A week ago today was my last exam. My last year of the dreaded A-levels has finally come to an end, meaning the period of locking myself away in my room, isolating myself from everyone with my head in a book writing out numerous flashcards has also finally came to an an end. Yay!
For me, college has been a real drag this year. I haven’t enjoyed it at all (hence why I was barely there). Then again, I’ve never had 100% attendance throughout my whole education. In fact, I’ve never really enjoyed being in education full stop. I feel like a zombie attending a prison everyday.
So, why is it that I am still trying out education? If I hate it so much then surely I would have packed it all away as soon as GCSEs were over and done with, right? Well, the reason why I’m still in the sixth form era at twenty years of age is simply because I’ve always had this dream of going to University, in hope that it was going to be different to my previous experiences with education.
From what I’ve heard about Uni from other people that have experienced it, it sounds incredible. I want to be able to develop myself and gain more confidence. I want to build a career for myself as well as be able to meet inspiring people from different backgrounds along the way. I want to be offered different opportunities and be able to stand on my own feet without the need to completely rely on my parents for everything. Most importantly, I want to actually enjoy what I’ll be learning about. I haven’t enjoyed any subjects I’ve done in school or college whatsoever, so it would be great to actually be interested in and passionate about something that I’m actually learning about everyday.
Along with those reasons, I also really do not fancy being stuck in a dead end retail job for the rest of my life. Retail really isn’t for me. For those of you out there who are currently working in retail and wish to climb the ladder within that job sector, that’s fair enough! If you’re enjoying what you’re doing, then go for it. Just with me, I absolutely hate it. I want to explore out in this world more and find something which I will love doing. I just haven’t had the chance to find that just yet.
You may also be thinking why I’m only now finishing my A-levels being twenty. Well, for those of you who do know me well, you’re probably aware of how indecisive I can be, especially when it comes down to making important life decisions!
When I was sixteen, I decided to leave comprehensive school after I’d finished my GCSEs. I absolutely hated my experience there, so I decided to try out College and do something which sounded really interesting…
Welcome to My Long Path of Different Colleges!
My first college was Ystrad Mynach College. The idea of studying Travel and Tourism as well as Cabin Crew sounded perfect for me as I had always loved the idea of travelling to different places. However, it wasn’t the course for me and I soon began to dislike the bitchy environment (yup, it was a class full of girls).
So, lost with what to do next, I went back to my school to go to sixth form and do it the ‘usual’ way. A-levels. I was studying Drama, Media and Art. I lasted a month. I just felt really miserable and wasn’t enjoying the subjects at all. By this time I’d luckily managed to get my first job. It was clear that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I made the decision to take a year out of education and earn some money instead!
During this year I did learn a lot about myself and gained the confidence I would never have gained from staying put in my local comprehensive school. I needed to experience the ‘real world’ more. Even though that year involved a lot of retail work, It was something new to me at the time and I met some really cool people along the way. I enjoyed the break from education.
As soon as September came back around I went back to Ystrad College to study Law (I suddenly liked the idea of going down the career path of becoming some sort of Lawyer). Again, I probably lasted about a month there. I felt as if the course was too easy for me and I wanted more.
I wanted to do Science as well, but to do that at A-level standard you needed at least a B at GCSE higher-tier. I had a C at foundation level, so I decided to change that by leaving Ystrad Mynach College (and this time for good) and go to TWO different colleges. One being Cardiff and Vale College where I was doing A-level Law and the other was Nantgarw College, where I studied GCSE higher-tier Biology. Both of these courses lasted one year (yup, I did an A-level in one year). I finally felt as if I was getting somewhere. Little did I know that I would be spending the next three years in college!
As you can probably tell, college was never straightforward for me. Walking away from school I only managed to just about get 4 GCSEs, meaning that I wasn’t able to do full-time A-levels straightaway as you needed 5 of them. Some subjects even require you to have B’s or above, which I obviously didn’t have at the time. So, after a year I managed to get an extra GCSE, allowing me to do some science subjects and full-time a-levels. Woo.
By the time I started A-levels the usual way (y’know, by studying three a-levels over the course of two years full-time), I was 18. I was originally doing English Literature, Law and Welsh Baccalaureate. I hated English and felt as if I had wasted a year on GCSE Biology for nothing. I really liked the idea of Psychology, but the teacher first off refused to take me on due to me not having GCSE Maths (yeah, I also sucked at Maths). However, after some persuasion and many e-mails, she said yes. I managed to pass all of my subjects that year (including GCSE Maths, finally), so now here we are! From Cabin Crew to Creative subjects, then from Law to Science subjects.. Indecisive Jemma got there in the end!
I decided to do AS Biology this year too, just to give me that basic background knowledge of general Biology, as I’d finally made the decision of what I wanted to do in Uni; Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science. I’ve always loved the idea of being able to learn about and work with different wild animals as well as helping to protect them against everyday threats.
I don’t understand why Results day is in August. It should be in July. Those of us who fail will then have plenty of time to figure out our next steps, rather than having like a week to figure it out as you will need to have either enrolled to college by the end of August, or apply to different Uni courses through clearing. The education system can be really harsh and cruel.
I feel as if this year’s exams went awfully wrong for me. There wasn’t one exam that I walked out of feeling confident that I’d done well. I doubt I’ll be going to University this year, but I also really do not fancy spending another year in college, either. So at the minute I don’t have a strong ‘back-up’ plan, but I do have the time to figure that out and start planning ahead!
I wasn’t exactly gutted that my exams didn’t go as well as I’d hoped for them to go, I was just happy that they were over with. I haven’t began planning important life choices just yet, though. I have spent most of this week just embracing my freedom by completely relaxing and having fun!
But yes, whatever it is I get up to, I’ll keep you updated.