Here’s to not knowing!
Whilst I’m no role model, I want to share my story of how I ended up at Juice Academy and how it’s okay to not know what to do with your life.
The gap year
Who’s to blame? University is so forced upon young people that it seems like it’s the only option for a successful career. So as a naïve 17-year-old, I spent hours and hours on my personal statement, gaining different experiences and decided university was the ‘right’ route for me to take.
That was until Covid-19 really hit. Dare I say it was a blessing in disguise? Here’s why:
In the mist of the dreaded pandemic, I genuinely couldn’t imagine moving miles away from home, studying online and not being able to meet my fellow students. Being in a different city, which was already daunting enough, and now having to isolate and be an actual adult by myself with little to no contact? No thanks. After thinking long and hard, I pulled out of my accommodation, student loan and my course and decided right then, it wasn’t the right thing.
I’ll take a gap year, I thought to myself.
Unfortunately, a gap year meant I was stuck at home and all my friends were moving to university. I was sad to say, jealous, even though it was my decision to not go. The world of social media is a beautiful thing, but it’s certainly glamorised in some aspects. I could see my friends slowly forgetting about me and making new friends.
But it was okay.
At the time, it felt like the end of the world. But because of this, I reunited with old friends, made a bunch of new ones and found so much confidence in myself. I found I didn’t need to rely on others to have a good time and over the course of my gap year I was the most confident in myself that I’ve ever been.
It worked out… or did it?
I found comfort in my silly little job, where I stacked shelves and gossiped for hours. Until I realised, I had no career prospects here and I was simply just making money and passing time.
I realised I always had this passion for caring for others, maybe that’s why I loved my job at ASDA so much. So, I took the leap and joined the North West Ambulance Service as a call handler.
This is it, I thought. I found my dream role! Or so I thought. I went tumbling back to 17-year-old me and the loneliness crept in once again. I loved the job, but I worked night shifts and had barely any social life and my mental health took a spiral downwards.
I cried to my parents about everything and realised how unhappy I was in my ‘dream career’. I felt like I was starting my gap year all over again.
So, I opened my ancient laptop, that I hadn’t touched in two years since applying to university and began searching for a new career path. I still had the passion to care for others, but I’ve always had a creative mind and that was my true passion. (Unfortunately, in the eyes of the world, taking a creative route was a slim option for me.)
Finding Juice Academy
After hours and hours of searching, I realised an apprenticeship was the way to go. I wasn’t skilled in many things; sure, I had customer service skills but that was pretty much it.
And there it was: The Juice Academy.
It checked every box I was looking for, so I applied, not having that same confidence I once had, so the chance (in my mind) of getting this apprenticeship was nearly impossible. Until I had an email to complete the next steps. They must do this with everyone, I thought. I told my parents I applied, more jokingly than anything as I didn’t expect to get a place, and they encouraged me to continue.
And then a message came through about having an interview, and still I thought, this happens with everyone. Then another interview came through. I attended both, fighting my insecurities and pretending to be the confident me I was just a few months prior.
A day before my 20th birthday, a phone call came through. You’ve been offered a role! And literally an hour after, another phone call came through to tell me I was offered another role. Maybe this doesn’t happen to everyone? So, of course, I accepted the one I felt really drawn to and that was for DentsuMB (now Dentsu Creative).
And on the day of my 20th birthday, I celebrated. I cried (happy tears) whilst being surrounded by my all my incredible friends that I met during the lonely stage of my life and had my sister by my side who supported me and believed in me. It felt surreal and like all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. A new chapter in my life was about to start!
Nearly 9 months down the line, my confidence is back, the insecure thoughts are long gone, and I haven’t had that same feeling that I was in the wrong career, or that I was simply passing time. I have my social life back and I’m still making so many memories whilst working and learning.
However, I still don’t know if this is the right career choice. And that’s okay. Right now, it’s the right career choice for me but who knows in 10 years’ time? And if that time does come, which I really hope it doesn’t, it’ll be something I’ll accept with open arms.
There’s so much pressure to find the right career choice at a young age and it shouldn’t matter. Do what makes you happy and if it takes weeks to get there, or years then that should be okay. If I could tell my younger self, (fair enough only three years younger me), that every jump and pay cuts I took was an opportunity to be happy with life and not to worry, I would.
So, to end… as long as you’re happy, it’s all that matters!
Katie Jones, Cohort 34, Junior Content Producer and Social Media Apprentice at Dentsu Creative