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From a poor background/failing comprehensive to a top university Watch

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    (Original post by PGtips92)
    And that's the end of the argument I'm afraid. At a crap school, how many pupils go on to Oxbridge? Maybe 1 or 2 every few 5 years. Maybe. At Westminster, almost half go to Oxbridge every year. That means it's astronomically easier to get into the top universities if you come from a top school. Put a random child (A) aged 4 into a crap state primary in a poor area, see them through the state system in that area... what are the chances of them even going on to do A levels? Yet, put the child's twin (B) instead into a Westminster feeder school and Westminster, and there's a 50:50 chance of them ending up at Oxbridge! So 1) child B can put his Oxbridge success in some way down to luck that he didn't have the same education as child A and 2) child A can put his failings in some way down to (bad) luck that he didn't have the same education as Child B. Therefore, child A can justifiably say "I didn't get into oxbridge because I'm from a disadvantaged background"
    Westminster is a highly selective school, requiring entrance exams (sometimes both internal and external) and subject to an interview. Arguably the candidates at Westminter are better to begin with, you are comparing apples with oranges. A better comparison would be Westminster with one of the UKs top grammar schools, many of which also achieve exceedingly high oxbridge success rates (in fact higher than the majority of private schools).

    That's a load of rubbish quite frankly. Course it's not impossible (is anything impossible?), it's merely highly, highly improbable [there are more children getting into Oxbridge every year from the pool of 300 kids at Eton than from the 300,000 kids on free school meals. Either you believe those Etonians are born smarter – an absurd proposition – or our school system is failing poor children on a vast scale]. And anecdotal evidence is just that. But please, are you suggesting all the motivated and intelligent people happen to go to this school, rather than this school? No, it is far, far harder to get into Oxbridge from the latter. In fact, it's too much harder to the extent that yes, students at some schools have every right to blame their failings on their background. It's not just a case of "if you work hard"- you also have to overcome bad teachers, pupils who don't want to be there, and a whole range of other reasons (reasons which undoubtedly exist, since otherwise private schools themselves wouldn't exist).
    I am suggesting that the pupils at some of the top public schools are better than the average comprehensive school student, yes, because to get in they have had to meet a satisfactory level in entrance exams and interviews. Obviously all schools can't be selective, so its to be expected that less pupils will get into oxbridge from comprehensive than from selective private schools and grammars.

    My point remains - the fact that people do get from failing to comprehensives to oxbridge proves it can be achieved through hard work. I'm not denying it is easier if you are at Westminster, but a truly deserving pupil can overcome the obstacles set in front of them. Maybe I'm just becoming a bit of an existentialist, but it's far too easy to sit at home on your computer and say I didn't get in to oxbridge because of my circumstances. I failed to get in oxbridge (after interview), I would have loved to have gone to Westminster and who can say, maybe if I went there I might have got in to oxbridge. But unlike some people in this thread, I am willing to accept that the fact is I didn't get in, and on the day other candidates performed better than me. You can spend your whole life blaming other people for your own defeats, or you can take some responsibility and realise life is exactly what you make of it.

    Also: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...niversity.html
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    (Original post by unknownpleasures)
    Firstly, I can understand why you're angry, but it wasn't me that negged you. I've never seen the appeal of negging someone for expressing an opinion that differs from mine. It's unfortunate that you've received neg rep for adding your voice to what was supposed to be a constructive discussion, but that's TSR for you. I'd appreciate it if when 'returning' neg rep in future, you make sure you've got the right person.
    Apologies, bit of a rash move on my part. Shame the actual person chose not to attempt to challenge my position, so thanks for replying.

    What I disagreed with in your original post was your assertion that 'the fact that there are people on here who went to failing comprehensives and got into Oxbridge' somehow proves that the quality of the school you go to has no impact on your chances of an elite university education, provided you have the motivation and ambition to push yourself. You suggested that people were using their disadvantaged backgrounds as an excuse for their failure to gain entry to Oxbridge.
    I never tried to argue the quality of school has no impact on your chances of gaining oxbridge entry, I've seen the statistics. I argued that despite it being more difficult coming from a crap school, it is achievable. Of course not everyone from a disadvantaged background who failed to get into oxbridge uses it as an excuse, but plenty of people in this thread have done.

