I would recommend college over sixth form any day. You can still get into university, you get a new experience, more independence and a qualification you can use to get a job. If A levels are something you still want to do, my college offered sixth form also. This means that you are meeting new people, experiencing the college life and not living under teacher’s rules. Plus you can wear what you want and express yourself.
As a 16 year old I had no idea what I wanted to do.. I chose to do childcare at college just because it sounded fun, being a teacher sounded cool having the holidays off right? I enjoyed the college course, coming out with a distinction. Working in a school was interesting and I enjoyed teaching the children and building relationships with them. The children really liked me, trusted me and would always come to me for help. The idea of being a teacher and being part of the children’s success was so exciting for me.
Once I finished my course, I panicked. “Right okay I want to be a teacher lets go off to uni.” I decided the university centre in my town would be a good idea as it was part of a big university which meant I didn’t need to stay away from home and it would be cheaper.
Freshers week was fun. I got to go to the proper University and experience what it would be like if I moved away to a campus (still not something I’d like, I’m such a home girl). The freshers fair allowed me to get lots of freebies and I was making friends. I also went to London with a few friends to meet everyone else at the museum as we had to make our own way there.
The first week was alright. I had some friends, I was learning but then it got so overwhelming and I felt the pressure. I have never done essays? I’ve always been the best at coursework. I scored 48 and 50% on my first 2 essays and it wasn’t very impressive. At least I passed though.
Presentations were so scary to me. I felt sick every time. I ended up not being very close to anyone and felt on my own. I could sense the judgement and I did not do very well in those either.
I changed friendship groups when I came back from Christmas break and I felt happier. The class was very much a divide. I felt that everyone was judging me. I like to do a full face of makeup everyday, wear fake tan and wear skirts and dresses etc. I was always looked up and down because of my fashion choices but see through leggings and vest tops ain’t for me… sorry? A girl would make comments to me and point things out which may not be perfect about me… like who are you?
At the end I just had enough, I wasn’t enjoying placement anymore, I was always treated like a student never like part of the team. I like working with children but maybe being a teacher isn’t for me anymore. The school environment still interests me but I need to finish university to be a teacher and that’s not something I want to do. I hated writing essays. I hated the university environment, it was so dark and depressing. It’s safe to say I didn’t really have anxiety till the middle of my first year at university. It’s a shame because at the end I managed to go up a whole 10%. When I saw 60% on the paper I was so happy with myself. With a few years more work I really could have mastered it!
One day I was starting at 1pm for 2 hours and my boyfriend was going to walk me there. It got to 12 and I was in tears because I didn’t want to go. I knew my mum would have been home from work soon so I got up and went to my boyfriend’s house, took my university stuff with me and walked back to town at 3 when she would normally pick me up… If she found me at home she would have gone mad because she would have thought I was just being lazy… I know that’s bad of me but I was so so unhappy I can’t even explain it.
The university also made out they lost my folder which contained the whole of the years work. They made me search the whole premises and made me so upset and annoyed that I actually cried… and then tell me they have sent it off to be checked and couldn’t track it? That was the last straw.
When I told the university I wasn’t coming back they wasn’t very happy. I don’t blame them though, it won’t look good on them with someone leaving the course. They tried to convince me to stay with so many things, going part time, having just 16 days at placement, being in a small group which I can choose but how I am developing with that?
The thought of going back after summer made me sad. So I decided to do something about it. I spent July and August searching for jobs. My dad then suggested apprenticeships. Why did I not think about them before? I recommend them to young people who want to get into work and gain a qualification at the same time. I do feel that college and university happened for a reason and gave me the confidence and skills to get myself an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are very hard to get therefore you do need some experience in what you want to do instead of just going for the interviews you are interested in. I have to go back to college again but it’s only one day a week so it’s fine! Plus I’m getting a business qualification in the end! I have decided to go down the administration route as it is not limited. There are so many opportunities. Whereas being a teacher is just a teacher you know? Plus your day ends at 5 and you have the weekends off!
I am so excited to be starting an apprenticeship. Whenever I pass the university I breathe a sigh of relief. Though people love university it’s not for me. I’m not saying everyone should be against university it’s a good opportunity just remember it’s not the only option! My mum was rather disappointed I wasn’t continuing university however she didn’t understand how committed I was to being successful and still be in another form of education. Now she is super excited for me to go out into the real world and work! I have had part time jobs but now I have a full time job with so many opportunities to come. I will finally be happy rather than crying all the time. I am so excited for my new chapter!