For those who want to shape the world and not just fit in.
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When I left sixth-form college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn’t do well in my A-Levels, further exasperating my hopelessness. After some time, I applied to a University for a Business and Entrepreneurship degree. It was the only course that appealed to me, but I was disappointed when I got there. I remember feeling alone in this big university and not knowing where or how to find places I needed to be. Furthermore, it felt like I was already supposed to know how to do everything by myself. So I faked it and tried to muddle through. After attending a few seminars, I was sure I was not interested in learning about business from lecturers. It felt counter-intuitive. I thought to myself, shouldn’t I be learning about business from people running their own businesses?
While questioning my future at university, I also struggled with my mental health. I was constantly in a low mood and feeling depressed. It felt like the world's weight was on my shoulders, and I wasn’t motivated to do anything. One day I decided to pack my bags and drive back home. I knew that I would not be going back.
I began to recover steadily when I was at home, thanks to the love of friends and family and seeing the world through a new perspective. I felt like myself again, although I now needed to figure out what I wanted to do next. I had always valued relationships with people, and these relationships also began to bear good fruit. I got my first professional job as an assistant to a Building Surveyor. It was a small firm, and it ticked an important box of being able to work closely with someone who ran a business. Over that following year, I learned much from the owner and made a lifelong friend.
While working as an assistant in the Building Surveyor’s firm, I participated in a social mobility program for young people from underprivileged backgrounds. The program helps develop the mindsets young people need to thrive in their careers and life. The experience of the program developed my perspective on what I could go on to achieve and also connected me with amazing people working at great companies. It widened my horizons and connected me with a part of myself that knew I wanted to make a positive impact in the world.
Upon completing the program, I got a job working for the organisation as their first employee, and then I went to work with other social mobility organisations. I enjoyed the work I did as it felt connected to having a positive impact on others. Although after a few years of working in various roles, I always felt like there was a side of myself that these roles did not allow me to use. There was something within me that wanted to express creativity and solve problems. I did not know how to articulate it then, but it felt like an internal friction. I often spoke about this feeling with people I respected and valued their opinions. While having one of these conversations, a friend sent me a link to this interesting video of a group of people who wanted to create a new university for people who wanted to shape the world and make an impact. It tickled the part of me that was feeling this internal friction. I thought to myself, great, I will apply. Unfortunately, I could not apply at the time and little did we know there was a global pandemic coming around the corner.
After some time of continuing work, the internal friction of wanting to get a step closer to positively impacting people while using a creative and problem-solving approach became unbearable. The pandemic had happened, and I knew I needed a change. I quit my job. I remembered the interesting university that had attracted me, so I googled it. London Interdisciplinary School, the website had a title in bold letters “for those who want to shape the world and not just fit in.” I knew this was the place I wanted to go to. I had said to myself that traditional education didn’t suit me. This place seemed different, and it resonated with me. I applied, and after a fun interview process where they got to know me as a person and my journey thus far, I was offered a place.
Now in my last term of the second year, I’m glad I made the decision to apply. I’m glad that the words “for those who want to shape the world and not just fit in” were written on the website. I used to worry about where I would end up, but I’ve begun to realise that worrying about that is futile. The thing you can control is the decisions you make and understanding what energises you, and moving towards those things. I never thought I’d be back at university, but being a student at LIS is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far. I have a funny feeling that when I’m an old man looking back on my life, coming to LIS will still be one of my best decisions.
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