Today is the day, the day that will define the rest of your life, the day that will be etched in the pantheon of history, the day that will map out your future. Today is, of course, results day. In time-honoured tradition and with a lack of inspiration I thought that I would use today’s blog to go through some of my experiences in academia.
First of all, I want to state now that my opening to this blog was written with my tongue firmly in my cheek. I do not believe that your academic results define who you are in the slightest. We can not let a piece of paper define who we are. Though personalities are made of the sum of our experiences, qualifications do not give a full picture of who a person is. Is someone with an A in physical education a more conscientious and thoughtful person than that of someone who went into the workplace from school?
I was an average high school student, mainly because I worked out very early on in my academic career that if I kept my head down and my mouth shut I could remain anonymous to the teaching staff. Through remaining in the shadows, I could go about my business daydreaming, I didn’t push myself and I wasn’t pushed either until I went to college.
I studied a BTEC National Diploma in Music Practice for 2 years at Hopwood Hall College. This was a great experience for me. At the time I wanted to be a musician, and studying a subject full time gave me a wealth of experience than that of an A-level student studying a plethora of different subjects.
There was nowhere to hide at college, the classes weren’t as big as high school, and due to several units being marked in groups, classmates would push each other to be better. It was a great environment with teachers who were laid back, yet serious about their craft. I learned a hell of a lot during my time at Hopwood Hall and I am very grateful to have had that experience.
After a year out working and completing a music technology course part-time, I went to University. I studied Popular Music and Recording at the University of Salford. A lot went wrong personally for me during this time and by the second and third year, my attendance had dropped dramatically. I had developed keratoconus and my Mother had taken ill. Instead of deferring, telling the staff of my circumstances or even my classmates I soldiered on. Without any help, or attending any of the lessons I completed my assignments and came out with a 2:2 overall.
It’s been ten years since I graduated from Salford and I must admit that I often wonder what grade I would have got if I would have dedicated all my time to my degree rather than be swept up in my circumstances.
My circumstances had calmed down and in the summer of 2009, I applied to the University of Bolton to start teacher training in the life long learning sector. I attended the interview and despite what I thought was a poor undergraduate degree was accepted on the course. I excelled during my time at the University of Bolton and am grateful that I could redeem myself as an academic.
In 2012, with a point to prove I went back to the University of Salford to study an MA in Music. I was employed at the time, it was the only way I could pay for the course. However, after the first of two years, I was made redundant and had to leave due to lack of funds.
I have had many ups and downs during my time in education, I have had personal and health problems, I have failed, succeeded and had to drop out due to finances.
In the grand scheme of things, nobody cares about the results you have or haven’t got. As long as you work hard, learn from your success and failure, remain a thoughtful and caring person who is willing to contribute you can do anything you want, it just might take a little bit longer to achieve.