journalism seemed like the ideal fit for me, and I decided I wanted to do a combined degree. I spoke to my mum and we both decided that this was the perfect path for me, and she immediately started looking at universities. I knew I wanted to commute rather than live at university, and I didn’t want to go to a crazy huge university with an intense party scene because that’s really not my thing. We ended up finding the University of Buckingham which seemed like my perfect place. I signed up for an Open Day and on arrival immediately fell in love with it, it’s an independent university so it’s a lot smaller than most which made me love it even more. I applied for an English Literature and Journalism course and received an unconditional offer, so as of September 2017 I will be a Buckingham Uni student, and I’m very excited. I can’t wait to be doing a course I know I’ll love, and after the year break from education I know I’m ready to go back.
I think gap years are definitely given a bad reputation, and without mine I would have ended up in a career that wasn’t right for me, at a university that I absolutely hated. Worst of all, I possibly would have given up on this blog to focus on my studies, missing out on all the amazing experiences and opportunities it has given me. I’m so grateful to my parents for allowing me to have the time off that I needed, it’s enabled me to clear my head and really think about what I want to do; without it I would not be as calm and as happy as I am today.
I don’t know what the future holds for me yet, maybe I’ll go into a career in journalism with this blog as my hobby or perhaps this blog will exceed all of my expectations and suddenly become a full time job. But no matter what happens I know I’m excited to see what comes my way.