Okay, first of all, I want to say that there’s not just one way to get into uni or the job you want there are many ways to end up at your intended destination, this was just mine.
When I was studying A-Levels, I was revising but in the second year, I just didn’t go into college, when I did go in, I would spend hours in the library, just studying, but this wasn’t enough.
My friends from high school were incredibly smart, and I always felt like the loose link, yes I was in most of the top sets, but in our group, I would be the one who got a grade less than them, I always knew they would get into great uni’s becasue they were very intelligent, and I felt a pressure to be just as smart as them, so I felt I actually did belong in the group and I wasn’t the stupid friend.
In hindsight I shouldn’t have cared as much as I did, I just didn’t want to be seen as stupid and I didn’t want anyone to be like they got into all Russell group unis and Katy didn’t. So I felt an added pressure, that I put on myself, and when I feel like I was underperforming, I crumbled and cracked and I got into my own head. I feel this why now I don’t put as much effort into things, so I am not disappointed when things don’t work out.
So back to my story, I wasn’t attending college as much as I should have done, but I was revising. In my second year, I stupidly decided to listen to my college teachers and redo 4 of my first-year exams, as well as doing 6 second-year exams. I did this because they said I could get better grades when in most of them I got B’s.
This added unnecessary pressure that I didn’t need. My law teacher also wanted me to resit my first-year law exams and he wouldn’t listen to me when I said no. If I caved I would have had to resit ALL of my first-year exams, which is probably some advice I can pass, don’t go past your limit, don’t do something because someone else wants you to and just because they are teachers doesn’t mean they are always right and that you should listen to them.
It might seem like I am blaming my teachers, they were 20% of the reason why I failed, but it was completely my fault. If I worked hard I could have done it easy. I probably sat more exams, doing more subjects and was under a lot more pressure when I was doing my GCSE’s, so I could have done it if I tried.
That being said, that morning, when the results were on UCAS, I was excited. I and my friends were texting in our group chat, eager at 8 in the morning to see if we got into the university of our dreams.
When applying to uni I probably didn’t take it as seriously as I should have done. I only visited Exter uni, and I only looked at the upper class, high end, Russel Group unis. I didn’t look at uni’s that would accept low grades, because I thought that I would get high grades. I should have had a plan B, it was stupid of me to think that I didn’t need a backup plan, which is why now I always try and have a backup plan. I only looked at these uni’s because my friends were looking at these uni’s, I didn’t think of myself and what was best for me.
Probably taught me I need to be more selfish, which I have learnt and been, a great lesson to learn.
That morning I was eager to know if I would be going to the place that Harry Potter was created. As I saw that I was rejected, gave me the biggest hole in my heart, I started to ball my eyes out and my mum ran down the stairs. I felt like I was a failure, that I wasn’t going to end up anywhere (I never want to feel like that again).
Sidenote; I feel a lot that parents, school and society put pressure on us kids to do what they want us to. To me, going to uni was the only option, we weren’t taught about apprenticeships or about foundation years, it broke me when I didn’t get into Exeter. The emotions I felt, are what children should never feel like we aren’t good enough.
So that morning after crying, I spoke to my mum and dad, and we were working on ways I could go to uni. I thought about going to open university but eventually decided to apply to foundation courses to uni’s I never thought about, through the process of clearing.
The clearing is a system that matches university applicants who haven’t had an offer with institutions that still have unfilled places. A foundation course is a course that makes up for the credits that you don’t have to get you into the first year of a degree course. I had 1 C and 2 D’s, so I needed extra credit to get onto the proper degree course.
When applying to the foundation courses, I switched what I wanted to do. I applied to every uni and wrote my personal statement on Archeology and Anthropology, then switched at the last minute to do a foundation course in Journalism because I thought it would be cool to interview celebrities one day.
Even though it was a conventional way to get to where I wanted to be, I am so glad it happened and I wouldn’t change a thing that happened.
There are many different options to get to where you want to be, so what I would say is research what you want. If the job you want is something you don’t need a degree for, what do you need for it? What do you need to do to get into that field? Do what you want to do.
A foundation course is great to decide if uni is actually for you, or if the course you think you might want to do is actually what you want to do. A guy in our course switched to do game design, becaus the foundation course taught him that he didn’t want to do journalism.
It is a very daunting and stressful time, don’t put any unnecessary pressure on yourself and remember every once in a while to take a break.
Katy Nella xoxo