Illustration and Visual Media
The Diploma in Professional Studies, known as DPS, is a year full of surprises, struggle, and success. I still remember the day where I attended university when the PP unit was still on. Going to the talks where people from the industry would come in and talk about their journey and their profession, how it relates closely to their passion to help and do better for a certain cause. The application for DPS was mentioned mid-December and I was pushing myself to write that application, making sure that I could get the form printed so I could get it signed off. These were one of those times where I was unsure of my decision but knew that I would regret not going forward when the opportunity has passed. I remember waiting outside the course leader’s room before I got called in. The next thing I know, I was sat down and chatted with Angela. She was approachable and was really excited for me to jump on the opportunity as she listened to me talk about my passion.
So a few weeks went by, I have received the news that I was accepted into the course. I was happy yet calm, not one of those explosive emotional moments because I knew that there was something expected of me from this. Other than just ‘filling up 24 weeks’, it was the pressure to perhaps find a large company to work for or, what if I am the let-down of the bunch? What if I couldn’t fill my weeks through working? After all, so many great things were promised and this year in industry and I cannot afford to be someone that doesn’t complete it or get nothing out of it.
I have been living with a lack of motivation to do anything for quite a while. After getting amazing grades for the IGCSEs, I stagnated. These few years from then on were unstimulating, there were moments that were memorable but remembering them gives me no joy. I realised the problem was that I was always uncertain. The realisation that I am about to enter the real world and soon I will have the responsibility of generating income, paying my taxes, all the ‘adulting’ to do threw me off a cliff into a muddy pool, so viscous that I am still struggling to get myself out.
I am afraid to talk to others about that because they won't understand why, neither do I to be completely honest. I am very fortunate to have my family’s support in doing whatever I want and they provide my resources for me, my rent, my school fees, my daily expenses. “Why are you worried about that?”, they asked. They had it tough when growing up and their one goal is to make sure we don’t end up on the same path. I supposed it could be my personality and my need to be independent. I don’t want to be one of those children that relies on their parents for everything. I want to build something for myself, just like they have. However, there were so many things I wanted to do. There were so many things to choose from, and also money? How will I be guaranteed a stable income? These are stereotypes that I have been drilled to believe growing up Asian. I say that I know about the potential in the creative industry but it has certainly left me with a barrier that I can’t quite just leap over yet.
Fast forward to now, I am two terms through with DPS. I can tell that I have grown and matured because I become someone that possesses a different outlook on life to the one 5 months ago. I still stick by my desire to become independent but I have much more of a will to do so. Working in Plant Designs have helped me found my breakthrough in both future prospects and motivation. This placement has given me an experience where I was able to earn my own salary through hard work. I woke up early every day and got to the designated location 5 mins early, worked till at least 6 in the evening and became accustomed to the working lifestyle. I met new individuals where I had bonded over the short period of time, learned how to become better at communicating my needs and how to trust the people you work with. These are lessons that I wouldn’t have learnt if I didn’t do this placement.
I worked with this lovely French lady, that was only a few years older than I am, called Camille. I like to talk to people and get to know them, it helps to keep the environment friendly and it’s fun to know what other people have done before landing onto this job. She told me about going to university and studying audiology and was going to work in the profession helping companies create hearing aids and conduct testing and research on the side. Realising that wasn’t her passion, she decided to quit and gave herself a year to figure things out. During that time, she found out about gardening and was determined to learn more about it. That was when she decided to move to London with her boyfriend. As they were between jobs to make a living for themselves, they found a place in Plant Designs.
I was stunned at first, how could you just throw away 3-4 years of education so easily? How could you just leave everything behind, throw yourself out there and just ‘see what happens’? Aren’t you scared? “I was, but I wasn’t enjoying audiology and I really wanted to try something new.” Hearing those words and knowing that she is doing fine made me feel assured about what I am doing. I don’t need to know the path forwards look like, I don’t need it to be crystal clear. All I needed was the resolve and determination to keep myself afloat. The future may be scary but if she can survive and find her true passion after abandoning 3 years of education, I know I can too. I’m on the right path, I can feel it. There is just so much to do that I couldn’t choose. Putting effort and practice into what I like, and what I’m passionate, is all that matters because that muddy pool doesn't feel as viscous anymore and I’m ready climb up again.