University: If In Doubt Hold Out

​I do not really know anybody getting results today (like maybe two people) but here’s a little story and a few words of advice.

It is perfectly okay to be disappointed in the grades you have got. The last two years of your life have all been towards this one moment where you get a few pieces of paper. Those little pieces of paper will one day become pretty unimportant in your life and once you have a few jobs under your belt people will be much more interested in finding out about your past experience ans GCSE English and Maths than if you know about Freud or the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

And whatever path you choose next is a completely valid one from university, work, travelling to starting a family and much more and do not let anybody put you down on the decisions you choose to make about your life. If something makes you happy and it is viable in your life then that is all that matters and anybody that scorns you for that and walks away are not people you want in your life anyway.

But if university scares you and you are not sure you are ready then hold off and wait a while. I do not just mean it gives you a little bout of butterflies or you just have those small thoughts about who will be your friend and if the lecturers will be nice I mean sitting on your bathroom floor on results day throwing up and feeling that it is what everybody expects of you but it is crushing down on you that you cannot.

I smashed my grades for my first university (to do journalism at University of Kent) but I got those grades on the day I turned 18. Within a month I moved 300 miles and was desperately trying to pretend I was an adult and ready. I was not ready. I knew I was never going to be and that I was not going to make it work however many hours I put into studying and socialising.

I had to pay the rent of student halls regardless of leaving and was left in no man’s land from Christmas all the way to the following September. It ruined me, my confidence in my work ability and more importantly destroyed my mental health and sent self-loathing sky rocketing.

The year later I tried again at a different university wiser to the issues that I would face and knowing how to overcome them but those doubts and self-hate were now lodged well into my memory and those combined with life in general ruined me once more. I always knew I just wanted to be in the workplace getting on with it and that is what I should have done but after getting solidly high grades my entire life I was prsctically expected and ticked off as somebody going off to university.

University does not just disappear and become unreachable if you do not go immediately after getting results. You can still get funding and go on to study the thing of your dreams. If you go at 20 and not 18 the lecturers will know you are doing something that truly interests you and they will respect you for that rather than question your degree choixes for three years.

Holding back might mean you see friends leave the area, that the crowd in the pub on a Friday decreases and you do a bit of a rubbish job for a while but it gives you chance to handle the real world, understand what makes you tick to get through the days and a way to find yourself and what it is that you really want out of life. Nobody has everything figured out at any point in their life but making a commitment like that at 18 is a serious one that should be taken carefully.

Whatever you choose to do and whatever you end up doing in your life I hope it makes you happy and gives you a comfortable and fairly stress free existence. Good luck the real world is tough out there.

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