Now, bear with me because this will probably start as a rant.
When I was at school, we chose our GCSE subjects at fourteen, took our exams at sixteen, hopefully passed them, chose our three A-level subjects, went on to college or sixth form and studied for said A-levels. Exams completed and presumably aced, we were, theoretically ready for university at eighteen. But we started on this road of specialising – at the age of fourteen.
When I was fourteen, I wanted a Kangol hat.
That was about it.
I was in no position to guess where my future might lead and, okay, I’m not a great example here because I’ve only been doing what I want to do for the last couple of years and much of that has been unpaid. But this isn’t about me. This is about Toots.
Toots finished her GCSEs with a full house – all As and A*s. She was incredible, and bafflingly hard on herself for not getting all A*s. Where the rest of us went on to give A-levels a go, she went to do the IB. None of us had heard of it but she must have spent hours researching her options. With the International Baccalaureate, she was able to study six subjects and thus, not narrow her choices too early on. She went on to university, studied something she enjoyed but which required translation to be understood, even as a subject title, and she got a first.
She took a job she didn’t much care for but she stuck to it… until she could get back to university and get qualified as a teacher. Being ostentatiously talented, she now teaches high school maths in Germany.
I am working from a limited pool of knowledge here, working, as I am, from my own experience and circle of friends but there a quite a number of people I know personally who started out qualified for one subject, and wound up finding their passion in another.
I love how that’s possible. That we’re not stuck with what we started with. If it no longer fits, time and money permitting, we can find something else.
Finding your passion is one of the most important things there is. If you’ve found it, hold on tight. If you haven’t – don’t worry, it’s out there.