Today, so many teenagers across the UK will have received their GCSE results.
I remember it well.
I was in Spain.
No, I didn’t flee the country out of shame or fear, it was just a holiday. So my grandparents picked up the results and we dialled in to get the news…..
I did ok. Not amazing, but not bad either. (I was always what was termed by many a teacher over the years, a ‘plodder’).
It meant that rather than stay on at my secondary school, I instead went to sixth form college here in the outskirts of Birmingham.
In truth, it was the best thing that could have happened.
I initially planned to stay on at school, but it would have meant the choice & combination of subjects would have been severely limited, with knowing what to do in Higher Education even more challenging. So by moving to a college, my options were now WIDE open, and the combination of subjects far more flexible.
My two years at college were a breath of fresh air compared to a school environment. Everything was much more easy going, attitude wise, and we were treated far more like ‘grown ups’. (Something that back then was something we really wanted – nowadays I’d happily regress back into childhood again!)
Don’t get me wrong, this college was no place for slackers – you were encouraged to do well, so we all tried our very best – but the place was, for want of a better word, less strict, and much less formal. But you still had to put the hours in.
From there, having done media studies as part of my A Levels, I managed to get a place at Wolverhampton University to study video production; a largely practical degree which suited me down to the ground. It was also a ‘modular’ degree, which essentially meant no exams – it was all based on constant coursework – something that I was far better at than taking traditional exams. (A much better situation to be in when you’re a plodder.)
So again, another point in my life which I didn’t necessarily plan, but ended up going with the natural ebb and flow of life to see where it took me.
Another three years later, I had my degree, graduating with a 2:2 BA (Hons). “That’ll look good on my business cards”, I thought.
Needless to say, I’ve never included my ‘title’ on any business card or official work stuff, as quite frankly I’d feel a bit of a twonk for doing so.
I utilised my degree and set up as a self employed video production business. I obtained the camera and all related gear, and did that for the next 5 years or so.
Along the journey in video, I, along with my best mate from university, Anthony, had a video job in central Birmingham filming a dance show. It was booked via Ant, so I had no direct contact with anyone on the job, I was just helping him out.
A while after the dance show was all finished, edited and sent off, I had an email out the blue. The name was familiar, and as I cast my mind back, it ended up being one of the dancers in the show – she wanted her acting showreel editing into a new reel.
That dancer was Sam.
As covered in the ‘Our Story‘ page under the ‘About Us’ tab, we became besties for life.
Now comes another change in my life, as Sam is the person responsible (i.e. to blame) for me moving into the world of voiceovers. Something I never thought about doing, but loved it (and still do). This path of life would not have remotely been possible had I stayed on at secondary school.
And obviously, since then, we’ve now joined forces in creating Happy Content Co. as our own joint venture. Again, back when I was 16, this was something I never thought would end up happening. But I’m glad it has.
So, I guess what the point of this story has all been about, is this:
Regardless of what grades you end up receiving in your GCSE’s, and even if you move into Further Education and end up doing A Levels or their equivalents; your futures are yours to mould into whatever you want them to be.
That may sound a little trite, but it is absolutely the truth. No matter what you may plan (or think about planning) to do in the future (at whatever age), be open to things changing. Other avenues may present themselves, and you are the ones who will have to decide whether it’s a path worth venturing onto. Various people may come into your life and shake things up a bit! In my case, that was a great thing (thanks Sam!).
Also, consider this – there are job titles today that simply didn’t exist 15 years ago. 10 years ago, even 5 years ago. Can you imagine a Social Media Manager in 1998?! It just didn’t happen. So in the next 15 years, who can IMAGINE what jobs will be available, or created, that you could be perfect for?
(I’m still holding out for ‘Personal Robot Technician’ or ‘Coffee Delivery By Drone’ pilot).
Ultimately, whether you got perfect grades, or something not quite what you hoped for, your future is not set in stone. It’s adaptable, it’s flexible, and it’s up to you what you want to do with it.
So go out there and grab it. 👍