Forging my Own Path

paperchase map postcard

There’s always been a hill before me. Sometimes so steep it’s practically a mountain (like now), sometimes a gentle, grassy knoll that takes a few steps to overcome. A lot of the scarier, almost entirely vertical mountains, with their their jagged rocks and invisible peaks  were born from the tectonic plates of the relationship with my parents colliding in a horrifically pretentious metaphor. 

We’re chill now, my parents and I, there’s something about growing up that really makes you appreciate your parents, but I was the more rebellious daughter, Not rebellious in the way the media portrays, but rebellious enough that by the time I’d finished 6th form, I’d set most of the career expectations my parents had for me on fire. 

I’ve never really been a fan of being told what to do. 

The hardest set of people to go against in decisions are those in your immediate circle: family, close friends, the people who you respect. But sometimes you have to go ‘fuck it – I need to do this for me and my happiness’.

Sometimes you have to go ‘fuck your expectations’ because it’s in your blood and your bones, the thing, that thing that burns in your core – too big for you to put to one side, but too small for other people to see.

For me, that ‘fuck it’ moment was me putting 5 course options on my UCAS form that had absolutely nothing to do with medicine. Or Law, or any of the more ‘traditional’ professions my parents were cycling through to try and find a more ‘suitable’ or ‘viable’ alternative.

And OK yeah, that decision may not be running away from home and setting up a 5-piece female metal band that exclusively plays in Latin-America, but it was a pretty big thing for my family. My school didn’t take it well either – not sticking to ‘plans’ is not great for business, apparently. Though  I wouldn’t say trying to guilt a student into being an Oxbridge success statistic rather than supporting their decision is a great business tactic either…

The rest of that school year filled me with an awful lot of self doubt. Most people thought that it was just a phase, or a fad, and that I’d regret my decision come the end of 6th form, others in my year group felt the need to remind me that doing a language ‘was a lot of work’ despite the fact we’d all pretty much done language to the same level, or that it was really hard, like I hadn’t thought about all the factors that went into the making of my decision. I questioned my reasoning, my rationale that people were writing off as ‘rash’ because I’d never really spoken about how I was fed up of trying to convince myself that I wanted to be things I didn’t, because it was somewhat secure employment and would make other people happy.

Life shouldn’t be about making other people happy at the expense of your own.

It took a lot of convincing, but my parents eventually came around to the idea. After some extensive research, my dad was actually 210% on board with it, because East Asia as a region is actually pretty economically important. My form tutor at school was probably the staff member that was wholly supportive, but most of my peers that knew were still divided. It’s slightly amusing now that I get friend requests from those who were less than kind about things back then.

And now, here we are, five years on (I took a gap year too, if you’re confused about that math), and I don’t regret the decision to start forging my own path at all. It’s nice to give my parents something interesting to talk about when others ask about what ‘the daughters’ are doing now – despite the fact that I think my mum still secretly wants me to be a doctor. I’ve got some pretty colossal mountains to climb in my immediate future, and some nifty navigation to do when it comes to employment – but I’m glad I decided that enough was enough, that fuck it I won’t be anything but myself, and I won’t shelve the dreams I have.

While this may not be the most exciting chapter in my book of adventures, I do feel that it is, at least, one of the more important ones – especially in this day and age of information and rapidly advancing technology. It’s a lot easier for us to share our talents and our hopes and dreams and wishes to countless numbers of people. We live in exciting times where the possibilities to do things are endless, and if you fight for your own path hard enough it is definitely achievable.

You might get knocked and bashed about a little, but you can get there.

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8 responses to “Forging my Own Path”

  1. ShannonDarko says:

    I love this post, good on you for doing your own thing and not bowing to the pressure from others. I can relate because I'm graduating this year and I'm planning to go into a job that the people around me didn't expect, and they're not too happy about it. I felt bad about what I wanted to do for so long then realised I can't hold back on my dream career just because some people don't approve.Good luck with the rest of uni!Shannon x

  2. Meg Siobhan says:

    'Life shouldn't be about making other people happy at the expense of your own.'SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK PLEASE FII. I feel like this post is something I needed to read right now. Ever since finishing my course and applying for stuff, I've just felt as though the entirety of my course have been a waste. This is giving me a little hope that maybe I will be able to go down a path I'll be happy with, it may just take a little time to do so.Meg | A Little Twist Of…

  3. Martha Edwards says:

    This is an awesome post. Good on you for owning it so early on! I definitely let others sway my decisions on education far too much, and I'm suffering the consequences now xMartha Jane |

  4. Carina Chung says:

    YOU. INSPIRE.I tried to be the "perfect" idea of success. Tried what asian parents wanted (not that they explicitly said or demanded any kind of job/profession/career path). I tried to conform to society's standards of success, of doing well. Tried to apply into good schools after A levels and got stuck in a course i absolutely don't care for.You did what is right by following your heard. Life really isn't about making others happy. Besides they don't even care what you choose in the end. You'd be stuck with the choices you thought were right. We should ALWAYS DO RIGHT BY OURSELVES :)THANK YOU FOR THIS HUN! xxRunning White Horses – Fashion, Travel, Life

  5. Lizzie ♥ says:

    Good on you for forging your own path! My life is quite similar – mum wanted me to do something with maths but instead I picked design. It's weird because it wasn't only up until my final year of uni did she stop saying "art is just a hobby – get a job and do it in your spare time". I take that as an accomplishment!Btw I don't know if I mentioned it before but I love the way you write?! It's so good and super easy to read. Everything's in really nice bite-sized chunks :DLizzie Bee //

  6. Sophie R says:

    This is such a lovely post! It's pretty cool how you broke away from the 'traditional' course. Wishing you luck in the future <3Sophie |

  7. Emily Chee says:

    My voice is breaking and I'm in tears. I, too, am a very very rebellious girl and to hear this from someone is entirely motivating. I'm a sophomore in high school ( not sure what that is from your view ) but in about two years, I am suppose to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. My peers have already successfully decided their fate, but I'm there with nothing. It's so hard trying to satisfy my "likings" with my "parent's expectations".You had me at "I've never really been a fan of being told what to do. "When a relative of mine wanted me to become a doctor. My immediate response was no and I promised myself that I would never become a doctor. How foolish am I? I'm not sure. Reading your post has inspired me to do what I like and go for it despite everyone else!Thank you so much though!!!♥♥♥

  8. aimee cottle says:

    I can relate to this, a lot. I was pushed into going to university, trying 3 different courses over 3 years because nothing felt right and I didn't really want to be there. That was my grandparents dream for me, not my own. Eventually, with some support from my OH and his family, I went against my grandparents and dropped out of uni for the last time. I had a few odd jobs, and I still wasn't sure what I was going to do long-term, but I recently started a new job that fits. It feels like it's kinda where I want to be longer term. And finally, things are coming together. I wish I'd not wasted 3 years, but like you said it's hardest to go against family. Good luck with the next part of your chapter! x x

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