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Applied for nursery/early years apprenticeships that I'm worried I'm not right for

Hi! 18-year-old taking a gap year here. I decided I wanted to take a few years out of education before I went to uni because I needed a break from school and I wanted some time to reflect on myself and what I want out of life and to focus on my hobbies without worrying about school and stuff. I finished A levels in June (A*BB in English lit, history and psychology).

I've been looking for work since late September, and so far I've been unsuccessful. I've been applying to retail, hospitality and admin jobs because they all have pay I'd be happy to accept since it's higher than what I get with Universal Credit. Plus, I thought it would do in the meantime before I figured out any solid career path that I wanted to follow. I've had seven (?) interviews, and I have an interview for Iceland on Friday.

That all said, I think I've decided I want to try working with kids, specifically in a nursery setting. Last night, I was drunk and decided to apply for two early years apprenticeships, one at a nursery, and one at the local college, because I knew I'd never be able to apply to either of them if I was sober.

As much as I want to do it, I'm kind of worried. I'm worried I'm not the right fit for working with such young kids, and I'm worried that I'm just going to destroy my mental health again by doing an apprenticeship. I've barely interacted with little kids since I was a kid, and I'm not very good with people full stop. People who know me probably wouldn't expect me to go for something like this because they expect me to hate kids. I wanted to get a job in retail or something to work on my social skills, but I don't know if there's much opportunity for that with these opportunities. On the second point, school obliterated my mental health because of the studying and the pressure to do well, so I'm worried that doing an apprenticeship will do that to me all over again, since part of it involves studying. Admittedly, I know very little about apprenticeships because our school encouraged us not to do them, so I don't know how much like A levels apprenticeships are. At the end of the day, I really want time to myself so I can do the things I want to do and enjoy the time I have before I go to uni. The main thing I hated about school was that I was too tired to do the things I enjoyed, or I'd have to eat into my sleeping time to do the things I enjoyed. Equally, I've spent around six months left to my own devices, where I do virtually nothing but what I want except for when I go to the job centre, apply for jobs or go to job interviews, and I've found out that sitting around procrastinating from my hobbies and interests is equally unfulfilling.

Additionally, I'm wondering if doing an apprenticeship would be a waste of time if I know I want to go to uni in a few years time, when I'm 20-21-22-ish. Or, I'm worried it would be a waste of time and money if I ended up going to uni after doing an apprenticeship. I know I want the uni experience, but I'm sort of worried I'll be 'too old' if I go when I'm 21 or 22 because I'd be older than everyone there and I'd have no friends my own age and stuff, and I'd feel weird and alone, even though I know that mature students far older than that still go to uni and still have a good experience. That's probably my second main worry, that I'd be unable to go to uni after doing this, because it'll be 'too late', or that I'll be wasting my time doing this if I know that I want to go to uni within the next five years, and so what's the point in starting a career that I know I won't be able to stick with if I want to go to uni to study what I'm interested in (most likely English lit and film studies) and make friends and have the uni experience. I've not really seen apprenticeship THEN uni presented as a viable path, so I'm not sure it's a good idea.

On the flip side, I'd really like to work with kids because, even though it seems daunting, tiring, kind of gross and frustrating, I really admire kids' creativity and curiosity and I really want a rewarding job that will put me in the position to help them learn and stuff. I have an online acquaintance who works in a preschool and absolutely loves it, and honestly it does seem really fun and rewarding.

A lot of my concerns feel like blind panic because I really don't know exactly what any of it would be like.

I've already applied for these roles, so I'm worried turning them down now means I won't be able to apply later, so that means I'm worried I'm tied to do this thing that I really want to try but I'm terrified it won't work out and then I'll either have to quit and never be able to do it again or stick with it and make myself miserable. Like, I'm considering just not responding to the college if they ring me up because I'm not sure how to tell them 'I don't want to do this right now', but both of those things feel like I'd be hurting my chances at maybe getting any opportunities in the future. So, I'm not sure how to handle that situation. Should I ignore their call or should I just tell them that I don't want to do it at the moment? Or, maybe I should arrange an interview anyway to see if doing it outweighs any of my anxieties about doing it.

Basically, I just need some rational guidance. I probably sound insane writing all of this, but I needed to get it all out where someone could respond.

I probably won't apply for things when I'm drunk anymore.
(edited 2 months ago)

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