    There were so many things wrong with your post. I thought your argument was inconsistent and contradictory; you started by saying that it was 'absolutely' easier to get to Oxbridge from a top school, which is of course true, but went on to imply that bright students at failing schools had no excuse for not getting in either - they're just ducking personal blame for being too lazy to push themselves to the top. This despite students at failing schools facing a host of often insurmountable challenges in the application process.
    But they clearly aren't insurmountable - TSR is proof of that. Again, I'm not saying it's a level playing field, I'm just saying people should take some responsibility for their own defeats. As I said in the post above, I failed to get into oxbridge and who knows if I would have done better if I went to a school that gets 40% of leavers into oxbridge, but I'm a big enough person to accept that I didn't make it, and I won't try and detract from the successes of those people who did get in by saying they only got in because they went to a top school. They are undoubtedly very able students who worked hard and performed very well.

    A poor educational background is obviously a HUGE factor in whether someone will get into a top uni and for many pupils there is a glass ceiling - one or two may make it to Oxbridge every few years, and their achievement is laudable, but the fact that they are the exception rather than the rule is incredibly telling about the educational apartheid in the UK which holds so many bright students back. Poor comprehensives put so many students at an unfair disadvantage so it's unsurprising that so few make it to the top, and I really don't believe the students themselves are to blame. If you put the countless dozen public-school educated Oxbridge offer-holders into bad comprehensives, I doubt many of them would've achieved the same outcome.

    I agree that students need to put in a lot of hard work and effort to fulfil their potential, but I believe that many already do so and are being failed by a comprehensive education system that fails to stretch them. Of course getting to Oxbridge from a failing school is not impossible, but it should be much more common than it is; instead, many just learn to accept that their place at the local redbrick is the highest their circumstances will allow them to achieve. So yes - part of the effort has to come from the individual, but when such a huge part of a child's upbringing is at school, educational disadvantage has a huge impact on where they will eventually end up. For me personally, that represents an unforgivable loss of potential.

    I also think this is relevant: http://www.suttontrust.com/news.asp#a071
    Ultimately, my argument comes back to an existentialist one. An even more worrying statistic than the oxbridge entry one is that 60% of prisoners in this country are illiterate. Arguably these people were at a disadvantage to begin with, victims of circumstance perhaps. But if we start of down that road, taking your point of view, and allow them to blame their circumstances for the things they have done wrong, it alleviates them of all responsibility. I'm not saying some people don't have it easier, but ultimately only you are the master of your own destiny. Blaming circumstances is a slippery slope which inevitably leads to peoples refusal to take responsibility for their own actions.

    I also think this is relevant: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...niversity.html
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    (Original post by Srije)
    My insulting post? Do you even consider that your post was extremely insulting? - Just because you achieved your results in a state school does not give you moral superiority of make you better than someone else.

    You're not stupid, ok. Then why do you think people who have excelled in private schools haven't got into university based on merit? Stupid? I think yes.

    The real solution to this whole mess is to make state schools better...however that is easier said than done."

    Well, I'm doing a Masters at Bristol and I'm on course to get a Distinction so I don't consider myself to be stupid!!!!

    My post was hinting at the fact that if I attended to a public school where the facilities and teaching are far superior to that of the school I attended, I might have attended an even better university. So, it shocks me when people here went to top public schools where they have been given endless opportunities are not at Oxbridge.
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    (Original post by jaydoh)

    And I also respect someone who came from a poorer background and got int x uni than the one who came from a better background/had a better upbringing and got into the same one.

    So do I. I good example of this is a comparision of David Miliband and David Cameron.

    Cameron and Miliband both went to Oxford, both did PPE and both gained a first. However, Cameron went to Eton and Miliband went to his local failing comprehensive in North London.

