In case you skipped the trailer and just showed up at the movies with no expectation, then I hope you found your seat okay.
My name is Chantelle Olaiya, I’m a 23 years old British hospitality student on the edge of my biggest adventure to date. So it’s only right I briefly explain to my audience of one how I got here.
I had been working as a chef for 5 years, with the intention of working my way to ‘the top’, without spending £27,000 on a certificate and the privilege of my cv making it to the ‘maybe’ pile. Now some would say I was naive or hard headed and maybe I was, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done it just wasn’t my path.
Pre epiphany, I was working at a pretty prestige Spa Resort, scratch that, I was SLAVING but for the purpose of this blog I’m going to go with working extremely hard.
So, as I was saying I was working ‘extremely hard’ at a spa resort as a junior sous chef on a demi chef de partie wage, covering for my head chef and the other 3 members of staff we weren’t allowed to employ, writing menus, planning rotas, calling agencies thinking it will all pay off.
you guessed it…
it didn’t because really if it did I wouldn’t be writing this.
I was miserable, irritable, unapproachable, emotionally unavailable and any other negative ‘able’ you can think of. My passion was my job, I hated my job so I began to hate my passion. Something I loved had become plagued with negative connotations of little sleep, no social life, over worked, underpaid, sweat, burns, blood, scars and foul language.
Perseverance wasn’t paying and above all I needed to get my passion back, I couldn’t allow such a negative experience shape the rest of my life, my mum taught me better!
Maya Angelou once said “…having courage and showing courage mean we face our fears. We are able to say, “I have fallen but I will get up”, and boy did I fall…displayed in the form of several dramatic public scenes of emotion, extensive contemplation and divine intervention. But after all that I had to put on my big girl pants, fix my eyeliner and get my s%*t together (sorry mum).
See something I realised at a young age was success was not AN option for me, it was the ONLY option, I don’t know where it comes from and it’s impossible to explain without sounding cliché or misinterpreted as arrogant or cocky.
But anyhow whatever ‘force’ that operates within me took control and I did what I was adamant I would not do and, I applied to get a degree in Hospitality management at Westminster Kingsway College, London, Victoria.
Despite the revolutionary moment, the novelty of solving my periodic life crisis was soon overshadowed when I found myself unemployed and calculating how far my student loan would stretch between travelling back and forth to London 3 times a week and the weekly Nandos habit me and my girls had picked up.
Cutting through some details so you don’t walk out on me, it wasn’t easy, which no good thing ever was, but I was succeeding. So much so I was awarded with reduced tuition fees for my first year, at the end of my second year, awarded as outstanding student of 2016, queue the party poppers.
But more than anything so many good things came out this decision, I have been lucky enough to travel some of Europe with the costs included in my tuition fee, I broke into a city I longed to live in and experience and landed a job as a waitress at The House of Commons. Like how many people can put that on their CV. These are all things I would never dream of doing, the same way I never dreamed of typing this from a place I’m about to call home for the next 380 days.
I’m in America, because I set fire to my comfort zone, took control of my misery and let an unknown force drive me.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anias Nin