Yca Tan

June 13, 2024, by Jackie Thompson

It’s never too late to change your mind about your career

By Yca Tan, UoN graduate

Growing up in a family of nurses, I always thought nursing was also in my path. Helping people in their most vulnerable moments was fulfilling.

However, as I moved through my studies, I realised that nursing wasn’t the right fit for me. The emotional and physical demands, along with the high-pressure environment were incredibly overwhelming, and it took until my final year to face this reality.

The turning point came during a tough clinical placement during COVID where I felt overwhelmed and out of place – both my mental and physical health took a hit. It was disheartening to admit that the career I was so close to finishing wasn’t for me. This realisation was a blow to my self-esteem, but I knew I had to be honest with myself.

Having the right support

During this uncertain time, I sought career advice, and Shelley, my career adviser, was a huge support. She helped me navigate my doubts and provided a safe space to express my concerns. She encouraged me to explore different career options and think about what I genuinely enjoyed. Through our conversations, I identified my passion for creativity and communication, which led me to consider marketing.

Using my transferable skills

With Shelley’s guidance, I applied for the Nottingham Internship Scheme. The programme offered a variety of opportunities, and I was particularly drawn to social media and marketing roles. I was anxious since I had spent the past three years focusing on nursing skills and worried if my other skills would be adequate. However, Shelley reassured me that the skills I developed in nursing were transferable and valuable in any industry. I realised a marketing role would allow me to use my creativity and communication skills in a dynamic environment. The idea of working on campaigns, engaging with audiences, and contributing to brand strategies excited me.

After applying to several internships, I landed a social media internship with a local wellness centre in Nottingham. The experience has been incredibly rewarding. I’ve worked on various projects, from social media campaigns to market research, and discovered a genuine passion for marketing. The internship provided me with valuable skills and insights, confirming that this career change was the right move. Now, I’m a marketing and communications assistant for an AI startup, after interning with them for 10 months, which I also applied for through the scheme.

Changing career direction – my advice

To any students thinking about changing their career direction, my advice is to be honest with yourself about what makes you happy and fulfilled. It’s okay to change your mind and explore new paths. There’s no shame in feeling stuck and wanting to change, even when it feels like it’s too late. Realising something isn’t right for you can be liberating. Life doesn’t stop when you decide to change direction; you just create a new path.

Seek support from advisers, mentors, or anyone who can offer guidance and encouragement. Do thorough research and use the internet to find resources.

Remember, your career journey is uniquely yours, and it’s perfectly fine to take a different route to find your true calling. Changing career paths can be scary but it can also lead to exciting opportunities that align better with your interests and strengths. It may seem blurry but it will all work out in the end.

If you are undecided about where your future lies, take a look at our help and advice on choosing a career, information on graduate roles and talk to a careers adviser.

Posted in Alumni StoriesChoosing Your Career