Have you ever woken up one morning with an idea for a change of direction in life, and immediately get to work putting things into motion? That was me last week.
When I finished university in March of 2015 I was considering studying to become an early childhood teacher. I decided not to go down that path because, at the time, the idea of studying again straight away was utterly unappealing to me. I wanted to get on with my life, and be an adult with a full-time job and a social life. So, I began to pursue that and eventually got a job as a receptionist for a company in the city. It sounded like a great fresh-out-of-uni job, but by the end of my first week I was beginning to be acutely aware that this was not the environment for me (offices) and these were not my people (corporate types) and this was not a good use of my brain or experience (organising someone else’s dry cleaning is not ‘living my best life’). Eventually, I left, and then began the tedious journey of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.
The question of what to do with your life is not always an easy one to ask yourself or one with consistent answers. I’ve wanted to be so many things in my life – clinical psychologist, artist, entrepreneur, YouTube creator, and so much more (teenager: photographer or actress). I still want to be so many things in my life! My goodness, there are endless options. But the one thing that I keep coming back to is my interest in child development and wellbeing. Children fascinate me. I love being around them, getting to peek into their worlds and see things from their perspectives. I love to teach them new things, be it throwing a ball, counting, or writing their own name. I love seeing them discover the world and learn new things. Alongside this fascination is the fact I’ve always had an immense urge to be a mother. Above all other things I could do with my time, eventual motherhood is the one I am most excited about. I like to nurture people, especially children.
Last week on Monday two things happened that were the catalysts for my change of direction. One was that I ran into a family friend who was asking me how I was doing and what I was up to. I admit I felt a deep sense of embarrassment as I admitted to not actually doing very much at all. I shouldn’t feel embarrassed. There are reasons I’m not working full-time, and I don’t actually have to be in the same stage of life as other 28-year-olds (full-time job, house or near to it, married, maybe kids). But, I felt shame and embarrassment, and I felt a sense of urgency to get the ball rolling in a direction I felt good about. The second event was a new book club that I attended with other 20-somethings. I listened as some of them talked about their studies and careers, and I felt, again, that acute awareness that I had stalled in my life. I felt a sense of urgency to make some kind of change and move in some kind of direction.
That night I stayed up too late and trawled through local job listings to see if anything came up that I could a) do, and b) would get me going in a direction that felt good. Mostly what happened was that I realised I can’t drive trucks, weld, and probably can’t lift 20kg boxes in a factory. My other realisation was that there were quite a few job openings in Early Childhood Education and that I wasn’t qualified for any of them. I felt sad, because, I realised, I would really like to teach kids and have a meaningful impact on their lives. I went to bed that night with a niggling sense that this might be the direction for me to go in. This might be the best option for me.
I woke up and the feeling was still there, a sense that this was a direction that felt right for me. I spent Tuesday researching different study options and finally settled on a college that specialises in Early Childhood programmes. They have a distance learning option so I don’t have to go to campus except for a couple of workshops, and they have a one year Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) which you can start at any time. I emailed them to enquire, found out I would qualify to apply for the Grad. Dip. and began the application process on Wednesday. Part of the application process is contacting early childhood education centres to see if they would be willing to be your ‘home centre’ – the place you work at throughout study, which is a requirement of the diploma programme.
This morning I phoned my first centre of choice, one that a nephew of mine attended. I’ve been there and really loved it, the atmosphere was always so warm and lovely. I spoke with the manager and she was amazing, and hopefully I will have a place with them! I’m really excited to go and meet with the centre tomorrow and fill out some paperwork. I can hopefully complete the college application process after I have that paperwork done. Then it will be a case of wait-and-see with fingers crossed. I don’t foresee any issues with my application, but I don’t want to assume anything just yet.
So, what does all this mean for YouTube, and this blog? I would like to continue with both if I can. I will certainly be busy with studying and working, but I enjoy doing YouTube too much to give it up just yet. The only reasons I can think of that might induce me to quit would be if they interfere with school, it becomes too much work to manage, or if my YouTube and social media presence (which is really minimal, let’s be honest) has a negative impact on my ability to work in early childhood education. It should be ok since my channel, blog and social media platforms are pretty family-friendly. I avoid swearing as much as possible (except maybe on Twitter – I should work on that) and sharing questionable content. I try to share only things I wouldn’t mind my grandparents viewing, for example.
I’m feeling excited and really positive about this new direction. It feels really good to be doing something that I know is going to benefit me in the long-term. I got into such a stagnant spot and felt really stuck with my life. It was affecting my mental health a bit and just generally felt really icky. It’s not at all fun. I’m the kind of person that likes to have a purpose and to have things that I’m working toward. Tangible things, especially, like a fixed-term for something, a specific end-point, or a particular kind of experience. It feels good to have a little more of that in my life again.