Why I Left University

So I’ve wanted to tell the story of why I left university pretty much since I started my blog. By telling my story, I want to let people know who are in the same position or who have the same feelings towards the course they’re studying that it’s okay to follow your passion.

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My dad and I at my prom, 2014

My dad had a little phrase that was often told to me growing up; “find something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That always resinated with me. Since I was around ten years old, I built my life around this philosophy.

Most children don’t really know what they want to do in their future. Well at least the kids where I lived didn’t. Actually they had some inclination of what they wanted to be when they grew, but just an idea. Most boys said they wanted to be a footballer and most girls said they wanted to be a hairdresser. My primary school definitely wasn’t into breaking gender boundaries. When it was raining bad outside and we had to spend our break time indoors, a lot of the boys would be distraught at not being able to play football. A few would replace this by playing Jenga or throwing bits of paper at other children in some attempt of entertaining themselves. I, on the other hand, was sitting at a table with a few friends and while they played games, I genuinely used to write little stories and poems. Not even kidding. Nothing quite publishable, but I loved writing nevertheless. God, looking back, it’s not surprising I wasn’t the most popular person in school.

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My year six teacher and I at the end of term c. July 2009. One of the best teachers I’ve ever had

I actually remember one time in primary school. I don’t know what the equivalent of primary school is to people in the US, but I was around nine or ten years old. Everyone in my class (year six, AKA the final year before we start secondary school) had to take part in a mini-project. Every person out of about twelve boys and twelve girls had to take a piece of paper and write what they wanted to be when they were older and then write their name underneath. This would then be turned into a slide show for the whole school to see in our end-of-year assembly. I remember literally every single boy wrote, “footballer” or, “football player.” Except one boy, who said he wanted to be a basketball player. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am not athletic at all. And when it came to my answer, it just said, “writer.” I showed a little 10-year-old smirk as I knew I was happy with my answer. But I distinctly remember the boy sitting next to me looking at me with a snarl and saying, “really?” like I’d just written “serial killer.” Needless to say, not a single one of those boys turned out to be the next Lionel Messi, however my answer still hasn’t changed.

Jumping forward a few years to the end of 2015. I’m in my last year of sixth form and my final exams are five months away, which in revision time, isn’t that long. I’m studying English Language and Literature, Fine Art and Law. Now, of course, I loved English. It’s always been a constant in my life. But now, I was having to contemplate what I would do after university. I didn’t have an English related career in mind, so instead, I was convinced to go with something I liked that had an ideal job to go with it. So I chose Law and decided to become a lawyer. Now, I did like Law at sixth form, but nowhere near as much as English. But I was constantly asked, what job can you get with English? Yeah But what’s the wage like?

I spent four months at law school, and I didn’t mind it. But no matter how much I thought I liked studying Law, there was this niggling voice at the back of my head telling me, “you know you’d rather be doing English.” And it was right. It was just too bad it took me so long to make that change.

I couldn’t do it anymore. I’d experienced law school and it just wasn’t for me. And I knew English was for me. It took all the courage I had, but in November 2016, I spoke to some members of staff in my university and they agreed to let me start my first year of an English degree in 2017 and get a second shot at university. I was, and still am, over the moon at the thought of finally doing what I want.

I didn’t like the idea of my life being all laid out in front of me; get a law degree, get a training contract and become a barrister or a solicitor. Now, I could still be a lawyer if I really want to, in three years time. I could do a GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) course with my English degree, since I do still have an interest in Law. But also, I could write, and I’m thinking of doing a creative writing masters at Cambridge to become a screenwriter. I can do whatever I want now, and I’m so excited for the future.

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The University of Liverpool

This gave me the chance to find a job I love, so that I don’t have to work a day in my life. I am so grateful that my university let me do this but also thankful that I let myself do this. And I encourage everyone else to do the same. The feeling I had when I wasn’t doing what I wanted – I couldn’t imagine feeling like that every day for the rest of my life. If I could give any piece of advice, it would be to go with your gut. If you know you want to do a certain job or live a certain life, why would you deprive yourself of that? Don’t live to please others or to seem better than another person. Having your whole life mapped out in front of you is nice; it’s comforting. But it’s not always the best way to live. I’ve learned to let yourself explore instead of jumping the gun. But if you prefer to live that way, then good luck to you, but it’s not for me and I’m fine with that.

Basically, do what makes you happy and live for yourself and nobody else. And that’s pretty much my where I’m up to with life. I’m sure that in the future I’ll write something about starting university again. But until then, thanks for reading!

 

 

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How Do I Write One Of These?

Nothing can quite compare to the mentally draining task of beginning a piece of writing such as this. To make matters worse, this is my first post; the beginning of the beginning. Do I start with the obligatory, relatable rhetorical question that heightens the interest of the reader? How formal should I be? Am I interesting? This is proving to be much more difficult than initially anticipated.

Now, let’s make my first blog post sound less like an advice letter on how to write a blog post (which no doubt would go down a treat on here). To start, I would like to first mention my inspiration for starting a blog and some information about me. Well, my name is Anthony, I’m 18 years old and I’m also a future English student at the University of Liverpool, starting in September 2017. I did start University this year as a law student, but after months of gruelling contemplation, I decided to pursue my real passion – English. Ever since my primary school days, I was obsessed with writing. I even took it as far as using my indoor play-time to write poems and short stories. It’s safe to say  I wasn’t the most interesting child at my school. Now, because I changed my university course so late in the first semester, I have to wait until next year to start English. So I’m now at the beginning of an unexpected gap year.

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The mind does not wander when thinking of things to do on a gap year that prepares someone for an English degree and a subsequent career in the vast field that surrounds English. I already have a inconclusive reading list of classics, such as, ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ and, ‘Animal Farm’ and I am aiming to discover some helpful textbooks on beginning degree-level English. I also read online about starting a blog; it bodes well for writers in the future and enables you to get familiar with this genre of writing. I also read that the best type of blogs are travel blogs. From the travel writing I analysed during A Level English Language and Literature, I knew that no ordinary two-day city break would be seen as interesting enough to require an entire blow-by-blow daily diary entry. So I thought to myself, why not go on a proper trip. We’re not talking the extreme – there will be no living out of a backpack in the middle of the South America. At this moment in time, the plans I have for travel in 2017 before I embark on my real adventure, studying English at university, is flying to Paris for a few days, seeing everything I possibly can, absorbing all the culture and life of the French capital like a sponge. From this point on, I will drive through the countryside of France and into Belgium and then eventually coming to a stop in Amsterdam. Although these plans will most likely be altered, I am looking forward to documenting my experiences along the way.

Until I embark on my trip, I thought I could post about other things that interest me. These posts will probably be about art I am fascinated by, whether that be paintings, literature or film, or about my everyday experiences of life that I can share and document here.

Well, I think that’s all I have to say for my little introduction. Here’s to many more posts in the not-too-distant future.

Thanks for reading!

Anthony Marshall