Almost every time I meet someone new, I get asked about the misconceptions of Saudi and its culture. The questions generally start with: “Is it true that …?”
Yesterday, while attending a brunch with a meetup group, I stopped a person mid-sentence. 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. I ask them to check my blog instead!
I’ll now go back to what happened after I left my corporate IT support role to make a career change into something entirely creative. 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. Essentially, the course description seemed perfect for my place back then. It was a one-year intensive course in Fashion Media and Communication. It is to allow you to get an idea of the different course options at the college.
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, I thought that this course is the ideal option for me. Everything sounded perfect. It was one year in duration. You would create your magazine by the end of the course. 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. I’d have to answer basic questions 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.
My phone interview with the person from the LCF admission office didn’t go well. I explained to him the reason I wanted to do the course. this covered how I wanted to change careers into fashion journalism. He then asked me this: “Well, why not take a BA in fashion journalism?”
I answered that I didn’t want to take another Bachelors course. This was 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. Funnily enough – around four and a half years later – I ended up taking another Bachelors course in journalism. I should’ve listened to the admissions guy’s advise and saved myself some time 😀
I submitted all the required documents and received my IELTS exam results. After looking at accommodation options, all that was left was that life-saving piece of paper – the visa letter.
The visa letter is the primary 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 enrol in 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, 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. Being upfront, I made it clear that the course came secondary to the need to leave home. At this time, I did skip the bit about not coming back though. I guess that wasn’t something that I could declare then.
For now, I leave you with an inspiring track that might help anyone who is trying to make any significant change in their lives. Click here to listen to the track. It’s a reminder that the road might not be easy. The journey may be long. There will be endless challenges along the way. But, it’s the journey that matters and not the destination. This makes things a lot much easier.
Making big decisions can be scary. Changing careers from IT support to a 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 massive 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. Moreover, the latter is too weak to survive anyway.
Wishing you a confident, upbeat and motivational week ahead.