Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Intelligence Is Not Just a Number


Recently, it's become increasingly apparent that people around me want some serious answers.

"Katie, what are you going to do after you graduate?"

"Katie, have you been looking into graduate schemes and paid internships yet?"

"Katie,what exactly are you hoping to achieve with this blog of yours?"


And in place of raising my hands, grabbing the person by the shoulders and whispering frantically I DON'T HAVE A BLOODY CLUE WHAT I'M DOING, I just kind of fumble a half-hearted response to quieten the incessant questions and placate the worrisome frowns of my parents.

Because being in my third of four years at University, I've had an unfortunately ill-timed epiphany. 

I am just shit at school. 


After 16 straight years of education, the latter of which I've learnt nothing except how to rearrange and re-write other people's words and get credited for it, my dwindling pit of what little enthusiasm I had left has finally dried up.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing in the world that I love more than to learn new things - it is the very thing which fuels my passion - but this now, to me, is not learning. 

I thrive on passionate creativity, making things, establishing connections and making changes in the world - innovative, thought-provoking stuff which really gets you excited. 

For me, it seems like Uni only teaches you how to become really good at repeating stuff. 

And unfortunately my mind is a very stubborn mistress, and as a result I end up failing, just because I can't find the heart to repeat things convincingly.

But if there's one thing I resent more than anything, perhaps the only thing about Uni that impassions me at all, is when people assume that intelligence and test scores go hand in hand. 

Last year, after discovering that I'd failed a module and had to retake it, I received an email from my lecturer.

"It's such a shame," 

He'd said,

"I thought you were a smart girl."

Adrenaline flooded my body as I read those last six words over and over.

I frantically typed out a response with shaking fingers.

"Forgive me for sounding brash Sir, but I very much resent you inferring that just because I did not pass the class, that I am not intelligent. In my eyes, academia is a solid tightly-constricted box with permanent dimensions, whereas 'intelligence' is more like this glittering mist with no real mass. Sometimes that mist happens to settle perfectly inside the dimensions of academia, but have you ever tried to stuff a cloud into a box?"

That certainly shut him up.

And since that moment, whilst forcing myself to put in effort at school, I decided to take future into my own hands.

My passions have always lay in writing and creating, so for my writing, I made Scarphelia, and for creating, I carried out a load of whacky new ventures.

I sent out cupcakes to Cosmopolitan to show why they should hire me, I created a website which was noticed by Vice Magazine and they offered me an internship and I spent my summer days working in a fashion office in London to try and get as much experience as possible.

It all sounds great, and indeed it was, but, as with being one of the luckiest people ever, misfortune is never far behind to restore the balance.

Cosmopolitan accepted me for an internship (due to start summer 2014) only to email me a week ago and explain that unfortunately this would be the last month they were taking on interns, and I was no longer going to be working with them.

Vice, despite coming directly to me and asking me to work for them, explained that they could only be taking on full-time interns, so whilst I was still at University I wouldn't be able to work with them.

And my fashion internship? After slaving away for 4 months working 11 hour days without a penny in compensation, they turned round at the end and stabbed me in the back in the worst way possible. But, I shall take the high ground here and elect to omit the finer details.

And so despite making (what appeared to be) such amazing career progressions, I still happen to find myself right back to square one. A girl with a blog not really knowing what the heck she's doing or where she's going.

I find myself thinking that perhaps I should just chuck it all in and go back to paying more attention at Uni.

But then I think, am I really back to square one?

Yes I might not have a better clue about what I want to be when I grow up, or have places lined up wanting to hire me straight out of Uni, but... Perhaps I haven't gone back to square one. Maybe I've come full circle.

And to go full circle, you have to go pretty far in the first place I think.

And it's an indisputable fact that all of the things I did achieve came as a direct result of blogging.

And so I realised.

It's okay to not really know what you're doing.

It's okay to still not know what you want to be when you grow up.

It's okay if you try and end up failing.

It's okay if you screw up every now and again.

As long as you're doing something.

Whether it be writing, blogging, making youtube videos, interning, making music, organising events, photography - as long as you find something you are passionate about and you stick at it, you're never going to be nowhere.

Doing what I love has helped me achieve so many wonderful things, and just because now is a bit of a slump, there's nothing to say that more wonderful things aren't peeking just over the horizon.

There will be ups and downs, failures and triumphs, days when you think you should just chuck it all in, but hey. If you're doing something you love, you can't go far wrong, right?