    I also have a lot of respect from Jacqui Smith who went to a failing comprehensive and gained a place at Oxford (she was the first perosn from her school to go to Oxford). She then gained a 2:1. Love or hate her, you've got to admit, that's a huge achievement.
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    (Original post by aeonflux)
    Westminster is a highly selective school, requiring entrance exams (sometimes both internal and external) and subject to an interview. Arguably the candidates at Westminter are better to begin with, you are comparing apples with oranges. A better comparison would be Westminster with one of the UKs top grammar schools, many of which also achieve exceedingly high oxbridge success rates (in fact higher than the majority of private schools).


    I am suggesting that the pupils at some of the top public schools are better than the average comprehensive school student, yes, because to get in they have had to meet a satisfactory level in entrance exams and interviews. Obviously all schools can't be selective, so its to be expected that less pupils will get into oxbridge from comprehensive than from selective private schools and grammars.

    My point remains - the fact that people do get from failing to comprehensives to oxbridge proves it can be achieved through hard work. I'm not denying it is easier if you are at Westminster, but a truly deserving pupil can overcome the obstacles set in front of them. Maybe I'm just becoming a bit of an existentialist, but it's far too easy to sit at home on your computer and say I didn't get in to oxbridge because of my circumstances. I failed to get in oxbridge (after interview), I would have loved to have gone to Westminster and who can say, maybe if I went there I might have got in to oxbridge. But unlike some people in this thread, I am willing to accept that the fact is I didn't get in, and on the day other candidates performed better than me. You can spend your whole life blaming other people for your own defeats, or you can take some responsibility and realise life is exactly what you make of it.

    Also: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...niversity.html
    I'll come to the link first- "bright pupils from poor schools showing the most potential". I wrote this yesterday:
    (Original post by PGtips92)
    I think they should discriminate. They're judging potential as well as achievement, so if ABB students from crappy state school A consistently get better final results than AAB students at top public state school B, then you as an admissions tutor are going to discriminate to get those students with better potential...
    I think we're disagreeing because we're talking about 2 types of students, maybe that's my fault.
    - I am talking about genuinely disadvantaged pupils (i.e. not those from top state grammars) who , in my opinion, have every right to blame their failings on their education.
    - I think you're talking about pupils from top state schools who blame their failure to get into Oxbridge on the fact that they didn't have the privilidged education of people from private schools... in which case I agree with you.

    Re the underlined paragraph: even if Eton have a higher calibre of student entering the school than the schools which the 300 000 kids on free school meals enter... this alone cannot reflect the figures. Think about it: if 150 pupils from Eton got into Oxbridge [the 150 can be any number, obviously], so a child going to Eton has a 50% chance of getting into Oxbridge; and 150 pupils from the 300 000 on free school meals got into Oxbridge, so a child on free school meals has a 0.05% chance of getting into Oxbridge... then a child from Eton has a 1000 times better chance of getting into Oxbridge... and it's just not possible that this is solely down to Eton (or a top grammar school... by privilidged, I think these are included) being selective. This makes some difference, obviously, but not that size (1000 times) difference.

    re the "but a truly deserving pupil can overcome the obstacles set in front of them". I've got 2 points: firstly, why should some people, and not others, have to overcome mountains to get to Oxbridge? It strikes me as unfair that to get to Oxbridge, one would have to be probably the most intelligent and hardest working in one's school, maybe ever, for one to get into Oxbridge... yet at other schools, one merely has to be average? Anyway, that misses my main point. Again, I think we're talking about 2 different students. You are talking about the student who is good enough to get into Oxbridge no matter what school s/he went to. Yes, I have no doubt such students exist, and yes there are some on TSR. However, there is another type of student - those who go to the best, most privilidged schools (mostly the like of Westminster, but I'm sure top gramamr / state schools can be included) - who also get into Oxbridge... yet who wouldn't have had they gone to a crap state comp. And this is the type of student I am referring to when I say that had child A gone to that top school rather than the crap state comp, they'd have got into Oxbridge.
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    (Original post by T. Hereford)
    So do I. I good example of this is a comparision of David Miliband and David Cameron.

    Cameron and Miliband both went to Oxford, both did PPE and both gained a first. However, Cameron went to Eton and Miliband went to his local failing comprehensive in North London.

