I wrote this blog as a reminder that even when we’re forced to give up something we love, it doesn’t mean we should simply give up. You have more than one option. The last year has forced me to reconsider a lot of my life decision, but it’s also taught me that there’s not just one path in life. And even if the first route we planned to follow leads to a dead end, your second route may be even greater than your first.
My first year of Uni was amazing. I was a young, excitable 18 year old girl ready for the adventure ahead. I’d spent 16 years of my life training in musical theatre and I couldn’t believe that I’d been accepted into one of the most prestigious Musical Theatre colleges in the country. Studying for a degree, alongside all the physical training – it was a challenge that I was ready and raring for! But, little did I know that my glee-filled bubble was soon to be burst.
When September came around, it brought the start of my second year, and I couldn’t wait to get back to studying what I loved most. But, as the month passed by, I noticed a bad pain behind my shoulder blade. This was the start of my downward spiral.
Physiotherapists and doctors told me it was nothing and to carry on as normal. By the end of September my injury had got a lot worse. I was unable to dance for more than 5 minutes without being in severe pain.
The doctors finally sent me off for an x-ray and for regular physiotherapy. The x-ray showed no abnormalities. Despite this I was told by doctors that I was not allowed to dance or do intense movement until they can figure out what is wrong. For someone who has danced almost every day of her life, this was devastating news.
Already my world was beginning to come crashing down.
After a two month wait, I was able to get my first MRI scan. For two months I had been sat out of class, watching everyone else improve whilst I was unable to do anything. I was so ready to get the results, get fixed and be able to dance again.
I had focused my entire education on dance. The idea that my career could be coming to an end crushed me, so I tried to hope for the best.
By the time I got my results it was January. My MRI scan showed mild tendinitis and a potential tear in the cartilage. It was not the all clear I was hoping for.
This whole time I was in denial and hoping that everything would be fine. But the news meant that I had to wait another two months for another MRI scan.
Then COVID-19 happened.
On March 28th (the day before my scan) I got a call from the hospital saying that they will not be going through with the procedure. They told me that I had to see an orthopaedic doctor before the next scan could go ahead.
That same week I got an email from my University explaining that I will need to re-do second year because I had been sitting out for too long. This is when reality began to set in.
COVID-19 meant that I wasn’t able to get an appointment with the orthopaedist, which elongated my injury further. I began to realise that being able to dance again in September, was an unlikely prospect. And this meant I wouldn’t be able to complete my dream degree.
It was at this moment I had to rethink everything. I felt lost, confused and did not know where to begin. I thought I would have to drop out of university completely and give up on my ambition. But, when I confided in friends and family, they really helped me see the light.
After many long conversations I slowly realised that all my previous part-time jobs involved children. I’ve always enjoyed working with children, whether it’s babysitting or teaching them dance, and I’d always joked about becoming a teacher. But I never thought it would become my reality.
My next step was to look into what qualifications I would need to become a teacher. This is when I found a Primary Education degree that I would be able to complete in two years. Finally things were looking up again.
I applied and got accepted immediately onto the course. I managed to get out of my panicked state and realised that sometimes branching out into something new can be good and exciting.
Despite my shoulder injury still being present, I’m able to look forward to my new adventure in September. I could have let COVID-19 fully control my future and throw every opportunity away, but I didn’t. Sometimes all you need to do is step back, take a breath and look at your options. Don’t be afraid to change your career path because in the long run, if it is what you want, then it will make you happier and you’ll be able to enjoy your studying.
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