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Success is Not a One Way Street

By: Kiran Dhanda

Throughout my life I was led to believe that a successful individual is one who is able to attend university pretty much straight after high school, gets married after getting their graduation and begins a family.  However, I was never quite able to convince myself to reach any level of motivation to join, what I would call, the rat race. Don’t get me wrong, I was terrified of never finding my career route, but I still couldn’t quite follow the conventional route that was being thrown at me as my only option.

I stayed in high school and completed sixth year, however, despite spending a year studying for my three Highers, I did not attend any of my exams. It was a low point but ultimately school just wasn’t for me and exams just gave me loads of anxiety. So, I left with no Highers and began looking into college courses.  For the sake of doing something whilst I figured out what I wanted to do with my life, I joined an NQ Hospitality programme, followed by an HNC and HND in Business. At this point I started to enjoy some aspects of education and research in general, and with decent marks I joined GCU to complete a BA (Hons) in Business Management.  

I think people who pick the correct degree for themselves the first time, and to pursue their careers within that field is a very lucky thing to have.  However, I knew Business was not something I wanted to pursue, and to again follow the conventional route would have made me burn out and become unsatisfied with my career choices.

This is where I discovered how useful volunteering can be when trying to gain experience, and/or figuring out what it is you’re actually interested in. It’s actually an extremely useful tool, which I wish was given more emphasis in my formative years.  I worked in Amina MWRC, alongside volunteering in Rape Crisis Scotland, The Silverline, MCR Pathways and The Mosaic Project. All of which, eventually provided me with enough experience and confidence to finally apply for something I was passionate about doing from a young age, but felt too inexperienced to pursue – Social Work.

Currently I am completing my postgraduate in Social Work, and I am finally fully engaged in my education in a way I’ve never really felt before; which speaks for itself. I am enjoying it so much that I’m now looking at potential PhD opportunities in 5-6 years.

I feel the lesson here is that, once you figure out what you want to do, it won’t feel so much like a job anymore. I think the best thing I did for myself was always know that I will be okay and never put too much pressure on myself. I gave myself space to grow, a stern talking to when I needed it (I’m not mad, I promise) and if I really wanted to do something, even it meant delaying my career slightly I just did it; however, I also never left a single thing incomplete, even if I didn’t enjoy it because I firmly believe that knowledge is power, even if you don’t necessarily understand how it will be useful at the time.  

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