Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in or belong anymore. You go away, come back and everything at home has stayed the same but you have grown in so many ways. People you once connected with cannot relate to you and what you have experienced. For me coming home after volunteering for over 3 months and then traveling around Europe for 2-3 months meant as a person I had evolved. My outlook and perspective on life had completely changed. It was harder than I thought coming back and having to fit in again.
Uni wasn’t starting back for several months and I was in desperate need of money. I went back to my job at the pet store, but my values and understanding of animal welfare and suffering caused me to be in conflict with the people I worked for. I wanted to do something to help the animals that found themselves being sold at a pet shop, but I knew I couldn’t continue working there. So I chose to move on.
Eventually I got a job as a receptionist/dog grooming assistant where I met wonderful people who I am still in contact with today. Although it didn’t have the same satisfaction as working with the gibbons, I knew nothing could compare. I worked at the dog groomers for the next several years among other casual jobs and traveling when I could. During my time at the groomers I was introduced to the wonderful world of Dog Listening by Jan Fennell. My passion for dog behaviour/communication grew immensely over the next several years, leading me to complete the graduate course in Dog Listening.
Once uni started back, it was tough. However I had a new prospective and was more inclined to learn and finish what I had started. Taking the year off was definitely worth it for me. At the end of 2008, I successfully passed my course and completed my bachelor degree! Such relief!
If like me you’re struggling to find meaning in your university course, are distracted in life, want to change careers, you are not alone. I know its hard. I have walked towards a dead end many times throughout my life, thinking to myself that I cannot continue this path. You will never know if you make the right choice, but making the decision to try is good enough. Don’t expect others to make you happy, you must follow your own dream and make yourself happy first.
I remember when I was in my last year of high school, my teachers and advisors told me, they couldn’t help me with my career choice. They couldn’t help advise which university course to take, because what I wanted to do was unusual, it wasn’t the money making career choice most kids chose. My teachers told me to try get into something else, to have a second and third option. But I didn’t have any. I only wanted to work in some way with animals. People used to tell me I was lucky I knew what I wanted to do, but let me tell you, it has not been easy and I have received many knock backs along my journey. But if you are truly passionate in something, you will continue to make it a reality.
Life has handed me many twists and turns and to this day I am still learning. I still have so much to learn and discover about animals, their welfare, rehabilitation and the struggles they face in the wild. Finding jobs and working with animals is not easy. I’m still not where I want to be, but that’s okay. I’m on a journey and I am enjoying every new experience. I am taking everything as a learning opportunity to grow as a person and become an ambassador for animals around the world.
If you are still in high school and have been told by all your teachers that you MUST know what you want to do for the rest of your life, it’s just bullshit! That’s too much pressure to know at such a young age. Find something that interests you now and work towards it, but don’t think it’s something you have to do forever. Nothing is forever. Gone are the days where people stay in the same company for 20+ years.
There is so much to do and see and experience in this world. If you choose something now but a few years down the track you’re not happy anymore, find out what it is that makes you happy and work towards it. Volunteer somewhere, research online or enroll in a new course. Do whatever it takes to get to where you want to be.
Happiness is your goal in life. If you’re happy, you will reflect that in your every day life and attract the right people. With new friends, brings new opportunities. You need to be responsible for your happiness and not depend on someone else to make you happy. Change your life for the better. We as humans are always changing, don’t ever regret what you have already done, because those experiences have made you who you are today. Just look forward and discover what else there is to see, do and learn.
I’m not making a lot of money, especially whilst living in London! But I’m living, I’m traveling and I have two beautiful animals that I am responsible for. I have so much love around me, that’s really all anyone could ask for.
Friends come and go, enjoy who you have around you now. If life starts becoming mundane change it. Get out there and find people who you have an interest with now. Surround yourself with people that you can learn from, not people that are putting you down, discouraging you or holding you back.
Power to you, to do what you love and to be happy. Being happy and content with life is so important. We only get one chance at life, so learn and experience as much as you can and keep smiling! Never stop learning and educating yourself. Explore what the world has to offer, volunteer with animals and help a life more broken than yours! Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be. Keep going, otherwise you will miss out on what the world has to offer.
Much love xx