For some of you, tomorrow is a really big day. A-Level results. One chapter of your lives closing, the next opening. Good luck to all of you getting your results tomorrow and I hope it means you can continue with whatever your future plans were.
It seems like a long time ago I got my results. But receiving those grades set in motion a time I would rather forget. Although I have just graduated and had a great time at uni in the end, it took two attempts and resulted in the worst time of my life. Even to this day, it affects me.
I wanted to write this post because I felt pressurised into going to university. It was nothing my parents did or said – they were only supportive of every decision I made, even when I dropped out. But I was predicted high grades which meant I knew what was expected of me. I would go to a good university, do a traditional type of degree and graduate with a first. No one ever said that. It was the pressure I put on myself because I’ve always been expected to do well.
Instead, I did go to university – despite having serious, serious doubts as to whether I wanted to. I hated it. I dropped out. I lost a lot of weight, didn’t sleep and was such a mess it has taken years to get over – if, indeed, I have.
This is an exciting time of your life. There isn’t much time between getting the results and being shipped off to the next chapter of your life. With any luck, it will be the best experience of your life. But you have to make sure the decision is yours.
Deadlines with school meant I never carefully considered what I wanted to do. I picked a degree subject almost out of a hat and let myself be rushed through the process. I never let myself stop and think, for the idea that I would break away and do something different was always too much of a terrifying thought. If I could give myself any advice now, it would be this: stop and think. What is it that I want? What will I get from this? What will I do with this?
After A-Levels, university is pushed upon us as the next logical step. I did end up going back – new place, new course, new friends – and am really proud of what I achieved. I got my first. But please, if you take only one thing from this post, let it be this. Think. Make sure your next step in life is the one you want it to be. Not what school wants. Not what your parents want. It’s better to sit and talk through it now than go and hate it. Trust me.
But the chances are, you know what you want to do and will have a fantastic time doing it. Good luck, everyone, and may your dreams be one step closer to coming true!