This day four years ago I received the devastating news that I hadn't done well enough in my A Levels to go to University. For my place at Leeds to study politics I needed two As and a B. What I actually got was ABCC, which isn't the worst thing in the world by anyones standards, but were a way off what I needed to live the dream that I thought that I wanted.
It wasn't worth getting the papers remarked as the Cs were at risk of slipping into Ds and so it seemed my only option was to retake them. I did as I thought I was supposed to and began the search for colleges in London at which I could resit my last year of school.
And then something clicked, the summer ended and those of my friends who had done well enough, were off to university, leaving me behind. I thought about retaking them I really did but by this point I had realised that it wasn't what I wanted. I didn't want to do it all again, I didn't want to study politics, had I ever or was I just going along with school's suggestion? And I certainly didn't want to leave London, I was FINALLY back.
So, I told my parents the truth, that I wanted to stay in the capital and find myself a job, I wasn't sure of exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to earn my own money, establish myself in a career and crack on with my life, rather than wasting my time on a degree that I wasn't even sure that I wanted.
Fast forward a few years and my CV is chockablock, I've worked in offices, behind bars, serving tables, as a take out delivery driver, doing internships, social media marketing and now of course, blogging. It has not always been easy but there's not a minute of it that I would change, sure, I didn't get to further my education, but for me? Four years in the School Of Life has taught me more than I could ever learn from a lecturer.
They say at school that you should go to university, the only exception being if you really know what you want to do. But to those of you still umming and ahhing about it, I just wanted to let you know that I am calling bullshit on that. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I left school, I'm still not entirely sure now, although after a lot of dead ends this does at least feel like a path with a prosperous and happy ending, which is all any of us want anyway right?
People pin so much on your A levels and when you're there and you're living it, it feels like the world is ending when you don't do as well as you'd have hoped. You dedicated your entire life to these exams, to your education, but you feel that at the end of all of it that you have nothing to show. But I just wanted to let you know, from someone that has been where you are now, that that is not the case.
Sure, you'll be in shock today, you'll be upset and so you probably won't believe me when I tell you that it's all going to be fine, but I'm going to try anyway, just in case.
Did you know that since I left school not one person has asked me how I did in my Alevels? Not at any job interview, on any date, at any dinner. No one. When I have meetings with people about the blog, they don't ask me where I went to university and when I got offered a book deal I wasn't asked to send over my UCAS page before the offer was formalised. In fact, one man hired me once SIMPLY because I hadn't been to university.
Sure, if you've got your heart set on being a doctor or a lawyer then I can understand why you're feeling the way that you are right now, those jobs do require a further education, but there is so much out there for the rest of you, even if you don't know what you want yet.
There comes a day in every child's life when they realise that their parents are only human and that they too make mistakes. And then there is the day when you realise that it's not just your parents, that actually ALL the grownups that you have ever met are just the same. None of us have a clue, we're all flapping around desperately trying to work it out and the day you realise this, is the day that your life will get easier. When you arrive in a big scary city without what you consider to be the required qualifications to be there, remember this: you're not on your own in not having a clue.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Imagine where I would be now if my results had been a little better? I wouldn't be doing this job, no way, and I would be missing out on the coolest thing in the whole world. I also would never have got together with my boyfriend if I had gone BTW, which makes me sure that someone was up there moving the jigsaw pieces around just to ensure that our paths crossed when they did.
I don't have a degree, Alex dropped out of Uni to join a boyband, neither of my parents got Alevels and I have countless friends who chose the School Of Life too. And they're not outcasts. Their world didn't end. They're just cracking on, like I did.
My friends are all just migrating back to London now after three of four years of further education and do you want to know something ironic? I'm actually further along than they are, because they are now joining the ranks of flapping adults who haven't got a clue, they're frantically handing out CVs, getting dressed up for interviews and despairing at the job market. Just like I did four years ago.
I know it feels like the end of the world today, I know that you're disappointed, but please, don't let this define you, don't let it hold you back. If you want to resit them, go for it. If you've got your heart set on a university degree, then don't stop until you get there. But if you are like me, not sure of anything right now, don't feel that university is the only option, because it isn't. I promise you, one day soon, today will be a distant memory, and all you need to do now is trust that this is the path that was destined for you and follow your feet to something wonderful, because it will be waiting for you, 3As or not.