You might know that here at Pink Squid, we just launched our new Education Marketing offering. We’ve come a long way in getting the message out to students across the world – I mean, I remember when education marketing was just a prospectus you might pick up if you went to a careers fair.
Truth be told, I didn’t do many career fairs because at 18 I decided to go against what most of my friends were doing and work full-time in retail instead. It wasn’t the most conventional decision, but to be completely honest I just didn’t have any idea of what I wanted to do and I really didn’t feel like there was much information around what I could do. So I moved out, moved to Brighton and started working. I mean I was living in Brighton and definitely was living the student life in some ways – let’s just say there were quite a few times I worked on minimal sleep.
Was it a smart thing to do (the working, not the not sleeping)? In some ways, I think so, yes. Let me explain why.
As I said, I had no clue what I wanted out of life and what I wanted to do. I had fumbled my way through sixth form, failing my AS levels and then doing a BTEC in media arts instead, which turned into an art foundation. But when it was done I just had no clue where to start and I can’t speak for everyone, but I honestly felt like I had little guidance on what I should do. Both my parents had worked their whole lives and not gone to university or taken any higher qualifications, so they didn’t feel equipped to advise me on going and I just felt very confused. My tutors, as great as they were, didn’t seem to have much time to talk about it and to me, every prospectus I looked at just looked the same and I guess it just didn’t excite me.
However, what I did know was that I wanted independence and to have money to fund said independence. So off I went to work. For the next five years I worked and worked and moved to London, soon becoming a visual merchandiser for a store in Knightsbridge. I enjoyed my job but I wanted to do something with writing, so ended up enrolling on an evening course in Fashion Journalism at Central St Martins – and really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it enough that I decided to pack in my job and go to uni at 25 as a “mature student”. Yep, at 25 you are considered a mature student – even though in my thirties I still wouldn’t say I’m mature.
It was a risk in some ways because I didn’t want to move back home, but I also didn’t know how I would afford it and stay in London. Somehow with the help of friends I’d made and a lot of scrimping and scraping, I did and fast forward three years to me walking across a stage in Southbank with a first in Fashion Journalism in my hand. A few more years later and here I am, doing a job I actually love – it might not be related to fashion journalism, but it incorporates creativity, research and having an impact on people, so it’s safe to say I’m one happy Squid.
But why was it the smart thing for me to do? It was smart because I had no idea what I wanted to do and then when I did go to university, I was super passionate about it. However, perhaps if I had more guidance or even knew about the different options out there, maybe I would’ve gone at 18 and hey, maybe I’d be the CEO of a FTSE company already? There’s still time.
I guess what I’m saying is that I am so pleased that we have launched this offering and are working with educational institutions to communicate their message and highlight the breadth of opportunities they offer to young people. Because knowledge is power, and when we have knowledge we can make informed decisions that could change our lives, and I really wish I’d had a little more help back then to make my mind up.