Today’s a big day for a lot of sixth formers, a day that I remember all too well myself. For some, there’s a lot at stake whilst for others, it might be just another day of no real significance. Looking at everyone’s reaction to their results across social media, especially those that are now going away to university got me thinking – is an education all that important?
I was having a conversation with my brother the other day about how much we remembered from our days in school, and how much of the stuff we learned actually turned out to be useful in any way. My immediate thoughts were that barely anything I learned in school has been retained, and even less was actually of any use to me. He disagreed. So I argued some more. I said that we’d been taught about how rivers form, the names of all the Kings of England, how to make a volcano using vinegar and bicarbonate and why the main character’s choice of coat in our set novel was fundamental to the point the author was trying to make. How could anyone say that this is useful to know? I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to know them, but to me, none of them seem like they’d help you through life as much as learning to wire a plug properly or how to fix your car might. He said I was missing the point.
What I was forgetting was that I learned to read in school. I was taught to count and write (first legibly and then creatively) and to play. I learned how to interact with other children and how to make friends. I learned to absorb knowledge and to appreciate things like books and painting. The crucial point that I had missed was that all the things that I now take for granted, like reading a book or a map, or working out how much I’ll be paid for working so many hours, or how to write poetry or a story, are things that I was taught to do. Skills that many teachers along the way helped me nurture. So while all the facts that I spent years regurgitating for various exam papers may not be particularly useful for anything, the skills it took to be able to learn them undoubtedly were.
I have to admit, I was more than impressed with this argument, and he succeeded in having me rethink my views. An education is, in more ways than I had considered, pretty important. I started thinking then about my university education so far, and how useful that has been to me.
Now that everything I’m learning is supposedly guiding me towards a career, I feel much more obliged to consider that it is, in someway, going to be useful (it has to be, those lectures can’t have been all for nothing, surely?) But then I started thinking that I’ve learned so much more in university than what I’ve been taught in lectures. I’ve learned how to live independently, how to budget (with varying degrees of success), how to live with complete strangers, how to leave everything you know behind and essentially start over again. I’ve learned how to cook, to get up in the morning without being badgered by my parents and to deal with hangovers (again, success rates are variable). I’ve also been woken up to the fact that I was pretty naive before going to uni about a lot of things, and I’m learning a bit more about what makes people tick.
So, to go back to the original point: when I actually got around to thinking about it, I learned a lot more in school than I originally gave credit for. Even though a lot of it might not technically be on the national curriculum, it’s still pretty important stuff, and although you may not realise it at the time, you learn a lot more in school than you think you are.
I’m so glad of the education I had, and that I had the opportunity to carry on with my education after finishing school. Although I didn’t always appreciate being in school, it’s undoubtedly shaped me as a person and made me who I am today, and who knows where I’d be without it?
So, congratulations to everyone with their results today, and good luck with whatever you decide to do with them. No matter where you go from here, I’m sure that one day you’ll look back on your school days, and as I’ve done this week, finally realise all you learned from them.
So, I’ve been pretty quiet on here for a good few months now, but I’ve decided to try and get back into blogging after finding some inspiration :) so, here goes….
I’m currently single, and to be honest, I’m pretty happy with that. I’ve never really had a proper boyfriend or anything, so I don’t have much to compare it with, I’ll admit that, but in my experience so far, being single is a pretty good thing to be, especially while I’m still so young. One day, I do want to settle down, and start a family and all that kind of thing, but at the moment, I quite like the freedom of not being tied to anyone, especially while I’m moving between home and university so much.
My feeling is at the moment that there’s so many people out there that I haven’t met yet, and I don’t want to commit myself too young. I want to get to know more people, see who comes and goes in my life and who stays by my side for the long haul. Maybe one day this’ll backfire, and I’ll miss my chance to have something with someone, but right now, this seems like the right option for me.
I guess this opinion is partly due to the fact that the experiences I’ve had so far with guys have been pretty disappointing. People turned out to be different to how I thought they were, which was hard to accept. All this has made me think that maybe from now on, it’d be better to get to know people before I try getting into that kind of relationship with them.
Having said all this, I guess it’s easy to say you feel this way or that about relationships, but that opinions can change pretty quickly depending who you come across. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that as long as you’re happy with yourself and how things are, then everything else will fall into place. That’s what I’m counting on anyway (:
(from ex-Wordpress account, originally posted April 30th, 2014)
Today, I’ve come to a realisation. I’ve come to the conclusion that, from now on, I get the final say in deciding what I want to do with my life.
I know that makes me sound like I’m pissed off with someone/something, but before anyone thinks that I’m on the warpath, I’m really not. I just got to thinking about recent events and other things that have happened over the last couple of years, and just started thinking about how I’d feel if I’d done things differently, and whether I had made the right call. Let me explain:
A couple of years ago, when I decided I wanted to apply for med school, nearly everyone shot me down. They all (bar a few wonderful people who offered nothing but encouragement, advice and good intentions) that I’d never make it – it was too hard, I wasn’t good enough and even if by some miracle I was accepted anywhere, I probably wouldn’t make it through the first term.
It was hard to hear. Not because they were telling me there was a chance I wouldn’t get in – I knew that. I knew it would be tough and competitive and at some point I wasn’t good enough and that I couldn’t hack it, but all that was fine. What hurt was that they didn’t even give me a chance to prove myself. Essentially, I was just told to give up now and save myself the disappointment that my inevitable rejection would bring. Some option.
Obviously, I didn’t listen. I wanted to go to med school more than I’ve ever wanted anything else, and I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way. Now, I’m coming to the end of the first term of my second year, and I can honestly say that applying was the best decision I ever made.
Of course, it could have gone completely tits up. I might have been rejected at any stage, I might have failed my exams, anything could have happened. But for me, the disappointment that I’d have felt from that was a risk I was willing to take to try and achieve my ambition. I know it’s easy for me to say now I’m here, but I honestly think that knowing I’d tried and failed would feel much better than to not have tried at all and never know whether I was actually capable of doing it.
To me, the risk of rejection and being crushed by it seems much better that never knowing if I’d been able to do it. In 10 years from now, if I was sitting in an office/cafe/tropical beach counting my millions by listening to all those people, I know I wouldn’t be happy, because I’d never know if I could have followed my dream had I only had the courage to ignore the advice I was being given and follow my own heart.
Looking back, I feel like I had 2 options;
So now, I’ve come to this realisation: advice, good or bad, is useful, I think – it offers perspectives you may have overlooked or not considered, and is often given with good intentions, even if it’s not really what you want to hear at the time. But ultimately, the decision is down to you – no one else can make a decision for you. Even if what you want to do goes against everything you’ve ever been and are being told, if your heart tells you to do it, then go for it, because surely the risk of making a mistake that you’ll recover from and learn from is better than facing a lifetime of what-ifs and regrets?
And finally, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticised anyway.” If you don’t do it, you might never forgive yourself. Yeah, you might fall flat on your face, but you can always get back up, even if it takes a while. So take option 1. Grab it with both hands and never let it go. Go on, you know you want to.
(from ex-Wordpress account, originally posted November 10, 2013)
…and bacon does make me happy. So does the summer, being with my nearest + dearest, devouring a good book and finding a new favourite band. I’ve definitely worked out recently though that sometimes, it’s the things we’d often overlook that actually brighten our day – a cup of tea, a smile, hearing a song you love on the radio – and I think it’s making me start to appreciate the little things in life more, ’cause, as the cliche goes: “one day you’ll look back and realise that they were the big things”.
(moved from ex-Wordpress account)