Thursday, 8 October 2009

Thursday 8th October 2009

When I was little I wanted to be a vet, after realising that vets have to put down animals I changed my mind to becoming a zoologist. I stayed with that until the day I had to make my mind up in high school of what to course to apply for at university. My father wanted me to do architecture and that's something I had absolutely no interest in but to keep him happy I applied to three universities to do architecture. However for architecture they expect you to be decent at art and have taken it at school, as a science geek I did physics, biology and chemistry along with English, maths and geography. Since there was another three spaces on the application form I decided to go for marine biology, my logic was I like water and I like zoology so lets combine them.

Few months later I got my results and to my surprise I got an interview for a position at a university for architecture. I wasn't exactly delighted by this since I didn't want to do it and my joy decreased even further when I read that I had to bring an art portfolio. I'm actually not that bad at art as long as it's to do with nature, so I got to work creating a portfolio to show the architecture dude at the university. I soon realised that I can't just take nature pictures so I diversified into drawing pictures of the grim reaper, don't ask me why, it seemed perfectly sensible at the time.

During the interview at Dundee university I was asked questions like who's my favourite architect, what type of work do I like etc etc. From my lame answers and my portfolio I think it was clear to the dude that I wasn't architect material. Hell I didn't want to spend seven years of my life at university.

So I looked at my options, I had got into two university for marine biology and I picked the closest one. University was scary. Being shy I didn't enjoy it very at all and not being a drinker made it even worse. Since I was a fairly good student at school I kept that up at university and went to every lecture, tutorial and lab class I was expected for. My timetable was OK except for one day where I had lectures at 9am, 10am then one at 5pm. Since I travelled from home I didn't have much to do for six hours so at first I went and walked around for a few hours, into town and back sometimes twice. Eventually I began to detest having to wait around for that length of time and I took the bold step to not bother going to the 5pm lecture. I was a rebel!! To my surprise nothing was mentioned so for the rest of the term I didn't go to another 5pm lecture. In my defence the lecture was on environmental science and it was all about rocks.

It was at that point I realised I hated environmental science. Marine biology was not what I had thought it was. However I was enjoying the chemistry and biology units I was doing at the time. Unfortunately I enjoyed chemistry too much and that wasn't needed, even worse was to come when the university decided to close down it's chemistry department. After two and a half years I was buggered, I didn't have the right amounts of units done in certain requirements and I hadn't performed as well as I should of. I then was asked to explain to the vice dean of natural science why I hadn't done that well. I wrote a completely honest emotionally draining letter but they didn't believe it. Few weeks later I received a letter stating that I wouldn't be completing my course. I was devastated. I really was, education was all I knew. I had no idea what else I could do with my life.

For 6 months I dwelled and dwelled on it. I pondered joining the RAF but my father said that would be stupid. I was 21 and I was lost.

Eventually I applied to university again, this time to do Biochemistry. I got accepted into Queens university Belfast and to the University of Glasgow and since Glasgow is closer I went there. It's a very good university a lot different from my first one. Travelling to Glasgow daily wasn't much fun but I didn't want to fail again. I attended lectures, tutorials and labs. I had to do units on biology and chemistry and I picked exploring the cosmos for my third unit. I was told to do so by a friend who said it was an easy course. It was, first day we learnt the planets. It was quite an interesting course and I was surprised how much I did enjoy learning about each planet. At the start the class started out as over 200, as the weeks went by the class size dwindled lower and lower. I didn't mind that since I'm not a people person and in the end I had a few back rows of the lecture theatre all to myself, finally I could nap.

In my second term I started to skip some of the lectures on exploring the cosmos. Thoughtfully the lecturers left notes out at the front of the class room and there was a door at the back so you could pick up the notes then leave. I didn't skip the lectures due to being bored, sadly I skipped them because I had another lecture directly after it that was right over the other side of campus up a tower. This may sound fine but if I get somewhere late I won't go in because I don't like the thought of everyone staring at me and since this lecture was more important I skipped the other to be there early.

After my first year of my new university I worked over the summer as a landscape gardener. Wasn't very keen on it but it was money and I did like gardens. During this time I finally plucked up the courage to go to the doctors and see about my "unhappiness" (I never called it depression since I didn't think I was worthy of calling it depression). He referred me to counselling which took a few months to get into but also at the same time he booked me in to be tested for Marfans syndrome. He only did that because I'm tall. Luckily after lots of x-rays, tests and ECGs and even having to wear some heart thingy for 24hours they discovered I didn't have Marfans syndrome but hey they did find a hole/leak in my heart. Soon after this whilst working I experience my first anxiety attack, I had never had one before and I couldn't breathe, I was sure it was a heart attack. My boss called an ambulance which was probably a bit of an over reaction and after a short while they got me to calm down.

I was glad to start my second year at university but soon I had another anxiety attack and that made me very paranoid. I didn't want anyone to see me in that state. It got worse and worse. I had difficulty breathing and staying calm in lectures, exams were even worse. I couldn't stand being in a room full of people, it was so quiet and I could hear my heart thumping harder and harder. Every exam was the same, each one I tried to do I had to leave. I managed to pass the year on good laboratory and essay marks.

Getting into third year was a relief, labs lasted longer and that's where I felt at home. Unfortunately we had more tutorials, involving presentations and the exams were now longer. I tried and failed to stay calm and buggered up the year, not getting into honours or even doing enough to graduate. That was last year now I'm lost again.

I don't know what I want to do or what I want to be. I just know I want to do something.


  1. It does sound like you can and will do something you like, rather than be stuck in "just a job".

  2. I hope so but I don't think I can be very picky at the moment.