Change it… but keep it!

“My life has changed, and I’m changing with it”
Sophie Kinsella, The Undomestic Goddess

Every year the same song ‘As old as time’ (sung by journalists rather than by Angela Lansbury) about how the thousands of students who graduate each year find immediate employment. What they forget to harmonise in the bridge of the song is that a good number of these students end up being employed, fair enough, but not as what they hoped for. For some time, I was really angry at this, but, what for?! I don’t want to bore you readers with the same argument that we have been listening to and that everybody knows so far. Not everyone is as lucky as to have a Master degree in how to control marionettes, and eventually ending up doing so. True? Yes, true!
What I have realised lately is that attending University, or any other Educational Institution for the matter, should first and foremost educate you. The first ECTS credit that a student should have nailed by the end of the course is “How to handle life, 101!”. Yep, that’s right. There has to be, and there is in fact, if only we were bright enough to see it, something more behind those long Shakespearean or Dante literature analysis; something much larger behind those teaching practices; something way beyond all that memorising Malta’s constitution by heart or solving that impossible Mathematical equation, which, oh Bless My Dear Aunt Sally, I will personally never get!
Behind all that there’s the learning process of how to struggle, of how to fight for it, of how to think fast and outside the box so that you can be amongst the best. How to meet deadlines, how to cope with annoying (sigh) classmates and keep composed. How to smile at annoying lecturers and HoD’s just because you know what respect and bowing your head down mean. How to train yourself in being so motivated and grateful while doing what you love doing. How to actually find motivation and reasons to not just say “The hell with all of this, I’m going to Narnia”. How to empty a jar of coffee at 4 in the morning because you really want to do well in the exam you have coming up the following morning.
I’m going to practise what I’m preaching. I studied to become a conference interpreter, and the private market in Malta is very limited. It’s been months since I’ve finished my training and am still unemployed (a GIF of someone throwing confetti at my face while I drown in a valley of shame would be so appropriate right now). I have been studying and going on exchanges and study trips all my life. I have always kept myself busy. So what’s next? Waiting is a killer …but what if I had to disguise it? That’s what I did! My inspiration was that at school we are taught “how to do”, and I’m now choosing to apply this concept together with learning “how to be!” This is how waiting also became a part of my learning process.
These past two months I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve put on hold in order to have time to study. Music lessons, learning German, experimenting with new instruments, doing some voluntary work, feeding my goldfish (oh sh**!!) …
I re-started doing all of these things, and kept on improving my skills as an interpreter. Wasting time just because the market I want to work in is limited in Malta is not an excuse for a) do nothing while someone calls you for an interview, b) close any useful doors for other opportunities. I have learned a set of skills during my student years, and not applying them in other interesting professions is just like trying to save your expensive Louis Vuitton while your house is on BLOODY FIRE.
As much as I am in love with the Interpreting profession, I just can’t sit around, do nothing, and wait for the perfect job to pop by, because I might as well keep waiting for the perfect man or try to drown a damn fish. I studied what I was really passionate about, I got to travel a lot on different training programmes during my studies and managed to improve my skills. Now it’s time to use them. And sitting around waiting for a job ‘along those lines’ won’t definitely help me or give me the opportunity to use the skills that I have worked so hard for to acquire. So darn it! Different opportunities, same very useful skills. Change it …BUT keep it!! If circumstances change, choose to change with them, while sticking to your roots.
P.S. If you have been married for so many years and still can’t understand your partner’s language, you might perhaps, maybe, probably, possibly (PLEASE) need an interpreter. CALL ME!

Photo credit: Simon Borg

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