About eighteen months ago, I raised a few people’s eyebrows by announcing my decision to leave the marketing sector to become an occupational therapist. It was not an easy decision, as it involved parting from a full-time job, taking out additional student loan, and being fully committed to academic study at postgraduate level. Making such a decision was not something that I was going to take it lightly, and at times, it was a bit overwhelming. Nonetheless, I did a simple mind-mapping exercise and it really helped me to have the clarity that I needed. If you are considering doing a postgraduate degree, I hope you will find this blog post useful.
I asked myself ‘what do I want my career to be?’, ‘what excites me most?’ and ‘what do I want to leave behind as a legacy?’ After speaking to a few of my friends who know me well over a cup of coffee, I realised I wanted my career to be in the healthcare sector. I was, and still am excited by the prospect of helping people in need, and I knew I wanted to leave a legacy by putting something back into society. Shortly afterwards, I narrowed my chosen career path down to Occupational Therapy. Now, the questions you may want to ask yourself might be different to mine, but that’s absolutely fine. The most important thing is to keep exploring the different career paths and opportunities open to you, because you’ll never be sure of what you want unless you start questioning.
I often think of an investment in my education as an investment in my future. There is no doubt that postgraduate study does involve a substantial financial cost, such as the tuition fees and the general living expenditure. However, the government loan for postgraduate students has improved over recent years, and with careful budgeting, it is now feasible for many people like me.
You may want to consider what your current commitments are at this stage of your life (child care, mortgage payment or employment), because studying a postgraduate degree comes with a huge amount responsibility - and, unless you are fully committed to it, life can be challenging. Nonetheless, don’t ever let this to put you off because I and many of my course mates were able to make sensible arrangements in order to fit postgraduate study into our busy life. The key is to be aware of what you are able to commit to and as long as you are being realistic about it, studying a postgraduate degree is more than doable.
Finally, think about your passion. In my previous blog, I mentioned that my inner voice was telling me to seek a new challenge, to make a difference. Although I had the privilege to work with some of the most talented people on exciting projects in the marketing industry, I could not see myself following the same career path in the future. Subsequently, I recognised that something had to change. You don’t need to have every step all planned out, you just need to take the first step. This can be a simple exploration of asking yourself, ‘what is my passion?’. Yes, this might be a big question, but I think our intuition has already got the answer somehow. We just need to ask!