Gap Year

To go or not to go.

Posted: 27/10/14 by

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I have been told for most of my school career that it would be a waste of my talent if I didn't go to university. I am 19, and recently made the decision to force myself to go to university to study fashion.

I had never really wanted to go to university, I'm still not completely sure why, perhaps due to anxiety, a lack of confidence in my own abilities, the money pressure, not wanting to leave home, or that it just wasn't the right thing for me.

Anyway, after a week of being there- the accommodation was a disaster which did not help whatsoever- I decided to ask for a deferred place, to explore my other options. I just wasn't feeling excited about any of the whole uni experience, and even though it had only been less than a week I really didn't want to stay. The thing is, the university I was going to attend are a very good university to study fashion, and they don't usually give students deferred places. But they were very happy to give me one, which was a great achievement in itself.

I have always been good at art and textiles, and have a flair for fashion design. I am also keen on business and have dreamt of owning my own business one day, or perhaps starting my own fashion blog/website. So after that dramatic week, my mum came to pick me up from the university and took me home again, it was so stressful and I felt really bad and that I had let my family down- but my mum and sister were very supportive. They just wanted me to be happy. But now a few weeks have gone by and I still am not doing anything.

I am going to be working part time at the foundation course I studied at last year, teaching some of the current students. They haven't offered a position like that to any non university graduate before so I am very lucky and they must believe in my talents as well. But I can't help but still feel very down about everything, I am so lacking in confidence I don't feel capable of doing anything. My mum said to me today that she met one of my ex tutors in the shops today, and he said that my exhibition at the end of my course was the equivalent of a BA hons degree show. I was really pleased that he had said that about my work, but then my mum went on to say how it was such a shame that I didn't want to go to university and that I was wasting my talents by not going.

I can see where she is coming from, sort of, but it really annoys me that she truly believes that going to university is the only option for anyone to achieve success in their industry. Being interested in business and wanting to one day achieve financial freedom, I am very interested in people who make it big without going to university. There is a part of me who dreams all day and thinks that nothing can stop here, and the part of me who lives in the real world is like "come on, be serious". So I am completely stuck, I have rambled a huge amount and I hope that anyone who bothers to read it might just be able to understand what it is that I'm saying here. I need help, to figure out what to do. I really want to start my fashion website, but I feel like I can't do it, even though people have told me I have a lot of talent, I just don't believe them- or at least I don't remember it all the time and then feel really bad about myself. But I also feel guilty for not going or wanting to go to university next year at the end of my deferral.

I'm so scared that I'm not going to know what to do, and end up unhappy for ever and ever because I made the wrong decision.

Why is life so hard? ..... If you in anyway understand or have any advice for me, please do. I would really appreciate some guidance, or even to know that someone else is unsure too, and who is perfectly happy not knowing what the future holds.


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  • NGtU Career Advisor


    From what you have said the big issue seems to be one of confidence or rather the lack of it. I’m guessing that you were always a very hard working student who stroves to produce great work, whether that be art projects or writing essays etc. Are you also highly self-critical? It is obvious that you must have loads of talent and yet there is a little voice in your head which is denying this. This is the issue that you must address!
    Give this a try. Give you little inner gremlin a face. The uglier the better. Then be alert to the times when Gremlin pops onto your shoulder and (literally) push him away. He is a liar and a cheat so does not deserve a hearing!

    Get stuck into helping out at college and make positive use of this year out to develop your interpersonal and teaching skills. Although unpaid, this is a truly excellent opportunity to strengthen your CV and will probably pay great dividends in the future.

    You are going through a stage of major transition and believe me when I say that these worries are not at all uncommon. Life as an adult will get easier. It just takes time to adjust.

    Best wishes


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