So, we are coming to that time of year when exam results are due and all of that ridiculous pressure heaped upon young people will transition into judgements of well done, or never mind.
In anticipation of the reality that many students will not get straight A’s, or meet their’s, or other expectations, I thought this little story about the randomness of my life and how things often work out for the best, despite the odds being stacked against you, might help just a little.
1. When I started secondary school I was placed in the bottom set for maths, which in those days meant I was seen as somewhat slow and people did not make any bones about it. I remember going home that night in floods of tears and so my dad asked his friend, who was a maths teacher to tutor me. That friend tutored me for over 5 years, week in, week out for £5 a week (money which my parents really did not have), he got me out of the bottom set and introduced me to a love of figures and in the years to come, made me into a pretty good performance management specialist.
2. When I passed my GCSE’s with flying colours (although certainly not straight A’s), everyone including myself, my family and my teachers were surprised, so I seized the day and the girl from the council estate, deemed as stupid throughout her primary school years, went onto sixth form to study A levels.
3. When I failed my A levels because I spent all of my time partying, working or snogging boys and therefore had to forfeit my place at Liverpool University, where I was going to study law and become a hugely successful barrister, I sat in my parents lounge with the UCAS book and started ringing every University listed in there, to see if I could get a place through clearing on a degree course. When I finally got to ‘T’ for Teeside, I was offered a place on a new course and I grabbed it. That course was International Business and Information Technology — I was and still am spectacularly sh*t at languages and IT but I took it anyway, a degree was a degree, I would work it out as I went along.
4. When I fled my year out in France — who wouldn’t tbh, I was being taught C++ programming in French and had entered into a disastrous and emotionally abusive relationship with a man 15 years my senior, which ended with me…