Kids round the country are getting their A-Level results today, and I wish you all the luck in the world! I hope you have a better results day than I did! But if you find yourself disappointed and you begin to panic that you can't go to the University you wanted to go to, it will be okay.
When I was doing my A-Levels - in fact probably my GCSE's as well - I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. One my friends at school KNEW she wanted to be a midwife from when I first met her, so she chose relevant subjects in both GCSE and A-Level, got onto the University course she wanted and is now a fully qualified midwife that loves her job, is proud to be doing what she does and I couldn't be more pleased for her!
When I was at school, the only jobs I decided I could 'realistically' do (ones that weren't something that were going to be massively difficult to get into), were either an English teacher or Psychologist. These days, I couldn't imagine anything worse! I have worked in a Mental Health environment and, whilst I enjoyed it, I decided it wasn't for me as a chosen career. And I'm not sure I have the patience for teaching a class full of kids so that's out too. All I know now is that I could have been an English teacher HAD I GOT MY RESULTS.
And that's what it all boils down to.
I think if I decided I wanted to do an English Teaching degree at University, applied on UCAS and knuckled down during my A-Levels, I would have managed it and been doing it now. But would I have enjoyed it as much as I am loving what I do now?
I spend my days at a day job, and my evenings, weekends and any other spare time I have reading, blogging, writing and taking photos. All of these things that I have picked up since leaving school.
I have always been a reader and a writer, but these days I do it because it's something I find peaceful and like an escape for me. It's become something that I have developed a real passion for and is now my chosen career at the age of 26. When I was 18, the main reason University was on the cards was because my friends were going, school had us believe that we wouldn't succeed without it and I fancied getting pissed up every weekend without my parents having to worry about taking me into town and not receiving a call from me at 3am telling them I needed a lift home.
I looked round a few places with my parents, and in the end decided I didn't want to go. But what did I do instead? I went to music college for three years. Why? Because I wanted to make a living by playing in a band and touring the world. Am I doing that now? Of course I'm not.
The music industry is extremely hard to get into! At one point I decided I wanted to be a music teacher, but I was nowhere near talented enough on my chosen instrument and I didn't put the effort in. Looking back now, my heart wasn't in it as much as I hoped.
So, from the outside looking in, I wasted three years. But did I?
No, no I didn't. I learned something else that was more valuable, something I don't think I would have learned had I gone to University. Life lessons. I have also been able to experience working in different places, something that not everyone gets to do. I am privileged to have been able to work in the environments that I have, something that has taught me things that most people don't get to experience.
And it's been on this journey that I have found my passion in writing and blogging, something that I don't think I would have found if I had gone to University, specialised in a subject and stuck with it.
Some people KNOW they want to do journalism, or nursing, or law, but others - just like me - don't know if that's what they want to do for the rest of their lives. I certainly didn't.
And I honestly think that trying out all these different things has made me realise where my true passions lie and I can now shape my future the way I want to shape it.
So, if you don't get into the University you wanted today, or you have to re-take the year, or whatever else you find has happened - just remember that today is not the be all and end all of the rest of your life. It's just a minor dint in the road but it will all work out okay.
I didn't go to University, and I'm doing okay. Just like plenty of other people I know.
You'll be fine.