When you don’t know what you are



For the past 3 weeks I’ve filled out endless amounts of job application forms, I’ve been to a few job interviews and traveled to Plymouth to get my National Insurance Number, I’ve done shadow shifts in one work place and I’m also taking driving lessons to get used to driving on the left side of the road. I’m currently just waiting for things to be processed and until now I’ve been torn between two job choices. This is all very exciting but stressful at the same time. I can’t wait for the day I have everything sorted and get to start working, then it will be time to celebrate for sure!

And meanwhile all this is happening, my fingers are itching to draw and paint. When I went to Plymouth I couldn’t resist and bought a bunch of Promarkers and Bristol Paper (which I’ll show you in another post). I’ve spent a big portion of this “waiting time” on drawing and collecting ideas, while listening to several episodes of the podcasts Escape from Illustration Island and Being Boss. At the moment I’m feeling very enthusiastic about building up my portfolio and setting myself goals with my art.


But despite having so many things to do and think about, being settled in one place while still without a job makes me feel a bit useless. I see everyone else go off to work in the morning while I don’t even need to get dressed. And that’s pushed me to do something I’ve been putting off for so long, which is finding the answer to one very big question: what do I want to be? After over 2 years of traveling I suddenly have all this time to truly sit down and think about this and yes, looking at universities.

I’ve always had an artistic bone in me. I’ve been drawing and painting my whole life. These last few days where I’ve spent almost all my time on creating art have been amazing. I keep thinking how much I’d love to do this everyday. But studying in the UK is expensive and I wonder if it’s worth spending a fortune on an arts degree?

There’s always a little voice in my head saying “no, Silja, why don’t you get a job doing something rewarding and meaningful, like social care. Getting a degree in that field of work would be much safer than art”. It’s true that social work and care work attract me. I also wouldn’t mind having a job that gives me more security. Even if I did art for a living I’d always have something to fall back on. At this stage I need a job that securely pays my bills each month. I need that in order to be able to create art in the first place. But is it worth going into long-term if it’s not my dream job? Or could I possibly do both?


I’m the sort of person who wants to do everything. As a kid I wanted to be both a children’s doctor and a cleaning lady…I’ve wanted to draw, paint, write and do photography all at the same time…I went to Australia twice because I just HAD to see all of it.

I usually hear people say that if you want something, you need to focus entirely on that and give it 100%. They say it’s hard to juggle two different jobs. But the stubborn side of me keeps telling myself that there must be more than one way. Surely there are different directions you can take. But which is the best one?


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