    I also have a lot of respect from Jacqui Smith who went to a failing comprehensive and gained a place at Oxford (she was the first perosn from her school to go to Oxford). She then gained a 2:1. Love or hate her, you've got to admit, that's a huge achievement.
    Have you heard of Roland G Fryer?
    Spoiler:
    Show
    He grew up believing that his mother, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, abandoned him as an infant. His father, a former math teacher turned copier salesperson, raised him somewhat carelessly in the Texas town of Lewisville, near Dallas. He was close to his strict, formidable grandmother in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he spent summers, but at least eight close relatives were either jailed or died young. When he stayed with his grandmother, whom everyone called "Fat," he liked to visit his great-aunt's house, out of which she and family ran a profitable crack-cocaine operation. One day, Fryer dawdled on his way there, and arrived to see the house surrounded by law-enforcement officials; nearly everyone in the household went to prison for their involvement in the illegal dealings.

    Fryer's life back in Texas was spiraling downward as well by the time he reached his teens. His father began drinking more heavily, and was abusive to him and others. When Fryer was in high school, his father was convicted of sexual assault. During this period, he found his niche as a standout athlete. The long football and basketball practice hours kept him out of the house, and later helped him win a college athletic scholarship. But he also led a double life, selling marijuana and carrying a gun. "I didn't care if I lived or died," he said in the interview with Dubner in the New York Times Magazine.

    Fryer's turning point came when he was pulled over by the police, who ordered him out of his car and on the ground, and drew their guns on him. They let him go, but later that day he was invited to come along with some friends who were planning a burglary. He turned them down, and they were caught and jailed for the crime. Fryer tried to keep out of trouble until he left Lewisville for the University of Texas at Arlington. Though he had not been an outstanding student in high school, he was forced to study to keep up, and discovered that not only did he like to learn, but he also seemed to have an aptitude for it. Less than three years later, he earned his undergraduate degree in economics.
    Spoiler:
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    Roland G Fryer, Professor of Economics at Harvard
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    (Original post by PGtips92)
    I'll come to the link first- "bright pupils from poor schools showing the most potential". I wrote this yesterday:
    [I think they should discriminate. They're judging potential as well as achievement, so if ABB students from crappy state school A consistently get better final results than AAB students at top public state school B, then you as an admissions tutor are going to discriminate to get those students with better potential...]
    Is there actually any evidence this is true though, or are admissions tutors simply discriminating because the government is telling them to discriminate? I think it massively undermines the achievements of pupils from good schools who have gotten top grades throughout their academic careers only to be told that they won't get the place they've proven they deserve because of some backwards social engineering scheme designed to win votes.

    I don't think I will ever agree with you on this point: I strongly believe that discrimination based on social background is always wrong. Not only do I have serious moral problems with the policy, but I also think it is an ineffective way of addressing the problem - you don't fight fire with fire, and legalising (and indeed encouraging) discrimination against certain sections of the population will only breed resentment and a sense of 'us versus them' between the private schooled and state schooled.

    I think we're disagreeing because we're talking about 2 types of students, maybe that's my fault.
    - I am talking about genuinely disadvantaged pupils (i.e. not those from top state grammars) who , in my opinion, have every right to blame their failings on their education.
    - I think you're talking about pupils from top state schools who blame their failure to get into Oxbridge on the fact that they didn't have the privilidged education of people from private schools... in which case I agree with you.
    My point is that you cannot compare a selective private school with a non-selective state school. You can either compare selective private schools with grammars, or non-selective private schools with non-selective state schools.

