Maybe it's just me, but...
I need to talk about results day.
Tomorrow, hoards of rabbit-in-the-headlights teens will be opening envelopes up and down the country, which they believe will dictate their future.
To a degree those results will. No pun intended...
But I want to make a suggestion:
There is more to life than university.
I saw a bonkers statistic yesterday: the average student will leave university £57,000 in debt. What the... 57,000 quid!
It begs the question: why are we pushing our naive and confused young bloods into university as a matter of course?
There is more than one way to skin a cat.
This is going back 15 years, perhaps things are different now that university fees have sky rocketed, perhaps the consideration IS that much greater nowadays...
Every one of my peers went to university. (Apart from the one who went off with the boyfriend who set the station on fire...) The question on everyone's lips wasn't, "Are you going to university?" It was "Which university are you going to".
I fear that in a lot of schools this is still the case. Adultlets signing up for insurmountable debt to study a course in basket weaving at the bottom of the ocean.
Shouldn't tomorrow's advice to those on the fence be more WAIT less, "What can 3 C's and a smile get me thank you very much?"
Hit the pause button. Please. Because Miss 18+ you have time on your side.
18 won't even buy you a beer across the pond yet.
So how about this for a piece of advice:
University isn't going anywhere, but your #lifegoals will. Aspirations change, and the ability to carve out your own path will develop with a little more life experience under your belt.
After all, a degree can only take you so far. Spending time on figuring out what make you tick as a person is surely time well spent. Find out what you like and don't like about the world. Dabble in the land of the grown ups, try it out for size. Go and live, take a job and learn to be useful. Find out just how much a quid gets you in Lidl. Travel.
Meet people. All the people.
And I don't just mean take a Gap Yar.
Don't rush in.
Getting the grades or not getting the grades is one thing, it's this next move which is the clincher.
By the time I left university I had been doing exams every year for 12 years. That's a long time. I was at one of those schools that held annual exam weeks in the summer (along with Shakespeare week, urgh the memory).
The usual front page "Exams are getting harder / easier / pointless" continued to be printed throughout my GCSE's, AS levels and A levels, dampening spirits on results day and occasionally exam day, if the press were feeling particularly hedonistic.
I see that nothing has changed this year. Gove's 'exam shake up' (Don't they just LOVE that phrase the most?!) has been splashed about once more. No doubt sending parents and teens into the pits of anxiety even before they have got their results. It doesn't seem fair.
Finishing the conveyor belt of education was terrifying. At age 22 I had never had a 'proper' job, my stint in Starbucks as a thirsty student doesn't count.
I'll always remember my first day in my debut 'grown up' job. I was shown my desk, and told to settle in. Lovely, I thought...
I stared blankly at the screen. I looked under it. I looked around it. Hmmm. The blank monitor was mocking me. I had another look around my desk, panic was beginning to take hold. I knew what I was going to have to ask...
"Excuse me, how do I turn on the computer?"
My new boss stormed over, flicked the switch on the tower under my desk and loudly said,
"And that's why I don't like hiring graduates!"
She was a charmer. But she had a point, I was clueless!
when those results emerge, why not take a breath. Hit the pause button.
Time is on your side. All is to play for.
Oh and never, ever underestimate the University of Life.
-It comes without the £57,000 gift tag too.