Thursday, 13 August 2015

Advice to A-level Students. I have Walked the Walk Before.

I have decided to interrupt my series on Love, with a post that I feel urgently requires my attention, especially on a day like today. The primary focus of today’s entry is to encourage and motivate students out there receiving their A-level results.  By the time this is posted, you probably would have already opened that brown envelope, and will probably have some idea about your next step in life.

Graduation day was six years ago!
Congratulations to you if you achieved the grades you were expecting. Unless you are the biggest cheater going, or the luckiest person on earth my guess is that you worked hard for those grades and deserve them. But, I have told my youth group that whether they achieved the grades they wanted or not they are to be proud of themselves, and I do want to spend a little time speaking to you if you didn't achieve the grades that you needed to get into university.  

Firstly, know that there is a purpose for your life no matter what. If the Nokia 3310 phone case has a purpose on this earth, then trust me,  a living breathing human being, complete with a body, spirit and soul has also been put on here for a reason.  You may just require a little bit of rerouting and extra thought to discover what that reason is.

Also, trust me as someone who has ran the race, A-levels will be the most difficult academic assessment you will ever undergo.

It beggars belief that it was a good ten years ago since I stood at the A-level/university threshold myself. It was a very scary and exciting day I remember. I didn't do as well as I had hoped, but I did fortunately get into the university of my choice.

This mainly applies to my UK readers, but if you are reading from elsewhere I hope this shows you that there is more than one route to success.

If you feel despondent because of what that important piece of paper says,  consider the following. Even if things did go your way please still read on.

1.       The most obvious is to see if you can find a course through the UCAS clearing application process. I know it’s a very stressful process to go through as it involves a period of uncertainty. However, click on this link:, and reclaim some control. Use the clearing tool to look for the course you would like to study first and see what universities are offering that course. From there, there should be info on how to apply. Please also read all the advice on the clearing pages as it will help you to make an informed decision. Clearing is by no means equivalent to failure so please do not beat yourself up if you are going through this process. 

2.       This year, the cap has been lifted on the number of students universities can take on, so why not just try taking a shot at calling your preferred university’s admissions hotline and speaking to someone. You just never know, there may be a place for you!

3.    You can take on an apprenticeship, and learn a trade or a skill. I have known people to do an apprenticeship with a company they love, or in a field they are interested in, who have gone on to be very successful people in life. The best place I can refer you to is the government’s Apprentice web page.

In the end, it will all work out. You'll see!
4.       If you have African parents, they will probably hate me for saying this but university is not the way, the truth and the life. It is certainly one of the ways though! I used to be so against gap years, as I saw it as time wasting. However, if your exam results have been less than overwhelming, and you have lost your bearings, rushing into a course, just because you feel you have to, is the worst thing you could do. Why not take some time to think about it?

a)      You could find a part time and earn some money? At this stage you probably don't have enough work experience to make your big career move, however you could gain some. You will learn a lot of life skills such as organisation, money management, teamwork, and problem solving. It’s also a good way to socialise and keep your brains busy. In addition you will be able to save some £££s, and still have time to help your parents around the house.

b)      If, and only if you can afford it why don't you do some voluntary work, or take on an internship? It’s one of my personal gripes that interns are not paid by stingy employers, however you will reap all the benefits of a part time job (minus the money), and you never know, it can actually fast track you in the career path you wish to take. Also, maybe, just maybe your employer may eventually pay for you to study. My experience and frustrations of job hunting in the past stems from the fact that nowadays, employers place more value on work experience. Useful websites to visit are:

c)      Again, if you can afford it and have a taste for adventure, why not do some travelling, and explore the world? Honestly, I wish I could have done this, but at that age I couldn’t afford to travel, and honestly, I was too sacred to! Ha! I feel doing this will open up your mind and expand your knowledge of different cultures (always useful in today’s global age). It will also instil in you the confidence you will need to live your adult life. You will be able to find some useful info here:

I will end it here, but I want to finish by reminding you of what I said earlier. There is a purpose for you here on earth. Just keep working, planning, thinking and rethinking. But whatever you do never give up. Always follow your passion and never sell yourself short. By this I mean, if you want to write, then write. Send articles to newsrooms. Start a blog. Write a book. Just pursue!

If you want to sew, then sew. By a sewing machine. Make things for your friends. Showcase your goods at small trade fairs.  I’m sure you catch my drift. Juts make sure you are following YOUR passion, and I promise you something that started off small will open doors for you.

I hope I have helped you a bit, but if you still feel unsure and would like to talk, please just send me an email at I’d be more than happy to chat with you.


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