I’ve always loved studying. I was one of the few who enjoyed school, not for the social aspect, but for the learning aspects. Sure, there were a couple of subjects that didn’t quite interest me, but from a young age, my thirst for knowledge was very apparent. When I was choosing what to study at college, I approached it very pragmatically. I didn’t want to study for the sake of studying, I wanted to graduate with a clearly defined career path as well.
I was lucky enough to find a combination of courses that allowed me to explore my curiosity, but still guide me in the right direction for a suitable job afterward, I thought I’d hit the jackpot. After I graduated, I got an internship in a related field, and then took some time off before landing the first real job that I’d spent four years studying. Like a lot of other people, I suffered from ‘imposter syndrome’. I was constantly waiting for someone to ‘find out’ that I didn’t belong. However, despite the time off, I quickly got back into the swing of things, and unsurprisingly was never ‘called out’ for being a fraud. I wasn’t enjoying my job though. The spark I had when I was studying had disappeared, and I no longer found the field interesting.
I chose to leave and again took some time off. Trying to find my spark, I decided to go back into academia, but in a different field. Switching fields at the postgraduate level doesn’t help someone who is already suffering from imposter syndrome. Throughout my degree, I began to understand that as much as I loved studying and learning new things, academia wasn’t the life for me, even in a different field. It took me a while to accept that everything I had been aiming towards since a teenager, might not actually be the right path for me. All I knew was this path in research, and suddenly it was dissolving in front of my eyes. When I finally came to terms with it, I began to see a whole new world of possibilities that I had never previously considered. Giving up on my dream was hard, but now I’m free to choose a new one that suits me better.