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Never truly mine.

The University of Cambridge- an eternal dream never truly meant for me.

Curious and excited.

In a coach we pulled up beside the towering buildings- historical and archaic. From that very moment a feeling engulfed me, this is where I’m meant to be.

Day by day, week by week I studied. All of my effort driven towards one goal. All of my hard work. Every. Single. Day. Get the grades. Get in.

Every night my prayers would be centred around that one thing. ‘Please, please help me to get into Cambridge. It’s my dream.’


The effort, the hard work, the prayers. It all worked out.

Thursday 15th August 2019 on my phone I read: ‘Congratulations! Your place at University of Cambridge C05 for Psychological and Behavioural Sciences C800 has been confirmed.’

I was brought to tears with excitement and relief.

From that very day, once the initial excitement had worn off a different feeling remained. Doubt- silently creeping within me. I’m relieved I got in, but is this what I really want?

Pushing the feeling aside we rejoiced in celebration. My family, friends, school all proud beyond words. Me, an ethnic minority from a deprived area going on to study at the embodiment of the elite. What reason could I possibly have for aversion?


Arriving at Cambridge felt like an alternate reality. Individuals walking around in robes, bikes everywhere, a ceremony called ‘matriculation.’ That feeling once again began to rise. This is what I worked for. I assured myself. I just need time to settle in and everything will be fine, this is where I’m supposed to be.

Time passed and I got into a routine. Lectures, supervisions, library. A repetitive cycle- but I enjoyed it. Practical sessions holding a real life sheeps brain, walks through the market square, revising in my second home- costa. I was getting used to it- but I wasn’t truly satisfied.

Aspects of the course, in the long term were not what I wanted. I hated living away from home. And I knew that I had the potential to be happier elsewhere.

There were parts of Cambridge that I truly enjoyed, yes. However, for the work that I put in, the effort and time- I deserved to be satisfied and truly happy with where I was. Like I am now.


Deciding to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, but do I regret it? Not at all.

The process after leaving was onerous. I felt confused, tired and lost. I had just potentially chucked away my future, everything I worked towards. But I had to have faith that everything would work out for the best. This had to be a part of a greater plan. Listening to everyone’s opinions on me leaving led to a greater spiral of self doubt, was I doing the right thing? I wasn’t certain at all. No matter how many pro’s and con’s lists I made, no matter how many different perspectives I had, I had to keep faith in my decision. I had to follow my heart.

9 months later and I am so satisfied with the direction of my life, and the decision I made. The place I am in now- mentally, physically and educationally is so much better. I never could’ve seen where am right now if I’d stayed at Cambridge, I never could’ve been here.

Taking a gap year has given me time to pass my driving test and get a car, write a book, start a blog, volunteer for causes important to me, and improve my mental health. I haven’t given up on my studies, and will start at a different university in September. Taking this path beginning in trepidation has led to thorough contentment, and I know that it doesn’t end here.


Lessons to take away:

  • Sometimes in life, what you think is best for you may not be. And sometimes the only way to realise that is by experiencing it yourself. Time is never wasted in these experiences, be grateful for the opportunity to learn this for yourself.

  • For your betterment you’re going to have to make difficult decisions, never hold back in trusting your instincts. Have faith in yourself.

  • Things in life will change, and that’s okay. Don’t attach yourself rigidly, accept and work with whatever life throws at you.

  • You will never know the true benefits of a decision that you’re going to make until you make it. Trust that you could be opening doors to a much better position for yourself, even if you can’t see it.

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