Jumpsuit: Nastygal // Jacket: Primark // Shoes: Converse // Bag: Charity Shop

Last Wednesday I ventured down to Epsom to go visit the University for the Creative Arts campus and chat to the staff about my education choices. I always love a good trip down to London but this trip felt a bit odd, I was going back to the place where I was supposed to be studying right now. The last time I visited Epsom was January 2017 for my interview, it was the month before I became symptomatic with Ulcerative Colitis and my last month of being IBD free. 
Going visiting did feel quite bitter sweet but I'm so glad I did and I'm going to tell you why.

You're probably wondering why I'm talking about University when I've titled this post 'Where my journey with education ends' but I suppose it's more of a question than a title.
Education has always been important to me as throughout school I was always motivated to do my best and make the most out of the opportunities I had. Living in a country where education is free and compulsory up till 18, I do think we sometimes take it for granted. Of course there were times when school was stressful and it was my least favourite place to be but looking back I appreciate how much I learnt. Even if I don't use SOH CAH TOA or the periodic table now, some things still come in handy!
I left high school with 6A*s and 5As and left college with A*AB so University was the assumed option for me in regards to what was next. My plan had been to study Fashion Management and Marketing at University for the Creative Arts in September 2017. Unfortunately, due to my illness (Ulcerative Colitis) I deferred my offer until September 2018 as I needed time to prioritise my health and find the right treatment. When I made that decision my plan was to use the year to my advantage, once my health was stable I planned on getting some work experience in, trying out different business ideas and just generally building up my knowledge around the fashion industry. Fast forward almost a year on and things didn't really go to plan. My health hasn't been stable so I haven't been able to commit to working or interning as I simply haven't been well enough for a long enough period. I've spent my year trying to expand my knowledge through dedicating a lot of time to my blog, beginning selling bits on Depop and talking a lot about business to my Dad who runs his own company. 
It is fustrating that I haven't achieved what I planned on doing but when you don't have your health on your side, life feels impossible.

So when does my new journey with education begin?
I've made the decision now to defer my place until September 2019 giving me another year away from education and another year to better my health. I've still not found any successful treatment and thats the main reason why I'm going to wait another year. Waiting another year really doesn't phase me anymore and I think it's an option which people should speak more about. 

When I was at College nobody even said 'What if you have to have a gap year?', it was off to University and that was that. The path of going from School to College to University felt like the right thing for me but looking back I really don't think it was. I was so excited about University to meet new people, live in London and be surrounded by like minded creative thinkers who would hopefully get me, I hadn't actually thought about the looking after myself part. When it hit me that I wasn't able to go to University I was devastated and so stressed about it all. At this point I wish someone had told me that it is okay to wait a year or two, it is okay to not know whats happening in the future and its okay to not follow the path most travelled. 

After a year out of education, I can happily say I'm so excited to go back but not just yet. I've learnt and overcome a whole lot in this past year and probably grown more as a person than I would've if I'd have been well and gone to University. Even though I haven't been well enough to hold down a job this year, I've started little business ventures selling clothes and assisting my Dad to try and make some money. I'm fortunate enough to be supported by my parents right now but the minute my health is stable I want to be out there working, earning and simply finding my feet again. I've tried my hardest to not let this disease knock me down but I know that without my health, life can seem so impossible but I just have to keep pushing on.
 I have so much drive and motivation in me to keep discovering what I want in life and I think time away from education is the way to do it. Giving yourself space away from people, rules, timetables, basically just having time free that you have to fill is so weird at first but I'm now realising how much it's benefitted me. I've spent a lot of my year alone, not in a sad lonely way, but that has really helped me become my own best friend. It's taught me that time alone isn't boring, it's valuable but it also taught me that I thrive off people and need to socialise to boost my mood. I've also learnt a lot about who I want to surround myself with and become so much more grateful for certain people in my life, quality over quantity. 

Overall I feel I've become a better, more well rounded person these past 12 months even if they have been the toughest months of my life. I suppose if I hadn't become ill things would've been completely different with University but I do think even if you are set on going to University, you should have that back up plan of 'What if?' and I think teachers should encourage you to do so. My goals for the next year are still the same...

1. To get into remission and get my health back on track.
2. To keep up with my blog and talk about things I care about.
3. To intern in the fashion industry and get work experience.
4. To be grateful for every good day and treasure the good times.
5. To get to University!

So that's where my journey with education is going and I think I'm making the right decision. In the grand scheme of things, a year isn't a long time and when your health is involved that has to be the number one priority.

 Enjoy some snaps from my trip down to London visiting the cutest cocktail bar and the River Thames, it was a lovely day. I'd love to hear about your journeys with education past or future and see what your opinions are! Everyone has different perspectives but that's completely okay, drop me comment what you think and I'd love a little chat!

Lucy Jane