So how did you do? Get the results you wanted – you know what it doesn’t actually matter either way. As a teacher it’s not something you are supposed to say but it’s the truth. Of course if you have a fixed plan and path laid out in front of you there is a tendency to think that you have to achieve certain things at certain times but the reality is that there are so many options available these days that missing the mark is not the end of the world.
That’s not to say you never try your best and hope for the positive outcome, but we’re all aware that life is not a Richard Curtis film (unfortunately) and life does sometimes suck. If you got the results you wanted then well done – but don’t stop you need to keep up that momentum and see it right through Uni or College to make it all count. However if you didn’t get the grades you wanted or needed there’s a whole new set of options for you.
The thing I always think about is the amount of people that I know who are in great jobs but don’t have the degrees and qualifications that I have. My sister for example is someone who left school as soon as she could because it wasn’t for her and she went into retail. She worked so hard to progress and improve and before she stopped to have her first kid she was top of her tree earning as much, if not more than I was. The same is true of a couple of my closest mates and my father in law who all rose up through the ranks without the letters and numbers others had. That’s not to say it was luck, because I know the hours and effort that they have all put in to become as high up and well paid as they are.
I always respect those who have a degree or diploma as it shows the commitment to study that will be useful in a job, but I respect those who have grafted and worked at it without the qualifications just as much – if not more so as they have proved everyone wrong who may have written them off when they left education. Look at me: I remember this day in 1996 vividly as I lay in bed waiting for the postie to pop the envelope through the letterbox. My Mum came through with it and hovered to see what I had achieved – I got the exact results I needed to get into Uni. Looking back now part of me wishes that I had fallen short and had to seriously sit down and consider my future because the advice I was given at school was awful and pushed me towards a course that didn’t get me anywhere near the type of work I really wanted to do. The choices I made then have put me on my current path and with a new adventure on the horizon I’m looking forward to lecturing to completely disparate groups of people. I don’t know if this is the right job for me either but I’ll work hard at it and see where it takes me.
I still disagree that we are making kids select their futures at the ages of 13 and 14 leaving them on a fixed path that will determine their lives. The only upside is that I know people who have returned to full time education to retrain in something completely different from their first qualification or career and now they are flying high and happy in their jobs. Look at it this way you’re 17 or 18 and you’re going to be working until you are around 70 if you’re lucky – there is little chance you will do the same job in the same place for fifty years. Your life is a series of opportunities that present themselves to you at different times in your life; be prepared to take risks when you need to and to stay when you need to as well and you’ll find your way through just fine.
Ultimately those letters and numbers do not define you as a person – your actions and attitude will always trump a bit of paper. As long as you walk away from everything in life knowing that you tried your best you have nothing to fear. Good luck, and remember some of the best, most powerful, rich, interesting and challenging people on earth have no or few qualifications to speak of, but it didn’t stop them from being the best they could.
I am not and never will be defined by my qualifications or my job.
I will not be pigeon holed by those who want to stick me in a bracket and leave me there.
I don’t accept that because you don’t have the right exam results you can’t still be the best human being that walked this earth.
As the great Brian Blessed says…