    Re the underlined paragraph: even if Eton have a higher calibre of student entering the school than the schools which the 300 000 kids on free school meals enter... this alone cannot reflect the figures. Think about it: if 150 pupils from Eton got into Oxbridge [the 150 can be any number, obviously], so a child going to Eton has a 50% chance of getting into Oxbridge; and 150 pupils from the 300 000 on free school meals got into Oxbridge, so a child on free school meals has a 0.05% chance of getting into Oxbridge... then a child from Eton has a 1000 times better chance of getting into Oxbridge... and it's just not possible that this is solely down to Eton (or a top grammar school... by privilidged, I think these are included) being selective. This makes some difference, obviously, but not that size (1000 times) difference.

    re the "but a truly deserving pupil can overcome the obstacles set in front of them". I've got 2 points: firstly, why should some people, and not others, have to overcome mountains to get to Oxbridge? It strikes me as unfair that to get to Oxbridge, one would have to be probably the most intelligent and hardest working in one's school, maybe ever, for one to get into Oxbridge... yet at other schools, one merely has to be average? Anyway, that misses my main point. Again, I think we're talking about 2 different students. You are talking about the student who is good enough to get into Oxbridge no matter what school s/he went to. Yes, I have no doubt such students exist, and yes there are some on TSR. However, there is another type of student - those who go to the best, most privilidged schools (mostly the like of Westminster, but I'm sure top gramamr / state schools can be included) - who also get into Oxbridge... yet who wouldn't have had they gone to a crap state comp. And this is the type of student I am referring to when I say that had child A gone to that top school rather than the crap state comp, they'd have got into Oxbridge.
    I totally agree that it is unfair that some people have to overcome more than other to get to oxbridge, but the way to redress this is to work to get underperforming schools up to the level of private schools, not to discriminate against and undermine the achievements of private schooled children. I'm glad you agree that the very best students do manage to get into oxbridge no matter what - this is surely the most important thing.

    My problem with your line of reasoning is still that it takes the responsibility away from the individual, placing it instead on society. Sometimes it is necessary to accept that although external circumstances have an influence, ultimately it is for the individual to accept that life is what they make of it. Going back to my prisoner analogy: Imagine a child molestor. This man may have been disadvantage by circumstances, grown up in a broken home, been abused himself as a child. But if we follow your line of reasoning, alleviating the individual of all responsibility for their actions, how can we punish him? Surely we would have to let him off as a victim of circumstance.
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    (Original post by aeonflux)
    My problem with your line of reasoning is still that it takes the responsibility away from the individual, placing it instead on society. Sometimes it is necessary to accept that although external circumstances have an influence, ultimately it is for the individual to accept that life is what they make of it. Going back to my prisoner analogy: Imagine a child molestor. This man may have been disadvantage by circumstances, grown up in a broken home, been abused himself as a child. But if we follow your line of reasoning, alleviating the individual of all responsibility for their actions, how can we punish him? Surely we would have to let him off as a victim of circumstance.
    Oh don't get me wrong, I've got an individualist / "there is no such thing as society" view. However, let me ask you: the student from a top school who goes to Oxbridge (but who otherwise would not have done had they gone to a crap state comp), are they responsible for their success? Or have external circumstances enabled them to get to Oxbridge? If you agree that with this specific type of student, external circumstances have enabled them to get to Oxbridge, then you'd surely agree that external circumstances will have prevented other students from going to Oxbridge [the identical student but who went to a crap state comp]... hence why I believe some students can blame their failings (academic failings obviously, like univeristy rejections or lower results) on their education. Meh, don't think we'll agree..!
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    (Original post by PGtips92)
    Oh don't get me wrong, I've got an individualist / "there is no such thing as society" view. However, let me ask you: the student from a top school who goes to Oxbridge (but who otherwise would not have done had they gone to a crap state comp), are they responsible for their success? Or have external circumstances enabled them to get to Oxbridge? If you agree that with this specific type of student, external circumstances have enabled them to get to Oxbridge, then you'd surely agree that external circumstances will have prevented other students from going to Oxbridge [the identical student but who went to a crap state comp]... hence why I believe some students can blame their failings (academic failings obviously, like univeristy rejections or lower results) on their education. Meh, don't think we'll agree..!
    You can be affected by external circumstances but ultimately you are still responsible for where you end up, thats my point. Everything you do is affected by external circumstances, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to take pride in your achievements or that you shouldn't accept with good grace your defeats.
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    A student's external circumstances have a huge impact on how much they achieve. I can't understand why anyone would disagree with this. Yes, i agree that if a student from a poor background works very hard then they can achieve the same as what a student of the same intelligence from a more privileged background can achieve but why should they have to put in so much more effort just to be considered the same as these other students who have had it much more easy?

