A New Adventure: My Gap Year Begins Now

Finally this long semester of essays and exams is over, and Thursday – after I handed in my essay at 12.04pm – my gap year began.

Admittedly it didn’t get off to a great start; after handing in that particular essay, I started my 9 hour shift at work, where after 1 hour and 45 minutes I was sent home, after some muppet accidentally dropped a plate on my foot. It doesn’t sound damaging, but I wasn’t able to put weight on it all day! It’s still pretty bruised I think I might just survive. (Not a fab start at all)

Anyway, I’ve got big plans for the year ahead. It’s been a real tricky decision to make, there’s been hundreds of pros and cons, and I’ve had many conversations with so many different people. Ultimately I think I’ve come to the right conclusion.

When I got to Uni last year, I loved it. I loved the people, the lifestyle, the freedom, even the responsibilities and work load – but not the course. I knew that the course wasn’t right for me. However, promises of a new (more practical based) course were yet to be fulfilled, and most of my course spent the year long awaiting the next. When September 2014 rolled around we all went to newly put on dance classes and acting sessions, our course was a more equal balance of practical and theory as promised. It’s brilliantly designed, and my Senior Lecturer/Course Organiser Andy has done an amazing job – everyone else is thriving off of it. But still it wasn’t right for me. I’ve spoken to a lot of different people, one being my closest friend Amy, and I think what she said sums it up. She said ‘Once I’d spoken to you properly I just knew your heart wasn’t in Musical Theatre anymore’ and so, after listening to me properly and giving me a chance to explain, she supports my decision.

The easiest way I can explain it Musical Theatre has become more of a hobby, than a career or lifestyle. I will always love it, I love being on stage, I’ll hold my days at Italia Conti fondly in my heart. But can I spend my life waiting for that dream role? I really don’t think so.

So I’m coming to my plan B, which is very quickly becoming my plan A. Events Planning. I’ve always had a little flare for it, always enjoyed organising things here and there. Just last year I ran a singing group and planned a charity concert for the Lucy Faithfull foundation. My god was it hard work; planning rehearsals, making posters and tickets, making sure everything was ready for the day. There was so much to do, and what seemed like so little time when it come down to it. However, I loved every minute of it. And the outcome? Near £300 going towards helping to prevent sexual abuse – What could be a better cause?

The more I grow up, the more I think about my future. My future family (I’m talking faaaaaaaaar off). I find myself making decisions baring in mind what will be best for them. Maybe it’s naive, or maybe it’s more sensible than I have to be right now. I’m not saying I’m saving every penny I can for a child’s Uni fund – but it can’t hurt to bare in mind the kind of future that I want, and how to get to that point.

So I’ve planned out the next year thoroughly. At this moment in time I work for a company called Caper And Berry, a catering company, at the Chichester Festival Theatre/Minerva Theatre. Now after speaking to many people, it seems that from experience the best way to get into Events Planning is to go up the catering route – so in other words I’m in the right place. I’ve got a wonderful manager who has connections in all the right places, and has helped me get some experience lined up. Luckily for me he knows the team at the infamous Goodwood Manor House, and he’s got me in! What an incredible place to have on my CV.

There’s been the question of ‘Why don’t you just wait till the end off Uni?’ It’s a good one. The course I want to switch to is Musical Theatre and Arts Management, which is currently only in it’s first year. So that leaves me with the option of taking a gap year, or taking another year of funding. I know realistically most people don’t even fully pay off their student loans, but another £12000 on top of what my student loan will already add up to? (Which is around £40000!!!!!!) How crazy is that?!

People keep saying ‘Well what if you don’t go back?’ I went to Uni because it was the next step. Not many people in our year didn’t take that next step, and honestly it just seemed like the right thing to do. I’m now creating a path that is right for me, and not following in other people’s footsteps. So what if I don’t go back? Do my qualifications define who I am? Are they the be all and end all of my existence? I don’t think so. I’m not denying education is important – I almost feel like I’m ungrateful to be giving up the chance when so many people don’t even get that opportunity. A degree can only help, but at the same time I know so many people who didn’t even pass their GCSE’s and are now on crazy wages in jobs they love.  Just because I’m considering leaving Uni doesn’t mean I’ve finished learning. I’ve always has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, so if I don’t go back to finish my degree, I know that won’t be the end up of my education.

What if I regret it? It’s a possibility. What if in 5 years time I sit back and think ‘Damn, I should’ve finished it.’ So then I can’t study? No? What about adult education courses? Or saving enough money to come back to Uni and fund it myself? There’s always options. I might get through the next year and end up wanting nothing more than to go back. BUT if in a years time, I don’t return, it’ll be because I have thought about it in depth and know that I am making the right decision for myself.

If nothing else, over the next year I shall at least pass my driving test…or just start taking lessons in general…or actually order my provisional, that would probably be a good bet.

I’m fully aware that there are people who are so against my decision, and many more who totally agree with it. I know, no matter what the outcome, that those who love me will support me, no matter whether they agree or not.

I’m so excited for the next year to begin, starting with a very romantic holiday with my lovely boyfriend in January. I’m finally getting to go to Venice AKA Italy, and I cannot wait! It’s been the one place I’ve always wanted to go and now I’m actually going! January I’m so ready for you! (Also, December the 30th for Pay Day, that wouldn’t go amiss either – I’m just saying!)

Stay Sassy (And always do what is right for you)

Lauren

xxx

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