I got talking to someone at work yesterday about jobs and what career paths we have been on. It got me thinking about previous jobs and how journalism has always been the only option in reality.
I’m going to take you back to when I was about three or four. I spent weekends with my dad and from a young age my dad taught me to respect animals and would always make comments to family and friends saying “Rochelle is going to be a vet one day!” And it stuck.
So anyway back to four year old me. I had found a snail in the garden, I think this must have been my first encounter with a snail because I ran into my Grandma’s house screaming for my dad to come outside and see what i found. As I ran back outside to show him, I crushed said snail under my tiny Clarks shoe. My dad has since told me I cried, for quite a long time.
He took me to a big country park to cheer me up the next weekend and there was loads of animals there, that thankfully I couldn’t reach and hurt! And then this big white bird appeared on the lake and I said to my dad “Look at the size of that duck!”. It was a swan.
Fast forward a few years I got my first job in pet shop to gain a bit of work experience with animals. I opened up the shop, fed all of the animals, cleaned them out , made sure they all had water and looked fit and healthy. Then there was the poorly animals in a room upstairs and I spent the rest of my shift nursing them. My favourite was this really fat rabbit called Roger. After a few weeks of Roger being on a strict diet, Roger gave birth to 3 baby rabbits. Roger was re-named Jessica quite swiftly. And I adopted one of the baby rabbits, Millie.
Then came the summer of adoptions. I was given twenty quid every Saturday for my eight hours hard graft and with this twenty pounds, I started purchasing animal after animal. I had four rabbits and a hamster. My mum quickly put her foot down. But then I was overwhelmed with all the cleaning out and the food consumption and my twenty pounds just wasn’t stretching so unfortunately I had to give my rabbits to my cousins.
In the same year I had the opportunity to take my English GCSE early (Year 9 rather than Year 11) I came out with a B grade which at the time was impressive for a 13 year old but I still re took it in my final year to come out with an A*. At this point I was not doing so well in biology and chemistry. In fact I found them extremely hard and had to revise A LOT. But I never had to put much work in to English.
It wasn’t until college that I realised that being a vet just wasn’t for me. I finished first year with an E in biology and I had also learnt to drive. By my second month driving I had killed a magpie, a rabbit and a mouse. I think the problem was I just loved them too much.
Then I had the heart wrenching decision of what was I going to do with my life if I couldn’t be a vet. I had to speak to a lot of people including my Dad and let him down gently. After speaking to my mum she told me about how when I was a kid I didn’t really play with toys. I would pick a book over a toy any day. And how I would never argue with my mum if I was told off, I would write letters and send them down the stairs.
It was only then that I realised it had always been English. I needed to revise like I revised for biology but for a subject that came naturally and I knew then, that journalism is what I wanted to get into.
A book I’ve read recently described journalism as the one night stand of writing because you give it all away in the first sentence. And that’s why I love journalism because you can write for the masses. You can write a piece that everyone will understand and there is no suspense. There is so much structure to follow in journalism and I like that for work because I can completely ignore these structures when I write for fun. The confines help me identify between work and leisure.
And just in case I needed any more confirmation that I took the right career path, on the way home from work, I killed a duck.