The unexpectedness of life.

Wendy left a comment on my post yesterday that made me think. And naturally, with all the thinking, I thought I’d share…

Back in my last year of high school, after a bit of too-ing and fro-ing about my future career, I decided that I was going to do a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in photography. I wasn’t sure if Fine Arts really suited me, but I liked the idea of spending my days dressed in over-sized painting shirts, with a camera in my hand.

I was also pretty sure that within a year of completing the final photoshoot for my course, or whatever it is fine arts students do, I would be famous, and there would be many free things. I place a lot of stock in the word free…

My portfolio was constructed with the help of a family friend, who I relied on for advice on everything, from photo choices, to the picture sizes. After the portfolio was completed I sent it away and was, after the worlds longest 3-4 week wait, accepted into my university of choice.

After that? Well I was ecstatic of course. I was destined for a life of artistic awesomeness.I would drink coffee, probably, and live in a studio apartment. There would be big shirts, artistic black and white photographs, and I would smell constantly of developer – the most heavenly smell in the world. Clearly I hadn’t been introduced to Lush yet.

It was all a mater of breezing through my Bursary exams. And I knew I would because I had no reason to believe I wouldn’t pass. Back then I breezed through exams. Most of the time without even taking ten minutes study for them.

It was only when I was standing in my bedroom, contemplating my results envelope, when I got my first twinge of apprehension.

I opened the envelope to find that I had failed English – the class which I had yet to fail anything in – and photography. Photography wasn’t so much a surprise, because I had very little idea what I was supposed to be doing for most of the year (my teacher wasn’t big on explanation or instruction.) English absolutely blew me away.

All of a sudden I wasn’t going to university. I wasn’t going to live in a studio apartment and wear big shirts. I had no idea what I was doing.

I ended up getting a place in a year long diploma of Computer Graphic Design in Wellington. Upon finishing the course the institution offered me a job as the receptionist and administration assistant. Since then I’ve been floating around in admin type positions, and have begun a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science and International Relations.

Six month into me working in Admin I realised I was bored. I took up going to the gym and Kickboxing. It took me another year to get up the courage to go back to Uni, and since then I’ve also taken up Taekwon Do, and learned how to Scuba Dive.

I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I do have some clearer ideas of what I don’t want to be or do though. I don’t want to drink coffee. Big shirts are stupid. I would be so disapointed in myself if I spent another 10 years in boring admin positions that I loathe.

My point is, failing Bursary changed my life. It was unexpected, jarring, and scary. It had a lasting effect on my life. And if I got the choice, I probably wouldn’t go back and change it. My life right now is so freaking interesting, that I don’t think I’d like to be a Photographer who drinks coffee, lives in a studio apartment, and wears big shirts.



6 thoughts on “The unexpectedness of life.

  1. Yeah, talk about unexpected…

    And as for photography… I didn’t actually know what the hell Photoshop was, or what it was for until I did my Graphic Design course, and I can remember Mr Taylor making me do something with it and me being all what the hell!

    He also spent a lot of time telling me to take more pictures of clouds. When I did, he was all
    “Not like that. Go just take some photos of clouds.”

    So I did again and he said that they were “exactly the same as last time”, and that I needed to go take some pictures of clouds. And I was all: ‘huh, that’s funny, because your instructions there? Yeah, they’re also exactly the same as last time, and nothings changed… I’d say it’s pretty clear I don’t have a fucking clue what you’re on about.’

  2. I must say, finding out that I didn’t get into uni was devastating for me too. I was like, “My life is over now. I am a big failure!” But then I was kind of like, “Fuck it” because it certainly isn’t the end of the world.

    I thought I was going to take a course in graphics design, become a freelance artist and then live my life like that and move out in five or six years. Oh how reality set in. I realised that to get the rank for graphics design, I would never get it through my HSC. I would have to get in through TAFE or some other way. Which really pissed me because that’s not how I wanted it to be. I’ve learned that planning life is just a really dumb thing to do.

    I still don’t know what I want to do, and how old are you? In your mid 20s? And I’m 18!

  3. Congrats. Not on what you have done to date, but on getting on with it. As the song “Class of 97 – Wear Sunscreen” goes; “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.”

    Life isn’t a dress rehersal. You get a shot at the cherry every now and then with something that will make you want to get up in the mornings and smile (Yes, even you (smiling) in the mornings lol).
    The rest of the time you work towards that goal while doing, say, an admin job.

    One of the proudest moments for a parent is to see their off-spring succeed. It doesn’t matter what they succeed in, just that they feel the accomplishment of that success. To know what it’s like.

  4. Dads are awesome they always know what to say!

    Bursary Arts marking was crap. Utter crap. Was all about first impressions and if you gave a bad first impression there was no going back. I saw some fantastic work in our school that didnt pass. Stupid bursary marking for arts…

  5. i’m 27, i’ve been “in the workforce” for 6 years, i have a fairly useless degree that has no bearing on my life / profession, and still have absolutely no idea what i want to do with my life. that used to bother me a ton, but a few years ago i realized i don’t really CARE what i do with my life (professionally, anyway) – my job is just my job, and ITS job is to make the rest of my life as awesome as possible.

    ps: your dad is super cute.

  6. Wendy: University isn’t the be-all and end-all. I’m 22, and careers and life in general when you’re 18 seem so life-and death sometimes, but the truth is that they’re so not. The majority of people these days have more than one career anyway, so your decision on what to do straight out of high school is less of a ‘whole life’ thing and more of a ‘right now’ thing.

    Dad: If I ever find myself smiling in the morning I’ll be sure to give you a call and let you know. Hell I might as well give the media a quick call too… just to ensure that the moment is recorded for prosperity…

    Adey: Yeah, my Dad’s the best 🙂
    There’s got to be a better way for marking the creative courses in high school. I hope the new systemworks better at it.

    Alice: Yeah, you know how there are those people who ‘live to work’ and the ones who ‘work to live’. I’m very firmly in the latter, but I think it would be amazing if I found a job that put me in the former…

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