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A bumpy ride to University Watch

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    So I just thought I'd write up my experience with education and applying to uni because It's not been a smooth ride and I know others have concerns and probably similar issues and hopefully they see from my experience that there's always that little bit of hope. I'll give a brief story and then add the silver lining.
    (Sorry for the length, I have deleted a fair bit but I can ramble on with the best of them)

    TL;DR: Low grades, financial troubles, lack of support and a few dropouts don't mean you'll never become a student, as I said, there's ALWAYS that little bit of hope if you want it enough and work hard enough to get it.

    I was an almost perfect little student until I went to my local secondary school (don't get me started) and it went downhill big time, my expected results for all my GCSEs were A* or A (except Biology which was a B) however when they came around the teachers decided they would put me on the lower papers for reasons I still don't fully understand. This put me in a scary situation where most of my results were capped to a C and I had no idea what to do next. Due to being clueless about my future I stayed at the school at Sixth form very briefly, I was there for about 2-3 months before I quit.

    Silver lining: While I was in sixth form I was flicking through uni booklets and noticed you could do Japanese in uni, I have a mad interest in Japan and didn't know you could take a course in it until now (Where I found my course)

    The following September I ended up doing an extended level 3 diploma in engineering but all the tutors of the course would repeat the same thing "If you wanted to go to uni you should've done A-levels and if you wanted work you should get an apprenticeship". This made me feel that I'd ****ed up again so I took their advice, I left college and got myself an apprenticeship in a local factory

    Silver lining: I had no prior work experience so only got the job because of the course I was on at the time.

    This was the worst and best thing I could've ever done. I hated being there and all the other workers would half joke about how I was in a dead end job when I was only 18, I say half joke because it was actually true.

    Silver lining: In this factory I worked with a guy who had spent 6 months on a working visa in Japan and he would tell me his stories of it there and always said he wishes he stayed but at the time had a wife back home (they're divorced now so he had so much regret over not staying) and that fear of regret and the amazing stories he told inspired me to get back into education and finally do that uni course I wanted.

    I got onto an Access to HE course the following September and despite a few wobblers through the year and having next to no support from friends or family (all of them thought I wasn't serious about doing it and thought I'd just drop out again) I shocked everyone by not only finishing a full year of something but also finishing with the grades to get me offers from a few decent unis, I eventually decided to firmly accept my offer to study Japanese at the University of Manchester and the acceptance letter I have is still pinned on my wall.
    Feeling was lost slightly however as I'm from a poor background and due to financial issues at home I couldn't afford to go to uni in the financial sense and general sense but thankfully the university was understanding and agreed to defer my position until this year.

    I know there are people that are worried about these issues and it can seriously limit them and make them believe they can't do it and give up on it. In my eyes University opens the doors for people to be exactly who and what they want to be and the idea of someone never being who they truly want to because they feel that they can't is quite a tragic thought. Learn from my lessons here.

    Some sentimental BS to finish it all off; I said at the start I was doing great academically until high school but that wasn't fully because of the school, a couple of years into high school I lost my dad to cancer and as we were extremely close I had days off and had alot of trouble trying to concentrate in lessons for a while. He was my idol and always said at his funeral he wanted the song from Monty Python's the life of Brian; "Always look on the bright side of life." That was played at his funeral and is now what I live by, as you see from me pointing out the silver linings of my **** ups I always look for the bright side. I could've been in uni a few years ago if I hadn't messed up and dropped out but I kept my chin up and It's paid off big time.

    So don't worry, If you're wanting to apply to uni but feel there's something stopping you just know you're not alone in that tunnel and there is a light at the end if you just keep it up.
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    (Original post by LiamHolt)
    So I just thought I'd write up my experience with education and applying to uni because It's not been a smooth ride and I know others have concerns and probably similar issues and hopefully they see from my experience that there's always that little bit of hope. I'll give a brief story and then add the silver lining.
    (Sorry for the length, I have deleted a fair bit but I can ramble on with the best of them)

    TL;DR: Low grades, financial troubles, lack of support and a few dropouts don't mean you'll never become a student, as I said, there's ALWAYS that little bit of hope if you want it enough and work hard enough to get it.

    I was an almost perfect little student until I went to my local secondary school (don't get me started) and it went downhill big time, my expected results for all my GCSEs were A* or A (except Biology which was a B) however when they came around the teachers decided they would put me on the lower papers for reasons I still don't fully understand. This put me in a scary situation where most of my results were capped to a C and I had no idea what to do next. Due to being clueless about my future I stayed at the school at Sixth form very briefly, I was there for about 2-3 months before I quit.

