My perfect mistake and how maybe it wasn’t so bad after all

My perfect mistake and how maybe it wasn't so bad after all | Tyranny of Pink

In this previous post  I wrote about my decision to not study law immediately after school but the story goes on. During my battle to get into law school I found myself studying Social Anthropology, Politics, and Diversity Studies. I only studied Diversity  if I’m honest because my father bribed me with an all expenses paid gap year of travelling if I completed at least one Post-grad degree. And let’s be honest here, who in their right mind would pass up that offer? Sadly, my father died unexpectedly during that year but that’s not what this story is about. 

This story is about how I finally got into law school.  And HATED it. I don’t mean I didn’t like it, or found the workload too intense, no I mean absolutely hated it from the bottom of my soul. I knew in the first three months that I was not cut out to be a lawyer. To be a lawyer you’ve got to be a certain kind of person and you’ve got to enjoy certain kinds of things. I was not that person! You have to be able to remember the tiniest details and pull them out a hat when they matter. FACTS are key in law. Yeah, my brain was not made for the meticulous way a lawyer has to live their life. I desperately wanted to get out. Sadly, in my family, you don’t quit. I was told that this was my dream and dreams don’t just change. Besides, it would be good for the family to have a lawyer around. So I pushed on.

For the next year, I spent my days in class, my evenings in the library and my nights reading and writing papers. And I hated it. During that year, I learnt the meaning of depression. I became so miserably depressed that all I could think of doing was eating. I ate so much that I gained 20kgs and at the end of the year when I failed ALL my subjects but one, I fell into the darkest hole possible.

That was the first time I had ever failed anything. I mean, I was raised believing that failure wasn’t even an option. Come home with an A on your report and you’re asked why didn’t you get an A+ so I was an absolute wreck. For the first time I understood why people considered suicide. I was lost. I was confused, and even though I knew I hated the degree, I didn’t know how that had happened to me.

I was completely burnt out and the only thing I could think of was redeeming myself, picking myself off the ground and getting back into the saddle. So I sent off my application for a Master’s Degree in Development Studies. In some twist of fate, my application was sent off to the Social Development Department. I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when I was accepted into a degree that I hadn’t applied for but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t about what I was going to study. I just needed to prove myself.

I was told I had to take the honours programme first, I didn’t put up much fuss and the year went by quickly. The material, I soon discovered was interesting and I did well without too much effort. At the end of the year, naturally I progressed into the Masters programme. I loved Social Development. It was everything I had always longed for and I thrived in the programme. More than happy to forego nights out with friends for long hours sitting at my dining room table drafting papers and policies. I quickly took my place, for the first time in my life, at the top of the programme. I’ve never been more proud of myself. Ironic as it was that it took failing one degree to lead me to this moment.

A degree I had not even applied for was suddenly everything to me. How lucky that life doesn’t always give us what we want but instead exactly what we need. The trick is to accept that life doesn’t always go according to plan and sometimes we have to throw caution to the wind and take a leap of faith into the abyss.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck | Tyranny of Pink


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15 Discussion to this post

  1. […] I point-blank failed the year and got kicked out, I had to finally accept defeat and admit that I wasn’t going to be a lawyer and the […]

  2. […] career on the other hand which I’d planned since I was about 7 or 8 has turned out to be nothing like what I had imagined. In the beginning it was hard to accept it but as time goes by, I’m becoming less hard on […]

  3. Nihaad says:

    I just came by your blog and this post really touched me. I find myself in the field of engineering and I just KNOW this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life! I had a plan for what I wanted and I carefully worked towards it. The girl in high school who started the plan would be happy to know she has achieved everything she wanted, but the young adult today is not at all happy with the path she finds herself on. It comforts me knowing that I am not alone and that there is ways and means for me to change my course. I have to find my passion in life and what it is I want to do as a career.

    I am now a faithful follower of this blog.

    PS always enjoy finding SA AND Cape Town bloggers!

    Nihaad – the little blog of STUFF

    • Hi Nihaad – Firstly, thank you so much for your amazing comment and compliment. I just write my blog because I feel passionate about it so it means everything when someone can relate to the things I have to say.

      It’s funny how we have these goals and dreams for ourselves before we even know who we are and then we hold ourselves to the highest standards expecting to achieving the dreams we had as children!

      Sometimes, we’re stuck in that life we dreamt up but if we’re really lucky…we get to break away and follow our hearts. It’s only then do we find true happiness!

      Thrilled to have you as a reader!! <3
      I always love finding local blogs too! Will be sure to check yours out!

      • Nihaad says:

        I am discovering more and more each day that there are so many people facing the same challenge. But beyond that, I see everyday how people who were in a similar situation as I find myself in now, have changed their lives for the better by doing what they felt they needed. I was completely shattered when I finally admitted to myself that this is no longer what I want to do. I realize that is just the beginning and probably the easiest part of the journey, but I felt so much better once I came to terms with it. You are doing an amazing job over here! Thank you!

        Nihaad – the little blog of STUFF

        • I agree, people are starting to move between their long term jobs and their dream jobs more fluently than they previously had. It’s a pretty amazing thing to see that it’s more acceptable now than it once was. I can’t imagine being trapped in a field/job/life that I had no interest in. It was really hard to make the move for me before. Admitting I wanted to stay at home and write instead of work in the non profit sector was something I didn’t take lightly but I’ve no regrets!

          Thank you so much for your amazing compliments 🙂

          • Nihaad says:

            This is such an inspiration for me to do the same. I have to find what it is that I want to do and make a move because I want to live!! I want to enjoy my days instead of dreaming of it you know? I have admitted to myself that this is not what I want anymore so I am over the anxiety that I felt before. I know now that bigger things lie ahead for me if I make an effort to go for it.

          • Good for you Nihaad!! That’s the spirit.. it all starts with that first step!! When you make the leap, I’d love to hear about it and I can do a post about your brave changes!

          • Nihaad says:

            Thank you Jonelle!! I will definitely stay in touch 🙂

  4. […] damage. By the time we finally got away from each other, thanks to me being exiled by my father (read about that here), we had already caused so much damage to each other and to ourselves. The kind that lasts a long […]

  5. […] searching for something to do with myself career-wise that was more in line with real jobs. (See this post where I struggled to come to terms with law not working out for […]

  6. […] and quite honestly lacking in confidence in ourselves. It takes a long time to realise that failing once doesn’t make us a failure even though most of us have been conditioned to not allow ourselves the option of failure and as […]

  7. […] raised to push yourself. Always harder than the last time. Failure is not an option. It’s either win or nothing, we don’t lose. Yeah it’s a tough road when you grow up being […]

  8. TyrannyofPink says:

    I’m one of those people. I try my best to plan everything and really don’t like things going off plan but I’m always secretly pleasantly surprised by the stuff that happens when I’m not looking at the plan 🙂

  9. Danni says:

    So true Jonelle, people get so angry when things don’t go to plan, but then are normally surprised when they receive something better. I relate so much to this, I always get so depressed when plans doesn’t go my way, not realising that something that is even better suited to us is on it’s way.

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