I think it took me a little longer than most to mature after high school. I recall going to university but being so overwhelmed by personal problems and issues, I didn’t get a chance to fully comprehend the gravity of what was going to be coming after I graduated.
Journalism was more than just the degree. There were many avenues and opportunities that I missed out on because I was – for lack of a better word – stupid. I should have written for the university newspaper, I should have bettered my photography skills. I should have found far more opportunities to gain journalistic experience because when I graduated and began looking at the job market, I was effectively ‘effed’.
I was an immature female in her early twenties with no work or journalism experience at all. All of the jobs I looked at needed at least a year or two of writing skills which I didn’t have so I panicked and took the first thing that came along, which was completely out of my field of study.
University assignment that we were completing on the day it needed to be handed in
I began working at a modelling agency which I enjoyed initially because I got to do a little bit of modelling on the side but eventually I needed more stimulation and after just under a year, I left. This led to a rough patch in my life. Unemployed but afraid to take on work in case it wasn’t what I wanted or in case something better came along and I was stuck in a job and was unable to resign in time or something to that effect. I was naive and dead weight but again, too immature to see the mistakes I was making.
Back when I used to ride a scooter to work at the modeling agency
Eventually after far too long, I got a job at a company teaching English online to foreigners. It was a great gig. Unusual, interesting, everyday was different. The pay wasn’t ideal by at least it was something. Just as I was getting good and about to try out for the personal tutoring roles, an ad appeared online that changed my life.
Teaching English online
A renowned woman’s magazine was looking for an intern. I applied with my childish email address which nearly cost me the job (firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone was wondering) and went for the interview with one of the most incredible people I have ever met in my life. She saw me as a diamond in the rough and through all of my flaws and shortcomings, she believed in me. I would not be where I am today if she had not given me that opportunity or had faith in me the way she did. I am eternally grateful.
The internship was brief – only six months, but it was everything I dreamed of and I managed to write some pieces that were published in the magazine. When the role came to an end, I found myself applying for a permanent, more senior position which I screwed up in the end. It was a tumultuous time as my father passed away and I was no longer a productive employee to a highly functioning business, so I fully understand why I had to leave. I was jaded for a long time afterward but have recently gained real insight into those events. I learnt things I would not have otherwise and now have an amazing company name on my CV.
Corporate event I attended when I was working at the magazine
When I left, I was once more at a cross-roads, unsure of where to go and like I select my default comfy pants at home, so did I return to what I knew; the modelling agency.
This time the role was bigger, more involved and more senior. I loved it for three full years. I learnt photography and people skills, I was a mentor and made much money from modelling but in the end once more, my heart cried out for my passion – writing – which unfortunately had no place there.
A magazine I was interviewed in as a model mentor
It was then that I made the life changing decision to resign and go freelance full time. As a Millennial, I realised that the decision was so obvious. I had a friend who worked in an online publication which gave me the opportunity to write and get paid for a few freelance articles, so I was set with a little bit of work to start out with.
I had enough money saved up from my modelling jobs which I have been living on for the past three months. My lease at my flat was up for renewal and instead of opting to pay an increased monthly rent when I had no steady income; I sucked up my pride and decided to take my boyfriend up on his offer to move into his house while I found my feet. His belief in my writing has been an amazing motivator throughout this time.
He built me the most beautiful writing desk complete with an etched raven on it, in tribute to Alice in Wonderland. I make sure that there is a cooked meal every night as a form of rent while I further my career.
My beautiful hand crafted desk with custom laser engraved raven
It has not been an easy journey and after creating my own website, two months down the line, it’s still far too early to tell. The company I was freelancing for stopped accepting freelancers work so I have not had anything published and paid for since 2016. My impatience has gotten me down a number of times so I am lucky that my significant other has been there to build me up along the way.
I can say with conviction that this has been the most terrifying journey of my life, and I traveled Eastern Europe alone once. I still have no idea if I am going to be able to make a success out of this venture; I hope and pray that I can because I seriously do not want to go back to being in an office.
Travelling Berlin alone was less terrifying than freelancing has been
There is a long way to go and I believe I will still need a lot of help and guidance on the way but all I can do is try my best, not get lazy and hustle until I find the right people who want to pay me for my passion.
Anyone looking for a freelance journalist?