It’s results day; for some that means happy tears, celebration drinks, party time and the relief that they have made the cut into the university they wanted.
This time every year, with exam results flowing in, it opens what I like to think of as the “great university debate,” where well meaning people, be it friends or family or bloggers alike tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing. I’m going to try and steer clear of lecturing in this post, but I wanted to share my own personal experience, or what I can remember, and you’ll have to bare with me, because it was six long years ago!
My own experience:
The memory that sticks with me the most out of everything at my time at college, was when it was time to make our university choices, I went to a career advisor as I wasn’t really feeling university and the idea of further education filled me with mind numbing boredom and dread, only to be told “we’re only dealing with university applicants right now, so you’ll have to come back later.” What is the use of a careers office, if not to help you when you are crying out for help in a direction for your career?
Having failed to gain any help with my life choices I took the easy way out and signed up for a combined course in sociology & politics at universities that I felt would please my parents and take me closer to my boyfriend at the time. (My first mistake.)
When I realised my mistake I cancelled my whole UCAS application and decided to take a year out, I tapped up my hours at Argos, where I’d held a weekend job for years and I felt comfortable again.
When results day came around, although I was nervous, I felt the pressure was off, I needed good results for the following year when I decided to re apply, but if not, I had a year and I could relax. (Second mistake.)
I did pass my A levels with grades I was really happy with and that would get me into a good university the following year. All was well until my friends started to leave for their exciting journeys to university and I felt alone.
I trudged along for a year awaiting the time when I could go to university so I was reunited & accepted by my peers, because after all, their comments of “you’ll only work in a shop forever if you don’t go to university” had never felt more true.
When it finally came around I had accepted a course in Drama and theatre, something I had decided I would love to do. I could figure out the career aspect later, after all I was only 19 and had years to make a proper decision.
The truth was, I didn’t really enjoy it. I made some good friends, but the course lacked proper direction, I found it hard to complete tasks on time and I struggled with a social life/work balance. Whilst I don’t regret the life experience it gave me, I wish I’d realised this earlier and left in the first year when I had the chance.
Instead I trudged on into the second year and when Christmas finally came I decided enough was indeed enough. Problems with family illness drew my heart home even further and I just couldn’t bare it anymore, every day at university felt like a failure as everyone else was taking it in their stride and for some reason, I just wasn’t. I left and arrived home to the most understanding parents a child could wish for. I immediately took on my old job and started to look for more stable full time work.
I sent out around 20 applications and waited. I interviewed for an internship in an old peoples home and one other job and eventually got the second.
It was back in retail, but in a high end environment with prospects to advance and further my prospects.
I’m now studying for my National Association of Goldsmiths Jewellery Education Training and will be finished by the end of this year with a qualification fit for the sector I work in.
I look forward to my job everyday and as I spend time nurturing my career, the prospects only get better.
I have just moved in with my boyfriend and we live in a lovely apartment, I blog as a hobby, spend time with good friends and I work my arse off in between, but life is good.
I guess what I am trying to tell you 17/18 year olds out there who have just opened the letter, university isn’t the only option, I wish someone had told my 18 year old self where I’d be now, so she wouldn’t spend those sleepless nights wondering what the hell she was going to do.
So I say to you, take your letter, and if you got what you wanted and are on your way to university, fantastic, well done and good luck.
But if not, work hard, be true to yourself and never, ever give up. You might not get there right away, but as in the great old tale goes “slow and steady wins the race.”
Until Next Time