    Most people from poorer backgrounds don't fail because they aren't clever enough, they fail because they don't have the encouragement to succeed from their parents, teachers and friends. Being surrounded by only people who haven't been academically focussed makes it so much harder to make it your own focus. I'm very working class, single dad who's a cleaner, crappy council house, noone in my family did A levels let alone uni, free school meals blah blah blah you get the idea. I was never taught to work hard academically. I just went with the flow, luckily for me i was a clever kid so it didn't start affecting me until A-Levels when, because studying hard wasn't something my background had taught me to do, i got a few Us in physics and maths. I took a year out and put in some effort for once and got As....it was the environment that had stopped me first time around, but clearly the potential was there, and it's the same for other kids from bad backgrounds. Universities are right to take background into account, should've happened much sooner.
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    (Original post by AshleyT)
    So i'm sorry, yes people have to work hard but if you go to a failing comprehensive it's 100% harder...because you also have to try and find the mentality to be different to everyone else...you have to find the mentality to overcome people bulling you and calling you 'a nerd' just because your trying to make something of your life.
    Yep, you have to work hard. Deal with it. Work hard.

    You will find a large number of excellent teachers in comprehensives. In any case, it's entirely possible to teach yourself A levels in most subjects these days simply by looking on the internet at websites such as this one. If you want to succeed, you will, if you don't you won't. My point was never that it's easy to succeed in a 'bad' school, just that's it's perfectly possible if you have the right mindset. Anyone could easily slip into taking drugs, drinking, getting involved in knife crime etc etc (which the vast majority of people don't, in fact, have to face). The fact is, you have to make choices not to, and there are plenty of examples of people who have done so. Stop whining about being called a nerd and get on with it.
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    (Original post by swallows)
    Yep, you have to work hard. Deal with it. Work hard.

    You will find a large number of excellent teachers in comprehensives. In any case, it's entirely possible to teach yourself A levels in most subjects these days simply by looking on the internet at websites such as this one. If you want to succeed, you will, if you don't you won't. My point was never that it's easy to succeed in a 'bad' school, just that's it's perfectly possible if you have the right mindset. Anyone could easily slip into taking drugs, drinking, getting involved in knife crime etc etc (which the vast majority of people don't, in fact, have to face). The fact is, you have to make choices not to, and there are plenty of examples of people who have done so. Stop whining about being called a nerd and get on with it.
    How dare you tell me to stop wining when you don't even know me.
    I was simply trying to explain the other perspective and what it can be like. I actually went to a pretty good comprehensive after spending 2 weeks at a school that's just been shut down...I was judging my comment on people around me. NOT ME

    Im one of these ******* people who worked their asses off so shut up.
    I stayed after school every night and trekked an hour and half home because i missed my bus due to staying after school.
    I come from an extremely poor area...frequently during exams i had family suicides or suicide attempts.
    I found my best friend half dead on the floor in May of AS levels.
    On the night of my Fp1 exam my grandad dissapeared and was found miles away in a coma covered in blood i was extremely close to him...i failed that exam but retook and got 100%.
    Most of my family told me i was never going to amount to anything, that i'd be pregnent by the time i was 14 and on drugs...not the nicest thing to hear people saying so i strived to prove them wrong.
    My dad died when was 11 from alcohol and i spent a large proportion of my childhood in refuges because of his violence.

    And during my A2 exams my mother had another nervous breakdown...all throughout exams we had ambulances coming to my door because my mum would try to kill herself again or had slashed her wrists so bad she needed to be taken to hospital again..we had a crisis team coming to our house every single day, even during the bank holidays to check on her.

    I had just an hour of sleep for my chemistry A2 synoptic exam because by this stage i couldn't sleep...oh and i think this night my mum tried again so i stayed in my little brothers room until 5am comforting him because he was FREAKING OUT...he's only 8 years old and has Aspergers. But even then i'd have random spurts of anger or anxiety...i never suffered anxiety until then.

