If you have recently received you’re A-level results, you will, most likely, have been in education for 10 years – or 8 years if you received your GCSE results.
You forced yourself to go to sleep the night before, and a few hours later you are wide awake– nail-bitingly tense as your sleep-deprived and caffeine-fuelled years of numerous study sessions have brought you to this moment. The brown envelope ready in your hand, a combination of fateful letters enclosed.
These results mean different things for many people. For some, they determine our chances of future employability, going to university, and, ultimately, to be in a secure position.
But, at the end of the day, our results are somebody’s assessment of your work in timed conditions – be it coursework, written examinations, or controlled assessments.
For our GCSEs (or equivalent), we work hard for a series of different assessments and try our best to adhere to a carefully crafted mark scheme.
Again, for our A-levels (or equivalent) we work alongside a mark scheme that requires our application of skills. It is an assessment of how well we can apply them in timed conditions – and it’s not a categorical revelation of our intelligence, capability or competence. Rather, it is exactly what the method of assessment suggests – a test.
We digest our results and what they mean in order to make a challenging decision – one which may be the less traditional university route: What career path should I follow?
Sam Hulme, 19 – Brand and Marketing Ambassador at Guru Pet Food, the UK’s leading cold pressed food, gives CUB invaluable advice to pursue their passions despite their results
The 19 year old tells CUB: “Like most young people, I was unsure. I got the GCSE and A-level results I wanted – A*-Bs at GCSE and A-Cs at A-Level. For most people my age, with my grades, university follows.”
“It can be hard to know what you want to do, and for some, university seems like the logical next step… It’s a natural progression, pushed by the majority of teachers and lots of parents. However, for me, it just was not the right option. I decided that, knowing the way in which I used to work myself up around exam time, a university career – with tuition fees adding to the pressure – wasn’t for me. Instead, I wanted to find a job that I was enthusiastic about – something that I could really get stuck in to.”
“I’ve always been passionate about animals, dogs in particular, so I did work experience at a veterinary practice. It was a fascinating experience, but one in which you’re, most often than not, encountering animals in various states of distress. And I found that hard to watch, to be around. I knew that I wanted to work with animals, but in a different setting. After doing some research, I found Guru.”
“Guru is a pet food company established and owned by Andrew and Lisa Clarke. They’re the loveliest people, and their passion for animals and animal welfare is unmatched. The company creates cold-pressed dog food – a unique, but traditional, method that requires gently mixing ingredients together before they’re pressed at a low temperature of 44 degrees. The method ensures that the food, and its ingredients, retains much of their nutritional value.”
“I applied for a role helping to look after Guru’s brand and marketing and after being offered the job, I was excited to start. At Guru, not only do I get to work with a devoted team passionate about animal welfare, but my responsibilities are varied and challenging.”
“When I’m not working alongside Lisa, I attend events and shows – such as The Game Fair and Dog Fest – as part of the Guru team, draft sector-specific blogs on events and shows, prepare the monthly newsletter, monitor our social media presence and activity, and respond to all customer queries. I’m also required to liaise with external stakeholders from time-to-time, especially designers and illustrators.”
“After 7 months at Guru I can honestly say that I love my job! I look forward to going into work in the morning, and unlike most people, I don’t hate Mondays. I think that comes from doing something that you’re passionate about and working for a company and people that you admire.”
“University is the right choice for so many people, but it isn’t for everyone. If you’re unsure about it, as I was, then why not find a job that excites you, as I did?”
“I’m so glad I found Guru, and I don’t regret my decision to not pursue higher education. Do what you love and love what you do!”
Sam’s story serves as an excellent example of how, with hard work and dedication, you can be whatever you want to be – your results do not determine your path, but, in actuality, your actions do.
We seek advice from our teachers, parents, family, classmates and friends and they all give their opinions. They can be very useful, or very unhelpful! We feel apprehensive about facing our desired career path(s), and ask ourselves: Even if I choose to pursue my interests, do I have what it takes? Where do I start?
According to Pitman Training and Censuswide’s research, 84% of 16-24 year olds do not know how to turn the interests they’re passionate about into a career, so they do not pursue them. Moreover, a gap in support has been revealed as 80% of young students agree they wish they knew more information about the options available to them on leaving school – almost 88% of them agreeing that, with the right guidance, they would be able to achieve their career dreams – a troubling concept.
All in all, working as an intern or apprentice will give you hands-on experience and training in the relevant field. You may find yourself endlessly making coffee, tripping over your own feet running errands, then forcing yourself to stay awake as you sit in front of a computer screen creating ten excel spreadsheets – but, as tiring as it is, you will learn extremely useful and invaluable lessons – the perfect opportunity for you to learn how to enter the world of full time work!
Like Sam, you have the control to pursue your passions. If you fulfil the entry requirements or not, take the time to rethink your options because, after all, results aren’t the be all and end all – as Sam suggests – you’ve always got another option.