    Silver lining: While I was in sixth form I was flicking through uni booklets and noticed you could do Japanese in uni, I have a mad interest in Japan and didn't know you could take a course in it until now (Where I found my course)

    The following September I ended up doing an extended level 3 diploma in engineering but all the tutors of the course would repeat the same thing "If you wanted to go to uni you should've done A-levels and if you wanted work you should get an apprenticeship". This made me feel that I'd ****ed up again so I took their advice, I left college and got myself an apprenticeship in a local factory

    Silver lining: I had no prior work experience so only got the job because of the course I was on at the time.

    This was the worst and best thing I could've ever done. I hated being there and all the other workers would half joke about how I was in a dead end job when I was only 18, I say half joke because it was actually true.

    Silver lining: In this factory I worked with a guy who had spent 6 months on a working visa in Japan and he would tell me his stories of it there and always said he wishes he stayed but at the time had a wife back home (they're divorced now so he had so much regret over not staying) and that fear of regret and the amazing stories he told inspired me to get back into education and finally do that uni course I wanted.

    I got onto an Access to HE course the following September and despite a few wobblers through the year and having next to no support from friends or family (all of them thought I wasn't serious about doing it and thought I'd just drop out again) I shocked everyone by not only finishing a full year of something but also finishing with the grades to get me offers from a few decent unis, I eventually decided to firmly accept my offer to study Japanese at the University of Manchester and the acceptance letter I have is still pinned on my wall.
    Feeling was lost slightly however as I'm from a poor background and due to financial issues at home I couldn't afford to go to uni in the financial sense and general sense but thankfully the university was understanding and agreed to defer my position until this year.

    I know there are people that are worried about these issues and it can seriously limit them and make them believe they can't do it and give up on it. In my eyes University opens the doors for people to be exactly who and what they want to be and the idea of someone never being who they truly want to because they feel that they can't is quite a tragic thought. Learn from my lessons here.

    Some sentimental BS to finish it all off; I said at the start I was doing great academically until high school but that wasn't fully because of the school, a couple of years into high school I lost my dad to cancer and as we were extremely close I had days off and had alot of trouble trying to concentrate in lessons for a while. He was my idol always said at his funeral he wanted the song from Monty Python's the life of Brian; "Always look on the bright side of life." That was played at his funeral and is now what I live by, as you see from me pointing out the silver linings of my **** ups I always look for the bright side. I could've been in uni a few years ago if I hadn't messed up and dropped out but I kept my chin up and It's paid off big time.

    So don't worry, If you're wanting to apply to uni but feel there's something stopping you just know you're not alone in that tunnel and there is a light at the end if you just keep it up.
    Need a few more people like you around. Well done and good luck for the future.
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    You're a hero bro

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    Thanks for the kind responses, I'm not too sure the world needs any more people like me but some more supportive people would be a brilliant addition especially as I'm still seeing people worrying about these same issues and as I said, it's horrible to think that some of those people may decide to not bother with uni at all because of them.
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    I too had an 'interesting' journey early on, and eventually got to Uni later than most. Education is a lifelong experience - it doesnt need to be crammed into the years just after you leave school. Sometimes trying 'other things' and taking the different route makes for better choices in the long-term - I'm sure that Uni will be a glorious experience for you - and thank you for your post, this sort of message really does encourage other people who are yet to find their own path.
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    Brought a tear to my eye since I was so absorbed.

    I like many students in private schools, can never really understand harsh realities in life. We all think after highschool there's only Universitiy and everyone in our age group perfectly move on to so. That's because we were raised into thinking like that, we never understood what people in public schools actually go through.

    As a result you have alot of these stuck up, arragont people in private schools that tend to make class differences in societies obvious.
    I'm really touched by your story mate, I wish all the best for you as I cannot imagine the struggle which you don't deserve.
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    We all face hardship, I'm sure even the wealthiest kids in the must luxurious private schools don't live perfect lives.
    I've been through my fair share of tough times but I feel I've come out of them all a better person so wouldn't change a single one of them; I say that I could be in Uni had I not dropped out but who knows, maybe without the experiences I've had I wouldn't be able to truly appreciate certain elements of going to university.

    One thing I was quick to realise while working in that factory was that unless I made the effort to aim big and go to university then that truly was my life. Most of the time when kids drop out of school or wherever else they do so because they can't fully comprehend just how much it can mess up your later life so I've always said that while I hated it there It's the best job I could've got. It basically gave me the understanding that I could end up in a job I hate my whole life as most of my family has due to financial reasons, I was ignorant to that fact prior to working there.
    Thankfully I was still just 18 so I was still easily young enough to give it another go, but this time around I had that appreciation and I'd say that's one of the main reasons I was able to pass with the grades to get me into a Russel group university despite the past attempts resulting in me dropping out.

