How I became a Londoner

Tower Bridge & Skyline-London by Trodel©

Michal Tomcany

Short story from the life of a young ambitious Slovakian who dreamed about going to England since he was little. This young Slovak grew up in small family that not always had everything but worm hearts. His ambitions were always beyond thinkable and his patience had no limits. He waited and hoped for so long. After the college graduation he was offered a job in South African family living in UK. His first time on plane, first time in England, and what’s more, all alone. He got the smallest room in the house maybe the smallest room in the world. His duty was to look after the house and do all the households. Some “cleanings” around the neighborhood were source of extra income but nothing special. He tried to work in a local pub but he was told it’s beyond his language skills. The very next day he decided to improve his language skills. He signed up for English classes on a daily basis in a local International Language School. After 2 months he managed to improve his language on the level of a fluent speaker. He became brave and felt like at home. Everything around him made more sense, simply because he fully understood the language. He no longer felt that his plans will find success in this city called Reading, which was actually 5 times bigger then the one he was born in. As soon as the college term finished, he quitted all jobs and left all he knew behind.

A new job was on offer in London where he had never been before. He passed the interview and moved to London. New family felt so homie and dirty streets full of life and opportunities offered new scope for his life. The young Slovak found the challenge he was looking for. The thing is that Slovaks are brave at home but shy across the borders and this was no longer true in Michal’s case. In Slovakia he was rejected twice from the only University of Architecture. When he found out, he was angry and felt miserable for not being understood or appreciated. But guess what he did? Just after one year in UK he got an idea that he could study architecture in London. He found out everything about UK Universities and applied for a course at the School of Architecture at the University of Westminster in London. It didn’t take too long and he received an acceptance letter!! It was the best day in his entire life. He wanted to study architecture but had no idea it will happen in London. Can you believe that? Nothing like he planed it or he had saved single penny to study in London but not even superior marks!! It was absolutely simple and amazing!

First day in Uni he met these new people. London is huge and if you have ever been in London you know that there are people from all over the world. His classmates where just like that: multicultural and each coming from different world. His Uni is at Baker Street just across the Madam Tussauds Museum in the very heart of the city. He couldn’t wish for more. He was over the moon. But it was a bit too shiny for the begging. Let me tell you about the city. London is way too expensive and I am not talking about going out with some rich kids but simple life, daily routine! Everything is too expensive and shelter above your head is one of the most expensive basics. There wasn’t any way to survive without a job. Michal got a job in small architectural practice where he drafted plans. Something what he had learned at the college back in Slovakia. So you can see that all your skills and knowledge comes with you wherever you go unlike the possessions. Since it wasn’t enough, he also worked in a bar on the weekends and we all know how it is like working in bars. Night shifts, drunken people and poor money. However serving drinks in a night club full of fine ladies brings you different thoughts. It was a kind of relaxation. He knew that some of the classmates have their university and life expenses covered by their parents. Something called first birthday kit for life. In his case there were no savings, no scholarships, no grants, no benefits but hard work. Of course he managed to get government to lend him money to pay of the course but eventually he will have to pay it back. Later on he got tired and suffered lack of time to do his university stuff. The lack of time played quite a role when the results from second year came through. He was told by one of his tutors that he isn’t confident enough to go through. He was way too busy to focus on UNI at all. He failed second year!

The following year was meant to be his last before the degree but he had to retake the failed module and by the judgment of his tutor to gain little more confidence. So it became some sort of a gap year before the final year. He realized that he pushed it too far and drifted away from the dream. He wasn’t passionate enough and yes, he admitted he feared when it came to his work. Throughout this year he learned that it is important to focus and never be modest when it comes to your work because your work is what you are! He knew he could do better but he never got time or energy to do so. This failure was a major catalyst in boosting his confidence and sharpening his focus and eventually it was the savvier of his student life at Westminster. Since then grooming his confidence and stroking his ego could be a title for the action you can see when he presented his work. Anytime he presented something he took it very seriously and placed his heart in it.

What I like the most about London is: It doesn’t matter where you come from, who are your parents and if you can afford to be around or not. They don’t mean anything. What matters is your confidence. It can be recognized from miles and it is your signature. In London absolutely everyone has a chance to be anything and anyone. It is a personal choice and an individual challenge. Even though I will never like the tutor who failed me, I’m glad she did because I no longer feared to be around successful people. I can go anywhere in the world and feel comfortable because I am confident about myself. I do things I like and I put all my heart in it! Living in London and being part of the university has changed my life.

My name is Michal Tomcany and I believe you can do anything if you believe in yourself.

3 thoughts on “How I became a Londoner

  1. Soon I'll be leaving to London for studies and I'll most probably be facing the fears and insecurities you're talking about. Your story helps me acknowledge them and hopefully I'll put your advice into practice and be confident. I liked your story, all you had to put up with and you haven't lost the sense of humor…

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