If I were to give 16 year old Melissa some advice now, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Thinking I was going to be married, have my own place and a shit hot job by the age of 25, was most definitely ambitious, looking back it seemed so far away but those years fly by, they really are your most important years, it’s when the most shit happens, well if your anything like me they are. You can’t control what will happen but you can make choices that can change things if they ever go wrong, consider it looking into a crystal ball.
Your friends, they will change, I thought I would be best mates with the same people forever. Truth is, you grow up, you choose different paths and shit happens. Obviously that doesn’t happen to everyone, I went to school with people who are still going strong in some 8+ year friendships, but it doesn’t mean you can follow their passions and dreams, which brings me on to my next point.
Choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life is tough. It’s so much pressure, teachers and parents drum into you how important it is and try to tell you what they think you should do. They are right in some respect (boring I know) but not all of it, think about what you want to do not what they want you to do, write a list, on one side include everything you love doing and the other side write everything you hate. Do some research and see which jobs match your likes.Volunteer and ask questions, like my mum always taught me, if you don’t ask you don’t get. Don’t choose things that you think are glamorous because of what you see on social media, focus on what you see in the mirror and feel inside, that’s what will give you an answer to your own happiness in a career.
University isn’t your only option, looking back I should have gone but it was too late and I had bills to pay. I come from a single parent household and if I wanted anything I had to work for it, I used to be bitter (sometimes I still am) but I know what grafting includes and I’m not afraid of it, if anything I’ll use it to get what I want. Handouts and the luxury of bank of mum and dad just weren’t an option for me. Apprenticeships are becoming more recognised now and you can even achieve degrees out of them. Do some work experience to see what you enjoy, not just for the pathetic 2 weeks you do whilst at school (do they still do that or have I officially become old?) but for a longer period, so you really get to know that industry. Weigh up all your options, it can be really scary but it will benefit your future, if you want the best then you need to be prepared to work for it, it’s a competitive world out there.
I unfortunately f****ed up my most important years, pressure and other reasons took me away from what I should of been doing, I’m paying the price now and that’s working in a job I hate whilst studying on the side for my real passion but I’ve accepted that and I am actually quite fortunate that those life lessons took me to that path.
However it’s not all doom and gloom and there is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s never too late to re train or go into something else. My mum, who’s also an inspiration, retrained and qualified as a nurse at the age of 53, all whilst I was at school and college, she proved you can do anything if you really want it enough. So I have taken the opportunity to do just that and I’m going on to study counselling in hope that I can help people just like me one day. Just because you didn’t make good choices it doesn’t mean your life is over. I kept telling myself this for years, and I still do sometimes now. It can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it’s so far away. Don’t give up, the time will pass anyway, so what have you got to lose?
Life really does teach you a lot, as you make your own path, doors will close but new ones will open, you will meet different people, change your mind constantly and things won’t always turn out as you wanted, but they are there to teach you lessons. If I didn’t experience some of the things I had, I wouldn’t be studying counselling, definitely not and I would most definitely not have this much wisdom for someone my age, LOL!
Don’t be afraid of doors closing, be more excited for the ones opening, you may have to re visit certain doors in the future but your be so prepared it won’t be so bad as the first time it opened. Some are best to leave shut and others will be open forever, life changes constantly, including you, so don’t be so hard on yourself.