I find it very interesting how almost every time I meet someone new, I get asked about the misconceptions about Saudi and its culture. The questions generally start with: “Is it true that …?”
Yesterday, while attending a brunch with a meetup group, I actually stopped the person mid-sentence as he was about to shoot one of those stereotype questions at me. Yes, I reached the point where I can save people the effort and time it takes to ask one of those culture-related questions and ask them to check my blog instead! whether they end up doing that or not, is not an issue. But the fact that I would have to repeat myself surely is and it won’t be happening anymore.
Going back to what happened after I decided to leave a corporate IT support role and make a career change into something entirely creative…As I explained in the previous post, I spent a year after quitting my dull IT help desk job reading spiritual books, doing some soul searching and exploring fun creative career options. My search led me to a one-year intensive foundation course with London College of Fashion. The course description seemed perfect for my place back then. It was a one-year intensive course in Fashion Media and Communication, which allows you to get an idea of the different course options at the college. Basically, the course was designed for the clueless crowd. If you wanted to do something in media and fashion, but were still unsure of what your interests or skills were, then this course would be a great introduction to help you decide on a major or specialization.
Since I had been out of education for quite some time at that stage of my life and since I’m not a fan of academics, I thought that this course is the ideal option for me. Everything sounded perfect; one year duration, you would create your own magazine by the end of the course and prerequisites such as a decent IELTS score. Sounds heavenly, right?
For someone who didn’t want to go back to studying – but has to since they are trying to make a huge career change from IT and business to fashion journalism – this course sounded like a gift sent from the Universe!
All I needed to do was take an IELTS exam to get a very minimal required score, answer basic questions about why I was interested in taking this course in a phone interview with someone from the college’s admission office and voila! I would be all set to fly to London and make my dream career change happen. Right? sadly, I was very wrong.
I will get into detail of why I was wrong in my decision to enroll to that course in a future post. For now, let me talk about a few things that happened before I left and just try to paint a picture for you about my plans at that time.
When I had my phone interview with the person from the LCF admission office and after explaining to him the reason behind my course choice and how I wanted to change careers into fashion journalism, he asked me this: “Well, why not take a BA in fashion journalism?”
I answered that I didn’t want to take another Bachelors course – which required at least three years of study. Of course I didn’t want to sound like a lazy student, so I wasn’t too obvious about it. But I made it clear that I wasn’t interested in doing another Bachelors. Funnily enough – around four and a half years later – I ended up taking another Bachelors course in journalism. Which proves that I should’ve listened to the admissions guy’s advise and saved myself some time 😀
After submitting all the required documents, getting my IELTS exam results and looking at accommodation options, all what was left was that life-saving piece of paper – the visa letter.
The visa letter is the main document that you need to apply for a student visa to the UK. it’s granted to you once you’ve successfully submitted all the documents required to enroll to a specific course and have received acceptance from the University or educational institution.
To me, the visa letter represented the start of a life-changing journey. It was my paper to freedom, to a new lifestyle, a liberation from all the binding social and home restrictions that were constantly suffocating and haunting me. That piece of paper was the optimal life-saver. I didn’t care much about the course, the career change or the new London lifestyle that was ahead of me. All I wanted was to get out of that negative life situation, adverse home environment and endless rules and restrictions.
I remember explaining to my dad at that time, that the main reason behind my application to that course was to leave the house. I was very upfront with him about it. I made it clear that the course came secondary to the need to leave home. I did skip the bit about not coming back though. I guess that wasn’t something that I could declare at that moment in time.
The next culture post will get into detail about what happened when I started that course at LCF and why I ended up leaving after one semester of successfully passing my subjects.
For now, I leave you with an inspiring track that might help anyone who is trying to make any kind of big change in their lives. It’s a reminder that the road might not be easy, the journey will be long and there will be endless challenges along the way. But, when you keep in mind that it’s the journey that matters and not the destination, it makes thing a lot much easier.
Changing careers from a very dry and dull subject like IT support to a completely creative field like lifestyle journalism is a big step. Moving from Saudi Arabia to any other country is another big leap of faith. Doing all of that without any considerable amount of emotional support, but with a huge dose of opposition, negative judgement and constant interference (which leads to distraction and negative influence) is certainly not an easy task.
But when you believe in yourself, your capabilities and the power within your soul, nothing is impossible. Simply because the positive, confident and constructive energy always wins over the negative, insecure and destructive one. The latter is too weak to survive anyway.
Wishing you a confident, upbeat and motivational week ahead…
Saudi Diva signing off XXX