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month of thankfulnessthoughts

Misguided counselling [Day 12 of Thankfulness]

currently: listening to 'Slow Dancin' by Two Worlds.

Day 12: Misguided counselling
Career counsellors are basically meant to do one thing- counsel you on how you can get your career. But sometimes they try to counsel you out of it. Or at least mine did at school.

I was pretty sure how I would handle the next 3 years of my life at 18. Go to this one uni, take Communications, major in journalism, become a writer, then become an editor of an online magazine. I didn't really need counselling as I told them my plan but they seemed to think otherwise.

"You don't need a degree for writing. You don't need to do that course."

Um excuse me? I had expected them to praise me on my plan. I was one of a few Year 13s who were certain on what course to do and searched what was the best university in the country for it. Why where they saying I didn't need it?

"You have such great grades for graphics and photography. Excellence grades in those subjects are hard to get. There aren't many jobs for writing so you should be applying for design courses. You would definitely make more money in that industry, and you could still do your writing on the side," they said.


I walked out of the careers room feeling doubtful of everything I thought I had set out. It's true - there's not a lot of money in writing, and there's not a great deal of jobs. Was I better off going to design school?

I thought I'd be open to her suggestions and give it a go to see how far I'd get in case I changed my mind. I put a lot of effort into building the perfect portfolios for two design school applications (which cost to get by the panel), and still applied for my communications course. Now it was about waiting.

The first rejection letter came in from one of the design courses. A very simply written 'sorry, your application was not successful' was all that was required to give me a blow to my confidence.

The second rejection letter from the other design school came in a few weeks later. The afternoon that I found out, I left the house, ran to the beach, and sat there for a couple of hours letting the floodgates open. I didn't feel good enough. This careers counsellor had led me down a false sense of security, like I had all the other options to consider. And in the end, I had only one.

It was awful waiting for the final letter. There were only 300 places in communications, and if I had already been rejected from two university courses maybe I wasn't even good enough for the one I wanted the most.

This story obviously had a good ending. I got into the course I wanted, I got to major in journalism, and now I'm playing 'editor' for a website.

What's funny is the bit in-between - when I returned to the school and the careers counsellor told me how glad and proud they were that I got into my communications course. I could have brought up how they were the ones that didn't believe I should do it. But, I didn't.

So Mel, tell us. Why are you so thankful for this moment in your life? You unnecessarily paid all this money to get rejected for courses you didn't want to get into, just because someone suggested you'd make more money from design.

It's not necessarily a pride thing where I'm glad I proved them wrong. It's because it showed me how to trust my own instincts and what I believe in. Not everything is certain in life but when do you feel certain, you shouldn't let anything shake it or get in your way. Be confident, and be thankful.

(photo from 2009. I joined a writing workshop and we wrote on concrete.)

For the month of January 2016, I'm writing 31 personal stories about things in my life I'm thankful for. See all my posts during my month of thankfulness here.

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