The path to here

Do I ever wonder why I am here and whether I am good enough? Whether it will all be worth it in the end and wonder if it will be the investment I told myself it would be?

Yes, yes, yes and yes!

I can be a master of self-doubt and criticism. My plan, however, is to become a Master in Corporate Communication, Marketing and Public Relations. Whenever I am in self-doubt I remind myself why I am here, how I got here and where I am going.

The why part is easy. I became a mum at the age of 23, I had no education, I had been stuck in dead end jobs that didn’t even cover the bills and I had ambitions and believed life held more for me than this. When I became a mum I also felt this huge wave of responsibility hit me. I could do more, I had to do more. I had to show my little girl how beautiful the world was, live life to the fullest and be a good role model for her.

low angle view of cat on tree
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At the age of 25 however I still didn’t have an education, no flashy nor well paid job BUT I did have one more child and worries as I was a single mum of two and stuck in a rut.

In panic mode I called an aunt of mine, older and wiser. She told me to get back to school. She said she knew that was what I wanted to do and that no matter how well paid the job would be if one had this urge to study it would always be there nagging away in the background. She also pointed out that while studying I could get student loans and they would cover anything me and the kids would need. To a single mum of two in desperation and loads of bills to pay that sounded like a great plan.

So that’s what I did! I completed the Icelandic equivalent of A levels in a year (it should take 3-4 years), as by then I was already a mature student!

back to school conceptual creativity cube
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As I graduated with a very high average I took the only rational step and enrolled into law studies! My only advise here is, don’t do something because it seems rational, do it because you have a passion! As my heart was not in it and I didn’t enjoy it I left university about a month later. I still had to pay the tuition fees and told myself I wasn’t cut out to study at a prestige institution like a university.

At that point I took a break, got married and moved to the Middle East where I lived for about 10 months.

When I returned I was not only a single mum of two but a divorcé! Just that word made me cringe and I always felt the need to justify it. I had nowhere to live nor a job. Well done Heiða!

Quickly I sorted out a nice little flat in central Reykjavík and got a sales job which I knew nothing about and was not sure I had the confidence for. My then boyfriend (now fiancé) thought the world of me and believed in me more than anyone ever had in my life. He knew sales and told me the do’s and don’ts. I LOVED that job! I loved walking into different businesses every day and talking to different people. For the first time I woke up and looked forward to going to work. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay the bills. Therefore, I took a job in a store where I stacked the shelves and sold cleaning products and stationary. I worked long days and had no passion for the job whatsoever.

adult art conceptual dark
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When I browsed through Facebook I kept getting this ad on my feed, staring me in the eye, poking my subconscious and daring me to click on it. Facebooks algorithm found me! It was an advert from a university. It was an expensive privately-run university. It was a BA in Media and Public Relations. For a long time I resisted the urge to click on the link, I had tried university, it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t good enough and when I would (not if) quit I would still have to pay high amounts of school fees and God knew I couldn’t afford that!

I didn’t share these thoughts with anyone. Eventually though, the algorithm got the best of me, I clicked the advert and read about this degree. It sounded wonderful! It sounded like something I would actually enjoy! I might be able to get an education and a job I actually like and live up to those dreams and goals I set up with when I first became a mum.

I called my boyfriend and told him about this crazy idea of mine. As before he believed in me and when I mentioned the fact we would be even worse off debt wise if I couldn’t do it he wouldn’t hear any off it. He told me I was brilliant and could do anything I wanted. We would make this work.

silhouette photo of man leaning on heart shaped tree
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I enrolled and did my bachelors through distance learning.

The next two and a half year flew by. They were incredibly challenging, difficult, hectic, sleepless, tiring and manic. I had to plan every day carefully, so the kids would get to where they needed to be and that there would be someone to take them there, feed them, get them to sleep etc. as both me and my boyfriend had full time jobs. I worked shifts, 12 hours a day approximately 4 days a week and he worked night shifts every other week. I also had to plan when to study. I also had to make allowance for going to the school every 6 weeks for lectures and seminars over a period of 3-4 days as my school was in the countryside. Sometimes it worked out fine, sometimes I simply had to take the kids with me. I changed jobs two times and added a second job on during my last term. I miscarried 4 times. We moved houses two times. During my last term of course work I was finally pregnant (heavily), doing two jobs and studying full time. When I look back I am not sure how I did it. But having great support goes a long way. Being organised, passionate and stubborn gets you the rest.

Once that term had finished I gave birth to my third child. Six weeks later I was doing an internship at a production company and writing my dissertation.

When I was approaching the end of my studies I realized I knew loads of different theories, but I didn’t know how to apply them. I didn’t feel the confidence I had imagined I would feel after all this reading and studying. Therefore, I decided to do further studies.

I am from Iceland. The group I graduated with was the first one with a PR education from an Icelandic university. Therefore, I knew I would have to look outside my home country to chase my passion and my dreams. I did loads of research and applied to two universities in the UK. I got into both of them and today I am a student of Leeds University.

leeds uni

I believe that once I have finished my degree here I can achieve anything. I will be able to live those dreams I had as a 23 year old mum. I will be a good role model to my children, I will have a job that pays the bills (and hopefully then some), I will be able to manage my time more than I could in my previous jobs and I will be waking up in the morning (or if it’s up to me around lunch time) and going to a job I enjoy and am passionate about! We spend too much time of our lives at work not to enjoy what we are doing!

This path has not been easy, it has not been straight, but I firmly believe it will be worth it!

And in a way it already has been as I have made friends for a lifetime, I have pushed myself beyond my limits (quite a few times), I already have an education that no one can take away from me, I have learnt a lot about myself, I have gone out of my comfort zone many times and I have gained life experience that is impossible to put a price tag on.

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