    Now I'm not saying people shouldn't aim to go straight to university, for most people it works well enough but as returnmigrant said in his reply "Education is a lifelong experience - It doesn't need to be crammed into the years just after you leave school. Sometimes trying 'other things' and taking the different route makes for better choices in the long-term"
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    (Original post by LiamHolt)
    We all face hardship, I'm sure even the wealthiest kids in the must luxurious private schools don't live perfect lives.
    I've been through my fair share of tough times but I feel I've come out of them all a better person so wouldn't change a single one of them; I say that I could be in Uni had I not dropped out but who knows, maybe without the experiences I've had I wouldn't be able to truly appreciate certain elements of going to university.

    One thing I was quick to realise while working in that factory was that unless I made the effort to aim big and go to university then that truly was my life. Most of the time when kids drop out of school or wherever else they do so because they can't fully comprehend just how much it can mess up your later life so I've always said that while I hated it there It's the best job I could've got. It basically gave me the understanding that I could end up in a job I hate my whole life as most of my family has due to financial reasons, I was ignorant to that fact prior to working there.
    Thankfully I was still just 18 so I was still easily young enough to give it another go, but this time around I had that appreciation and I'd say that's one of the main reasons I was able to pass with the grades to get me into a Russel group university despite the past attempts resulting in me dropping out.

    Now I'm not saying people shouldn't aim to go straight to university, for most people it works well enough but as returnmigrant said in his reply "Education is a lifelong experience - It doesn't need to be crammed into the years just after you leave school. Sometimes trying 'other things' and taking the different route makes for better choices in the long-term"
    ^^first off I want to say thank you for replying to my thread and giving me some hope.Your story is amazing, and I hope you do well in your degree too. I think I was being pessimistic and negative and failed to realise that it's up to me to try my best and not worry too much. Again, ty, and thanks for sharing your experiences.
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    So it's been a few months since I posted this and I'm starting to see many posts with issues similar to these so I'm going to give it a quick update and a bump and hopefully It can reach a few more of those who really need the support;

    As stated in the main post I had to defer entry for financial reasons and there's always going to be problems where there's alot of money but it's made much scarier when the numbers just aren't adding up; I've applied for my accomodation and my Student finance but despite this I'm still not 100% about how everything is going to add up, I'm not letting the thought of money put me off my goals but it is a hurdle which many will have to overcome when moving to university. There's a solution though but it's one of those easier said than done kinda solutions; It's everyones favourite thing to hear "Get a job!". Since I completed my Access course last Spetember I worked in another factory through an agency for while and I've now got a place at Lidl which is good for pay and offers me the opporunity to transfer to a store in Manchester when I move to university to help me out even more.

    So what am I getting at here? Well, one of the most common posts I've been seeing is from people who have dropped out or been out of education for a couple of years and they've gotten themselves in a bit of a depressed state and have become fairly idle. I had a friend of mine wanted to do the same Access course I did but when we went to the interview I got an unconditional offer and he was rejected and since then he has done a week or two at a different college but left that one too and hasn't got a job since he quit maccies about 2 and a half years ago

    Point is, you truly do need to put the effort in if you want to make anything work, I've never wanted to work in a factory and while I'm actually enjoying my job at Lidl and acknowledge that they are a really good employer, I still don't really want to work there but It's a stepping stone as the factories were, some jumps are too far to make and university is a big leap even for those going straight through education never mind someone who has had a bumpy ride before the jump. Keeping with the analogy of a bumpy ride and a jump, try and imagine now you;re coming up to this jump but just before you do it you come to a complete standstill. Now from being completely still infront of the 'ramp' try and make the jump. You're not going to get far. You need to get properly prepared and I don't mean repeating "You can do this!" in your head over and over. I mean actually getting up and doing something.

    I've heard "Get a job!" said half assedly from almost everyone I know and it can be incredibly depressing and demeaning as when you try and fail to find work you can start to feel like you have no control over your own life but I had 3 jobs before I turned 21 and two of those were full-time jobs with 40+ hours a week and if someone like me can manage that I'm sure all of you can find work if you put the effort in.

    That friend of mine who hasn't done anything since he last dropped out still wants to go to university and is still looking at shortcuts and other ways to do it but he's not getting any closer sadly, you can do things such as fast-track courses and such to minimise the time it will take but you can't cut corners like he's trying to. I know I've repeated this enough now but it really must be stressed; Hardwork and dedication will get you further than almost anything else can and if you're not willing to put the work in you have nobody but yourself to blame when you don't get anything out.

    Chin up, worries aside and eyes on the prize.
 
 
 
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