I’ve wanted to write this for a while and well since exams and results day are over, I thought it was about time!
I say this alot, but school was honestly the best times of my life. I look back now, feeling ridiculously grown up and realise how simple life was back then. The only worry I had as a teen was my GCSE results, A-Level results and boy problems. A few weeks ago when I saw all those worried, nervous faces on the news, reactions and emotions, it instantly took me back to the moment I got my results for both my GSCE’s and my A-Levels. It was like I went back in time, that sheer panic of shitting myself when I was opening that god awful brown envelope came over me and it’s a really horrible feeling isn’t it? (For those who know what I mean). I worked damn hard for both my GCSE’s and A-Levels because, I wasn’t the brightest of the bunch, well at least that’s what I felt like in school, being predicted low grades. It’s very embarrassing and dishearting being told that you might not make it into sixth form because you’re only predicted a grade C. And that’s exactly what happened to me, if only that teacher who said that to me, could see me now.
It was honestly the most amazing feeling ever opening my results and seeing that my hard work had massively paid off and that I’d proved those haters (teachers) wrong. I aced my GSCE’S even getting an A* in one subject, I’m still really proud of that now. I sailed through sixth form, over achieving those crap predicted grades again and then I faced my first adult decision, aged 18. To go to university or not?
The biggest decision and question of some teens life I suppose, just your future on the line no biggie. When I was 18, and at the sixth form I went too, it was drilled into us that university was the only option but I knew it wasn’t for me. Of course, it was an option since I had the grades but it definitely wasn’t what I wanted. Luckily, my Mam was so supportive of my decision and even encouraged it, helping me weigh up my options and helping me choose what was best for me. I knew I wanted to do something creative as art and design came very natural to me. Some people are born to solve equations and others are born to paint pictures is what I say. Therefore, my Mam suggested an apprenticeship. I loved the idea of earning while I was learning and getting real hands on experience that would stay with me, therefore I grabbed the bull by its horns and started looking for an apprenticeship the day I left full-time education. Personally, I think people don’t realise just how much you can do with apprenticeships and the various sectors you can tap into with apprenticeships. I couldn’t believe how many there were out there, you can do just about anything you want, university and a degree isn’t necessary believe it or not.
Newspaper headlines the week of results were saturated by negative headlines about the fall in university acceptances. And barely any discussed the alternative higher education routes available to students – specifically apprenticeships and degree level apprenticeships or about the percentages of people taking this route, and how successful they’ve been. These valuable programmes play a major role in widening participation in further education and closing the gap in attainment levels between the richest and poorest students. Yet awareness and knowledge of them is still unacceptably low and I can’t help but wonder why that is.
Not to sound big headed or arrogant but I’d say I was a success story from education and an apprenticeship. I got an apprenticeship two weeks after I left sixth form at a well-known marketing agency in Newcastle, a role which I’m still incredibly grateful for. I managed to bag a full-time job at the end of it and then stayed with that same agency for almost three years. I gained so much experience within those three years about digital marketing (even creating this blog), I took responsibility of HUGE campaigns, got results needed, met clients expectations AND I even managed an apprentice. I am so proud of myself. I am now onto my second ‘real job’ in digital marketing, and I got that through real working life experience and my apprenticeship qualification, not a degree.
The point of this post is not to slag off university and degrees because I bet university is a once in a life time experience but what the point of this actually was, is to let anyone reading this whose life has taken a U turn due to results or anyone who isn’t sure what to do with their career, know that anything is possible and there are so many other options out there. I started from the bottom and now I’m here. In my second job and on a proper ‘adult’ full-time wage. You can do anything you want in life, just do it with passion and love, remember life is all or nothing.
Blazer | Primark
Top | Matalan
Jeans | Primark
Shoes | eBay