Flashback to five years ago this month.
I was rather abruptly made redundant from my office job. The following few months were, in the grand scheme of things, pretty crap; nothing came of an endless amount of job applications, motivation was waning, self-worth was non-existent, so at the very limit of my sanity, and bank balance, I started from the bottom again. There was little in the way of alternative options.
I put all my focus into writing. I got paid in food, I got paid late, I got paid less than I was promised, and in some cases, I got paid nothing. But I kept at it, through the sleepless nights and among a pile of unopened bank statements.
Flash forward to today, in which I completed my last official day as a mature sport journalism student.
I flew through my access course at Strathclyde, three years on I secured a BA with distinction, along with back-to-back university court medal awards. I’m averaging a 75% GPA for honours year so far, and now, fingers crossed, I have a dissertation and portfolio worthy of a decent enough final grade. I’ve aimed for a First. I cannot put into words how much that means to just write that.
My dissertation, specifically the acknowledgement section, may never be read outside of academic circles, so I’ll repeat it here. Those who know, will know I mean them.
This dissertation, the end product of a combined five years of further education, would not have been possible without the help, support, patience, encouragement and love from friends, family, and university staff.
It is therefore dedicated to them, without whom I would not have made it this far.
The last sentence isn’t in any way an exaggeration, it’s entirely true.
Here’s two fingers up to anyone who doubted me, failed to support me, or believe in me.
I did it.
Now, what’s next?
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.
This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind.
It could mean not eating for three or four days.
It could mean freezing on a park bench.
It could mean jail.
It could mean derision.
It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.
And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.
And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.
If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.
It’s the only good fight there is.” – Bukowski