    Luckily i achieved my dream of coming to Edinburgh university....which is a top University....
    I have a ginormous family...everyone had kids around 14-18 and normally has around 5 children each...My great nan is only 80ish and she had 7 kids...who had around 7 kids each who are now having around 3-6 kids each and now their all having kids too....

    And im the only person to have managed to get into University, let alone a Russel group uni.

    I fought to get to where i am...so don't you go telling me i didn't. I'm not even complaining about this now because at the end of the day...thats life...you learn and you grow. But i fought so that hopefully at the end i can make a better life for me and my little Brother
    When i finally spoke to my school about what was happening(this was the last week of exams) i was told by my teacher to move out of my home if i could.
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    (Original post by AshleyT)
    How dare you tell me to stop wining when you don't even know me.
    I was simply trying to explain the other perspective and what it can be like. I actually went to a pretty good comprehensive after spending 2 weeks at a school that's just been shut down...I was judging my comment on people around me. NOT ME

    Im one of these ******* people who worked their asses off so shut up.
    I stayed after school every night and trekked an hour and half home because i missed my bus due to staying after school.
    I come from an extremely poor area...frequently during exams i had family suicides or suicide attempts.
    I found my best friend half dead on the floor in May of AS levels.
    On the night of my Fp1 exam my grandad dissapeared and was found miles away in a coma covered in blood i was extremely close to him...i failed that exam but retook and got 100%.
    Most of my family told me i was never going to amount to anything, that i'd be pregnent by the time i was 14 and on drugs...not the nicest thing to hear people saying so i strived to prove them wrong.
    My dad died when was 11 from alcohol and i spent a large proportion of my childhood in refuges because of his violence.

    And during my A2 exams my mother had another nervous breakdown...all throughout exams we had ambulances coming to my door because my mum would try to kill herself again or had slashed her wrists so bad she needed to be taken to hospital again..we had a crisis team coming to our house every single day, even during the bank holidays to check on her.

    I had just an hour of sleep for my chemistry A2 synoptic exam because by this stage i couldn't sleep...oh and i think this night my mum tried again so i stayed in my little brothers room until 5am comforting him because he was FREAKING OUT...he's only 8 years old and has Aspergers. But even then i'd have random spurts of anger or anxiety...i never suffered anxiety until then.

    Luckily i achieved my dream of coming to Edinburgh university....which is a top University....
    I have a ginormous family...everyone had kids around 14-18 and normally has around 5 children each...My great nan is only 80ish and she had 7 kids...who had around 7 kids each who are now having around 3-6 kids each and now their all having kids too....

    And im the only person to have managed to get into University, let alone a Russel group uni.

    I fought to get to where i am...so don't you go telling me i didn't. I'm not even complaining about this now because at the end of the day...thats life...you learn and you grow. But i fought so that hopefully at the end i can make a better life for me and my little Brother
    When i finally spoke to my school about what was happening(this was the last week of exams) i was told by my teacher to move out of my home if i could.
    Err...I think you've just proved my point. You experienced a spate of (seemingly incessant) family suicides and random coshing attacks and still managed to go to a good uni.
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    (Original post by swallows)
    Err...I think you've just proved my point. You experienced a spate of (seemingly incessant) family suicides and random coshing attacks and still managed to go to a good uni.
    But i wasn't saying earlier it was impossible...i meant it's much harder and grades are affected.

    I was meant to, and had the ability to get AAA but got ABB mostly because of what happened during A2 exams.

    Luckily Edinburgh gave me a lower offer anyway so it didn't matter.

    Also i was lucky because when my grandparents were alive, they encouraged me endlessly to go to uni when i was young...so i had determination to make them proud.

    Not everyone has that..Most people in my family's comment to me going to university was 'Yeah, well she can afford it from inheritance money'...they didn't even know you could get financing help!! And the kids at school hadn't been told either so they just thought there was no hope...why bother when you don't have the money to go to uni and get a good job...(what they thought..to which i went round and explained everything but unfortunately they didn't get the grades to continue @ 6th form anyway)
 
 
 
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