Yogi Berra, the famous baseball coach once said, "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." Scotland is free to choose its identity; but the rhetoric in support of the Yes vote conflates two very different courses of action, which are at odds with one another.
The lesson here is that child marriage does not "only" affect fourteen million girls a year; the consequences are far reaching. Early and forced child marriage not only violates the universal declaration of human rights, but it also prevents us from having an inclusive and prosperous global economy. Something that even the most conservative economist or demanding shareholder can agree is bad news, indeed.
Whether you are going to university or into the job market I hope you'll set out to 'earn and learn' throughout a career that will be all the more rewarding if you do. The retail industry is a good place to do that. It is often a first job for many school leavers and it's a fulfilling place to build a career, providing a lifetime of learning and opportunities.
I think it is fair to say I have an adventurous streak. I have hitchhiked and used local transport to cross West Africa and the Sahara Desert, via Timbuktu to Morocco; snow-boarded in the Himalayas; kayaked the White Nile; started an on-going volunteer project in Uganda and also driven a taxi around the world!
It is also good to talk to your family and friends who will, I hope, give you an honest assessment of you as you are today. This is not always easy, but at the same time will show courage, humility and integrity. This may, in turn, be guided by what you have achieved in your schooling and early life.
Remember the next time you walk past a person sitting in a shop doorway that he or she isn't sitting there in the wind and rain as a lifestyle choice. They are there because something went wrong in their life and they are struggling to deal with it. They are someone's son, daughter, mother, brother or father. They could be yours!