If I could do it all again…

I’d change everything.

I know it’s not usual to say so, but I would. I made so many bad choices, acted contrary to my inclinations because of outside pressure and didn’t take the opportunities I should have.

1999

My A level choices were too narrow, which meant my university options were also narrow. I should have forced myself to step out of my comfort zone and gone to the local college instead of staying at school. I’d have had a wider choice of subjects and it would have prepared me better for university. I’d have studied maths, chemistry, history, English language and literature, and politics I think. Maybe I would still have gone on to study the sciences or maybe I’d have focused on journalism and politics. I don’t know.

That really irks me. How would things have been different if I’d worried less about practical considerations and family expectations, and followed my instincts?

2001

University. I did not make enough of an effort to get involved. I wanted to, but too shy and nervous, too concerned with appearance, I sat back and kept out of it all. I wasted such a fantastic opportunity.

I also knew within the first week that my chosen degree wasn’t for me. I should have changed straight away to Natural Sciences and studied a much broader range of subjects. Stubbornness and fear prevented me from it. By the time I did change degrees in my second year I didn’t have an awful lot of wriggle room.

Now

I regret nothing, the experience was lived and some of it I enjoyed. I would still do things differently if I could. Then again, I might now be wishing I’d stuck to chemistry.

I’m considering studying part time for more A Levels and maybe another degree, once I have a job that’ll pay enough for me to afford to study again. I’ve worked full time and studied in the past, so I don’t think I’d have a problem doing that again.

We can’t know what might have been, but if one path doesn’t lead you home then find another and keep searching until you find something fulfilling.

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