My ideal career came about thanks to work experience...

What did you want to be when you grew up?

For a while I wanted to be a librarian.

I made paper slips for all my books and sat in my room with date-stamp in hand.

Then, when I found out no woman had done it before, I wanted to manage England.

I didn’t even really like football, it was more to wind up my male relatives.

But as I got older my passion for art and literature put me on the track full steam towards teaching – only to be derailed by a stint of work experience in a newspaper office... and the rest, as they say, is history.

At school I remember sitting in a room and being asked to fill in a quiz which would help me find my career – apparently.

I only realised it was flawed when, having ticked that I liked animals and liked food, it told me that I should be a butcher. Which didn’t really match up with the fact I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 14.

That was pretty much the extent of my careers guidance.

The rest was dictated by the fact I was okay at exams, so they kept throwing more at me.

Before I knew it I had lots of pieces of paper, but no clue what to do with them. A feeling people will have experienced in the last few weeks.

The obvious answer was, and still is, university. While I don’t regret going, I wish the other options had been made more obvious.

In the end my five weeks of work experience ended up being more useful than my three-year degree did – and cheaper.

Laura.Cartledge@jpress.co.uk