Today I skipped a Creative Writing lecture (whoops) in order to attend a careers course, there to try and help you decide what you want to do for a living, and how you’ll get there. It was a great session, there were herbal teas and sandwiches (and a bowl of smoky bacon crisps conveniently on the chair next to me, wonderful!). Obviously the session itself was great too. I’m just waiting to be sent my personal link for a website to create a personality profile to help me decide which jobs I would be suited to doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if it said ‘You’re a maniac, get off the streets for good!’ I only say this because in one of the exercises I insisted that I must gallop all ala Miranda Hart to lectures, cream pie lecturers and stick whoopee cushions on the chair of my future employers for a laugh. It’;s why in my future comedy routine, I have a list of ten reasons why I should never have an office job, involving hiding in stationary cupboards and rolling around in bubble wrap amongst other things.
One of the exercises was about what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was five. To be honest, all I wanted to do was spin around in a circle all break time, to try to understand what being drunk was like (one of my friend’s dads was drunk all the time, so we were curious to find out why he was so ill all the time. It wasn’t pleasant really) or running around with a stick and pretending to slay a dragon or two. I did admit I wanted to be an archeologist or a historian, because I read Horrible Histories and watched way too much Time Team. I also wanted to be a West End actress when I was 13, after seeing Wicked on the stage, and listening to the soundtrack obsessively, I’d be the first autistic Elphaba, I swore to myself. When X Factor came to the screens, I decided I would audition, but them my dear mother reminded me that I can’t sing, so shouldn’t embarrass myself on national television, thus squishing those dreams. When I was fifteen I considered being a sailing instructor, because I was on a course with social services learning how to sail, but, to be honest, being all active isn’t really my cup of tea.
I remember being sixteen, when I was staying with my mum for a weekend, when we were sat down to dinner. My stepdad turned to me, and said, “So, what do you actually want to do with your life, after you’ve done your GCSE’s?” I replied that I wasn’t sure, although I was taking a film and television BTEC, when I got into college, so maybe I’d be a filmmaker, or work for the BBC. My mother then said that perhaps I shouldn’t aim quite so high, so I thought again. Deep down, I wanted to tell her that I wanted to be a writer, and carve a living out of that, but I knew she wouldn’t approve, she wanted me to get a ‘sensible’ career, like my older sister, then studying forensic science at undergraduate level. I remember her saying to me that she’d hoped I’d take an animal care course, and take over the kennels when she retires. But, as much as I do love animals, I couldn’t bear working with them for a living.
I also recall the film festival of 2012, when I invited my mother and sister over to watch some of my work blown up on a cinema screen. I could tell she wasn’t interested in the films, not really. She then asked me about university. I’d said to her that I was applying, but not what I would actually be doing. So I told her, “I’m applying to do a Creative Writing degree.” She was naturally, horrified, and said, “What on earth will you do with that? What career will be open to you?” So I lied, and said I wanted to go into secondary teaching. She still thinks this is the case!
In reality, I still don’t have a clue about what I want to be when I grow up. A few years ago, when I was about to sit my GCSE’s, I felt like I had all the time in the world to plan my future, my career. But now I’m an undergraduate student, I need to start thinking about the next steps. In two years time I’ll graduate, and won’t be able to afford a masters degree, not until I get a proper job. So, I need to start thinking, and fast. I’ve grown up, but I still don’t know what I want to do.