In today's fast-paced job market, you hardly have time to stop and think. Whether I was at work waiting on a client to dial in to a weekly call, or just out for pleasure waiting for a friend to arrive, the image I had in my head was the same. I kept seeing the timer from our work spreadsheets software rolling on and on, telling me I really didn't have time to waste.
Having completed most of my education in Italy, coming to study and work in England was a shock. Studying wasn't just studying: internships, networking events and hobbies meant to show I was a student/intern/employee worth investing in were also part of the equation. All of this was fun and challenging, allowing me to explore everything London had to offer and to find out what I liked or didn't like.
I found out I was good at writing, that I enjoyed doing it and that I also enjoyed going out, meeting new people, thinking creatively, being on top of the news agenda and of social happenings. I ended up making a job out of this. Why? Because, most of the time, it was easy. I felt naturally good at it.
It took over four years of my life to realise that, way earlier, I had begun compromising on my choices. Not that anybody had asked me to. I was just avoiding taking up challenges that I feared were too risky, I was replacing not being good enough at something I loved with being great at something I was ok with.
I've wanted to study and work in criminology since I was a teenager, but my passion for writing - and the fact that I found it so easy - ended up being my first choice when I applied to university. So I compensated my interest in investigations with a journalism degree, then turning it into a PR job to go on experimenting with creativity and writing.
It was a four-day summit in Dublin, the Undergraduate Awards, that changed my mind. After listening to inspiring talks by pioneers in their fields - and after an admittedly wine-fuelled conversation with one of the most interesting academics I've ever met, cyber-psychologist Dr. Mary Aiken, I realised that I needed to get back on track.
After over four years of trying to prove myself, of trying to fit in with the London business world, the Undergraduate Awards were the first occasion where I finally stopped, took a deep breath and started thinking. And the first thought that came in to my head was: you need to re-train.
In July, I will be starting a Master's degree in Criminology at the University of Sydney. Staying in London, keeping my fulfilling job, my circle of friends, my boyfriend and my lifestyle is the easy option. Embarking upon a Master degree in a subject I'm not well-versed in, re-training in a country I don't know, definitely isn't easy. I'm leaving a whole life behind to start a new one, being too late for most scholarships and having to crowd-fund most of my degree.
But as I keep seeing the timer go by, I realise we all have too little time for compromises. We should all stop and think whether we love what we're doing, or if we could be doing something we love even more. I'm looking forward to this next challenge.