The detour

This young person was forced to take a different turn along the road to her goal. So why does she now see it as the luckiest thing that could have happened?

boy and girl in lecture at uni
Talking things through, made me realise that there were many other options
Final high school exams. Four words I became totally obsessed with in high school.

I'd always done pretty well in school. Actually pretty well is probably an understatement - I was your typical straight A student up to year 10 - cruised through the first 10 years of school, hardly studied, but still managed to pull off good grades. I had my whole life planned out - I was going to finish high school and study medicine at University and live happily ever after working as a doctor. I'd wanted to be a doctor for as long as I could remember and was probably the only career path I'd considered.

But high school brought a bit of a reality check and life wasn't as cruisey as it had been before. For the first time in my life, I couldn't just glance through the notes the night before and get 98% in the test the next day. Perhaps the biggest shock was Physics. Our teacher used to give us surprise quizzes to test our knowledge - I used to bomb out big time and really struggled. Luckily our teacher understood and used to help me before school. With his help I managed to scrape through with a B - a decent mark by most people's standards, but I knew it wasn't quite high enough to get into Medicine which is the course I wanted to do at Uni.

Seeing the school psychologist

I had it all worked out, or so I thought. I knew I need to average at least 80% to get the kind of mark I needed so every time I didn't get at least 80% I was devastated. All through year 11 and 12 it gradually got worse. My teachers were noticing how stressed I was getting and finally my year co-ordinator suggested I went and saw our school psychologist. In addition to being stressed about my schoolwork, I was also trying to hold down a part-time job, doing some volunteer work, was school captain and on a couple of committees. Together with my psychologist I managed to work out some ways that I could manage my schoolwork without getting as stressed out.

We also talked about other options for getting into the course I wanted to do. I'd always thought of it as all or nothing - If I didn't get in straight after year 12 then it was all over. Talking things through, made me realise that there were many other options. I could go interstate to study - turns out the exam scores needed for the course interstate were lower that in my home city, or I could repeat year 12 or I could even start another course and transfer after one year, or after I finished the course. Maybe I'd do another course and realise that maybe medicine wasn't what I wanted to do after all.

Results are in

When I finally got my year 12 results, they weren't as high as I'd wanted and they didn't get me into my first preference course. Naturally I was really upset, but once again talking to my psychologist put things into perspective. Even though I didn't get into medicine, I was offered a fantastic opportunity to study Arts interstate. I'm now halfway through my Arts degree and loving it, doing subjects that I am really interested in like politics and psychology. I'm still planning on studying Medicine when I finish my arts degree, but I now realise that if that doesn't happen it's not the end of the world. Psychology and politics are not what I've always wanted to do, but I'm enjoying it. Who knows, someday I might actually be really good at it. For the first time I'm finding out that there is much more to life that getting into medicine. I'm getting involved in heaps of volunteer work and spending heaps of time with friends. Not getting into the course I wanted to do straight away has taught me that sometimes not getting what you want in life is the best stroke of luck.

Last reviewed: 16 February, 2014
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