Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Taking Control Of My Life

Photo by Tim Chung @iamtimchung
I was never really good at anything in school. Granted, listening in class never took priority over trying to keep myself together while bullies threw bits of paper at me, stole my pens and kicked me under tables. School was pretty shit for me, and maybe that just added to the fact that I wasn't really interested in any of it. Not going to university was never an option from me, as it was just a given expectation in my family (though I did want to go anyway), but my lack of interest always worried my family.

When I moved to the UK for boarding school, I experienced pure education bliss for the last 2 years of high school. For once, I felt like I had total control. I studied the subjects I was interested in, I did well in most of them, and I really enjoyed going to school with people whose primary focus was not making my life miserable.

When it came to choosing what to study and what university I wanted to go to, what I wanted didn't matter. My father decided in his head that I should go into Hotel Management, which still makes me laugh because he couldn't have found a worst fit. I knew didn't want to go, but I also didn't know what I did want. I was forced to pack up my life in the UK and say goodbye to the only people I ever considered to be my real friends.

I moved to Switzerland for 3 miserable months. I sat through lectures about cutlery, learned the correct way to chop a zucchini and frankly, I was drunk for the rest of it. I was at the height of my depression, and I took control of my life the only way I could. After mistreating my body for 3 months straight, I got so ill that I couldn't physically get up to mindlessly autopilot through my day. Once I hit rock bottom, something shifted in my mind. I didn't care who it would upset anymore, because I was done living a life I hated to fuel someone else's happiness. Dropping out of that University and getting on a one-way flight back to Portugal was, and always will be the best thing I have ever done in my life.

After 9 really difficult months of dealing with the consequences of my decision to drop out and go home, I moved back to the UK to study Advertising and Film Production. After a year at that university, I transferred to a university in London. I knew I wanted to go into Advertising, but doing a joint course was pulling my focus from what I was really interested in. I felt like I was falling behind, and I didn't feel like I was in the right place yet. So once again, I weighed out my pros and cons, packed up my life and started over again.

Sitting here with a First Class Honours degree in my preferred field of study still feels surreal. It might have taken me 5 years and 3 different Universities to get here, but I got here. I have a job I love at a company I'm passionate about. I get up in the morning and do what I love every day, surrounded by like-minded people that keep me laughing when things get stressful.

I grew up being told that it doesn't matter what you do, so long as the pay is good. I'm here to tell you that there isn't enough money in the world that makes up for hating your work life. Don't get me wrong, every job has its challenges and I certainly don't wake up excited to spend 2 hours commuting and 8 hours in front of a screen... But it's MY commute and it's MY screen. I picked it. I worked for it. I took control of my life and I relish the sense of ownership I have over every good and every bad day. And it feels fucking great.


  1. remember Julie B from Tennessee; this is the son of 3 Bens, 3 Bennies. remember, remember, remember

  2. This is super inspiring and relatable for me, I'm literally in my third uni now (though fourth if you include the uni I went to for one week before leaving) and finally studying something I'm interested in for myself and it feels so good, even when I hate the uni workload and obviously won't LOVE 5-day weeks in front of a screen, I know it's what I chose and am happy with!

    1. That's amazing, seing people taking control of their lifes. That is so relatable, I know that You don't know me but I just wanted to say that. xx