When I graduated from high school in 2016, my future plans included starting to study, like everyone else, at a university in The Netherlands. Never had I imagined that this would, in fact, turn into a three-year-long process that would take an unimaginable amount of twists and turns.
Right away, I faced challenges that made me stay in Germany and pushed me to start studying a Bachelor of Sociology online. At first, I really only thought about this year as a “buffer year”, where I would take a couple of classes just to keep my academic skills and to get ready for when I would “really start studying”. Of course, it wasn’t that simple.
In 2017, I faced more challenges that made me, for the second time, have to delay my entry to university by a year. It may seem trivial, but seeing your friends and classmates from high school all attend university and live the student lifestyle can seriously lead you to doubt yourself and what you are doing with your life! Nevertheless, I decided to make this second-year count! Long gone were the days of being disappointed about having to postpone university, I was not about to waste one more minute on something I had no control upon.
I began taking a load of classes with the aim of graduating from my online Bachelor within two years; a year earlier than expected. I also decided to start tutoring to get some money on the side and took the one I had accumulated while working in a local ice cream shop to book a volunteer trip to Morocco. This was my third, Spain and The Netherlands came before. This time, as with the others, I was studying classes that fit the work I was doing in Morocco, and it was a life changing experience. I came back to Germany two weeks later, knowing that I wanted to go back, and this time much longer.
In February, I volunteered in Uganda for a month while studying full-time. I applied to more universities to start a second Bachelor and was accepted! I conducted a small-scale, observation-based research with the Ugandan people I was volunteering with. A few months later, I ended up presenting this research at a conference in Poland. That was it, I was happy and looking forward to finally studying in a physical university, like everyone else.
That same year, I decided to launch my first website: a blog dedicated to my volunteer trips, academic papers, and other general ideas. Then, in August, I launched my second website and business: CoachCoralie, to offer my tutoring and editing services online as well.
Then September came. I moved to London, where I was meant to start studying. I was certain that this time, it would work. But it didn’t. Once again, I faced the troubling reality that I had to choose between studying in my dream university and my right to live in Germany, the place I grew up in, the place I call home. Lots of tears were shed, numerous hours were spent evaluating the pros and cons of staying or leaving. Leaving my dorm, which I had just moved in. Leaving my new friends, my aspirations to become a graduate of this incredible university. A hard choice, to say the least. Nevertheless, I made the right one: I chose to pack up because, sometimes, some things just aren’t meant to be.
I spent the following three weeks on my laptop searching feverously for internships, NGOs to volunteer with, anything to do really, for this year. One thing was for certain: I was not going to lay in bed, in Germany, crying about my poor luck.
I found the Mayshad Foundation, as well as another NGO in Greece, where I am currently writing this post, and secured two internships in my field. I became a writer for the Mayshad Mag. I was approached by a Canadian company to write articles for them, too. I continued writing posts for my blog, Years of Change, and ran my small business. Most importantly: I didn’t give up.
Although the past two and a half years have been full of challenges, emotions and difficult decisions, it all worked out in the end because I opened my eyes to the incredible opportunities the world has to offer. It worked out because I decided to think outside of the box, started new projects, and because I didn’t look at it as this terrible ordeal I was stuck into, but as an opportunity to do something new, something different, something that not everybody else does!
The moral of this post is that you have the power to create the life you want to live. No matter what challenges you are facing, the number of times you feel stuck, or how much you want to give up, there is always something you can do. It’s up to you to get up in the morning, to contact the people who can help you and to work towards reaching your goals.
You can do it!