As I begin writing this from Chile, whilst working the job of my dreams, I find myself at a loss of direction in where to start. How can I possibly describe my journey from university in a piece of writing that will give it enough justice and help other students?
I think it’s best to start from when I realised what was really important to me.
I have always loved English. Even as a child I remember one of my English teachers saying she had left a disruptive class under my ‘instruction’ whilst she popped out of the room for a few minutes. When she returned the class were reading aloud our Hamlet texts student by student whilst I gave instruction. Maybe it was then it should have dawned on me to consider teaching. I loved and excelled at English throughout GCSEs and A Levels and then went on to chose to study English and Creative Writing at Cardiff Met. Choosing my degree was simple, nothing came as easy to me as English and I just didn’t have the same passion for anything else – I wasn’t focusing so much on what I might actually do with the degree after.
I will be forever grateful to the inspiring and incredible lecturers and brilliant minds that I was lucky enough to work with during the course of my three years. From as long as I can remember, (I’m thinking back to when I first learnt to actually write), writing has been a passion to me. Though of course, I never really realised this. I thought it was the same for everyone. It has always given me peace – and I assumed it was just a given that that was what writing did.
Sometimes, (actually, a lot of the time) it takes a while to get into the flow, to focus and tap in to the heart of what is inside. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes – especially now – I have to submit work I’m so unhappy with I can’t bear to look at in again. To have been taught by such fantastic scholars, authors and professors was such a privilege. Those 9am creative writing workshops (9am felt like 5am in my student days, I remember shuddering at an 11am start… oh how unprepared for life I was) were so inspiring because not only did I get to learn from other students’ writing styles, I got advice from brilliant writers and authors themselves on my own work. It is something that I find myself craving now in daily life!
In my second year I studied the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) module, my favourite module, taught by my favourite lecturer Gabriel Roberts. I had never considered TESOL as route before, though by this point I had definitely considered teaching. After university all I knew was that I wanted to travel! I loved everything about the module. It was so interesting, learning how to teach students of English as a foreign language, learning teaching techniques – very different to those of a ‘normal’ teacher. It probably helped that the course was delivered in such an engaging and passionate way by Gabriel.
And so I was excited to have found something I was really good at, and loved, AND meant that I could also travel to anywhere around the world. After graduating I moved to Madrid and studied for my CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults ) in order to teach. It was the best time in my life. I have since realised that Spain is my ‘non-biological home’ and learnt Spanish, met so many amazing new people and travelled the country as well as so many other Spanish speaking countries. It was the best decision I ever made in my life. The past two summers I have spent teaching in Cambridge’s oldest ESL language school where I have witnessed my teaching and confidence growing with every experience.
I am now Travel Ambassador for teflhub. I am currently on a 9 month trip around the world – 3 continents, a month in a different country. My job is to interview English teachers, finding out what it is like to live, eat, teach, socialise, etc in their city. I will also be exploring the places I am in, and making weekly videos and writing weekly articles about what I discover.
Sounds unbelieveable? It is. I have been travelling for a month so far – I write this from the beach town of Iquique in Chile, just before I leave for Peru tomorrow – and I still can’t believe how lucky I am. I owe it all to Gabriel, who brought this job to my attention. After applying with every ounce of genuine passion and determination somehow I was chosen for the job – and I am loving every single second!
Without sounding like a cliche – oh, the dreaded cliche in writing workshops! – I think the best advice I can give to any student, on any course would be to focus on what makes you truly happy. What do you really feel passion for? What makes you feel like forget about anything and everything else? There is no other way to become successful and live the life you’ve always dreamt of. There is no use living out someone else’s dream, someone else’s life. The only way to true success is to do what you love and what you were born to do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. It will find you when you least expect!
Looking for more stories like Lucy’s? Check out the rest of our Life After Uni blog posts.