I don’t know what stuff to do

Sydney is a brilliant city. It’s vibrant, the food is amazing and you’re never more than half an hour away from a stunning white sand beach.  We’re here to work while we explore, and although we haven’t quite found jobs yet, we’re having a really lovely time getting to know our new home. “We” refers to my fiancé and I, and much of what I’m about to write down is relevant to both of us, but since this is my blog I’ll tell you about it from my perspective.

I caught the infamous “millennial travel bug” in 2012 when I went on my first big trip without my parents. It was a mission trip to Peru. Now, I’m not Catholic or indeed religious in any way, but my school was, and the consecrated women (nuns) who pitched the trip to me and my peers one morning in assembly seemed super nice and excited about the whole thing. Their attitude to the adventure was infectious and without a second thought I signed up for the 3 week excursion into deepest, darkest Peru. At this point I must add that another very important aspect of my life is volunteering, and this began even further back in 2010 when I began spending one afternoon a week helping out at a primary school for disabled children. Both the trip to Peru and all the volunteering experiences I’ve had will get their own spotlight in time, But for now, let’s return to the point of this blog post.

I entitled this piece “I don’t know what stuff to do” which is a simpler and more light-hearted way of saying: I-spent-three-sodding-years-doing-a-degree-in-an-institution-I-hated-and-now-I-have-no-idea-what-to-do-with-my-life-because-I-don’t-feel-like-I’m-qualified-to-do-anything. So, let’s dissect that.

The “three-sodding-years” were those I spent studying Biomedical Sciences, a course that I applied for when 17 year old me decided that she didn’t like people enough to do medicine. The “institution-I-hated” was Oxford University, a place where your great self esteem (from being a bright spark at school) finds a dark corner, curls up in a ball, and waits out the three years of being told you can neither write nor read nor understand anything.

And the rest of that statement…well that’s what I’m desperately trying to figure out at the moment. There are three things I know about what I want to do:

1. I want to help people…

2. …probably in the field of health and/or health education…

3. …in the UK (with trips abroad as and when needed)

I’ve literally spent hours on job search websites trying to figure out if there are job titles that connect these three things, baring in mind that I apparently don’t have any experience of note in the eyes of most organisations*. Last week I finally found an article that suggested I could get any job I wanted in any of these organisations, whose work I seriously admire…if I do a masters in Public Health. And there’s the smack in the face. Another year of applications, another 1 or 2 years of hardcore studying, probably living as a very poor student in London (since that’s where most of the universities are that offer this course to a high standard). Sounds like fun, huh? Oh and did I mention that the course fees alone are £10,000 AT LEAST, never mind ACTUALLY LIVING.

Now I’m definitely not against doing the masters (although the tone of the above paragraph may suggest that) but I’m having an internal struggle with committing to the idea. Part of me knows it would be a great move towards starting my dream career. An equally sized part of me knows how hard it would be to get onto the course, study, and live in London. There’s another part of me that thinks “oh just bite the bullet and do medicine! Be a doctor! Voila!” And then yet another part of me says something along the lines of – “Make lots of money being a successful blogger then use the money to set up my own NGO and then I can have any job title I want while fulfilling all my aspirations of helping people in any way I can.”


As you can see in the above visualisation of my perceived choices, there’s also a rather sizeable part of me that just wants to travel so that the only thing I have to worry about is where to go next.

*Organisations I’d love to work for include: Medicin Sans Frontiers, UNICEF, UNAIDS, various NGOs, the CDC, and the World Health Organisation.

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