#Nowrongpath I did not go to an RG uni and I'm now in a top grad scheme, AMA! Watch

Airmed
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Hey all! This is part of the #Nowrongpath series on TSR.

On TSR, there is this HUGE hype that if you don't get into Oxbridge or a RG uni then you're not going to get anywhere in life. That's actually a lie Shooketh, I know.

I went to a non-RG uni (even though I had the grades and got UCAS offers from 3 good RG unis), and I'm now in one of the most competitive public sector graduate schemes.

I'm on the Civil Service Fast Stream (Generalist Year 2).

My academic and (relevant) work background:

Grammar school:
GCSE (2011-2013): 6 A*, 5A, B and C
A Levels (2013-2015): AABa

University:
MA (Hons) Politics 2:1 at the University of Dundee (2015-2018). I was a direct entry to Year 2 (most Scottish undergraduate degrees are 4 years).

In summer 2017, I got a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship Programme. This opportunity gave me the ability to get a Fast Pass for the graduate scheme application; I successfully completed the internship and was able to skip straight to the FSAC (Fast Stream Assessment Centre).

I went to Newcastle for FSAC in December 2017 and was made an offer for the Generalist scheme 3 days before Christmas, that was a nice gift :lol:

On top of all of this, I have complex mental health issues that I'll unfortunately be battling for the rest of my life. My MH sadly cost me my dreams of a first class degree (#alwaysbitter) but I refuse to let it cost me my graduate scheme.

So, ask me anything
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Quick-use
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(Original post by Airmed)
Hey all! This is part of the #Nowrongpath series on TSR.

On TSR, there is this HUGE hype that if you don't get into Oxbridge or a RG uni then you're not going to get anywhere in life. That's actually a lie Shooketh, I know.

I went to a non-RG uni (even though I had the grades and got UCAS offers from 3 good RG unis), and I'm now in one of the most competitive public sector graduate schemes.

I'm on the Civil Service Fast Stream (Generalist Year 2).

My academic and (relevant) work background:

Grammar school:
GCSE (2011-2013): 6 A*, 5A, B and C
A Levels (2013-2015): AABa

University:
MA (Hons) Politics 2:1 at the University of Dundee (2015-2018). I was a direct entry to Year 2 (most Scottish undergraduate degrees are 4 years).

In summer 2017, I got a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship Programme. This opportunity gave me the ability to get a Fast Pass for the graduate scheme application; I successfully completed the internship and was able to skip straight to the FSAC (Fast Stream Assessment Centre).

I went to Newcastle for FSAC in December 2017 and was made an offer for the Generalist scheme 3 days before Christmas, that was a nice gift :lol:

On top of all of this, I have complex mental health issues that I'll unfortunately be battling for the rest of my life. My MH sadly cost me my dreams of a first class degree (#alwaysbitter) but I refuse to let it cost me my graduate scheme.

So, ask me anything
If you don't mind me asking, what are your complex mental health issues? Why will you be battling with them forever?
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Airmed
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(Original post by Quick-use)
If you don't mind me asking, what are your complex mental health issues? Why will you be battling with them forever?
oh boi. Chronic depression, seasonal depression, a lovely splattering of personality disorders, pseudo-hallucinations, and in the last year alone my anxiety has gone through the roof. I've attempted 17/18 medication tries since mid-2015, and none of them have worked. Lost cause :lol: It delayed my security clearance by quite some time. It's been agreed that I may clear up some of the PD traits, but the depression is always going to remain
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OddOnes
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See I'm on a similar path. But the difference between us is you have good A levels. I have good AS levels but my mental health came crumbling down. I couldn't cope with Biology any more so dropped to a D grade. I've always been brushed off by doctors when I tell them I'm too stressed/depressed to eat so I haven't got an 'official medical excuse' for that time period.

Everything else is fine, I've worked really hard and achieved a lot. But if something has minimum A level requirements I feel like that's it. I get rejected, not particularly fair as they aren't a representation of my intelligence.
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(Original post by OddOnes)
See I'm on a similar path. But the difference between us is you have good A levels. I have good AS levels but my mental health came crumbling down. I couldn't cope with Biology any more so dropped to a D grade. I've always been brushed off by doctors when I tell them I'm too stressed/depressed to eat so I haven't got an 'official medical excuse' for that time period.

Everything else is fine, I've worked really hard and achieved a lot. But if something has minimum A level requirements I feel like that's it. I get rejected, not particularly fair as they aren't a representation of my intelligence.
Your doctors sound awful :hugs:

Have you considered taking a gap year and applying when you have your A Levels so you can get unconditional offers or even perhaps repeat some exams? It could take the stress off.
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(Original post by Airmed)
oh boi. Chronic depression, seasonal depression, a lovely splattering of personality disorders, pseudo-hallucinations, and in the last year alone my anxiety has gone through the roof. I've attempted 17/18 medication tries since mid-2015, and none of them have worked. Lost cause :lol: It delayed my security clearance by quite some time. It's been agreed that I may clear up some of the PD traits, but the depression is always going to remain
Have you tried SAD lights for the seasonal depression? Do you take antidepressants? If so, which ones? What medication are you on? Apologies if these are too personal!

What was the security clearance process like with the Fast Stream and why did it take you so long to get through them?

What made you choose Dundee? I'm from Scotland and it's always a pleasant surprise to hear about people coming up north.
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(Original post by Quick-use)
Have you tried SAD lights for the seasonal depression? Do you take antidepressants? If so, which ones? What medication are you on? Apologies if these are too personal!

What was the security clearance process like with the Fast Stream and why did it take you so long to get through them?

What made you choose Dundee? I'm from Scotland and it's always a pleasant surprise to hear about people coming up north.
Yeah, they work for a little while, and then they don't. Currently not on medication, last attempt in the summer made me very bad. I've been a LOT of ADs.

It's a long form :lol: ask for a lot of details. My MH held it up; personality disorders are not looked upon favourably.

The bursaries I got :lol: I'm from N.Ireland so our uni funding is a bit crap I also wanted to escape home. Got an offer from Glasgow and was rejected from St Andrews due to my Irish passport, so I decided Dundee was better because 3 years compared to my 4 years Glasgow offer.
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gr8wizard10
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congratulations - internships are the game changers.
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OddOnes
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(Original post by Airmed)
Your doctors sound awful :hugs:

Have you considered taking a gap year and applying when you have your A Levels so you can get unconditional offers or even perhaps repeat some exams? It could take the stress off.
Only one questioned my weight and I was in such denial at the time I got angry! Not helpful to myself

I'm way past resitting, I already have my first degree and am on the second I keep reading things here about minimum A level requirements for grad schemes. If it's true I feel it puts all my hard work to nothing.
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(Original post by Airmed)
Yeah, they work for a little while, and then they don't. Currently not on medication, last attempt in the summer made me very bad. I've been a LOT of ADs.

It's a long form :lol: ask for a lot of details. My MH held it up; personality disorders are not looked upon favourably.

The bursaries I got :lol: I'm from N.Ireland so our uni funding is a bit crap I also wanted to escape home. Got an offer from Glasgow and was rejected from St Andrews due to my Irish passport, so I decided Dundee was better because 3 years compared to my 4 years Glasgow offer.
Ah! I actually have one worry if I were to get onto the fast stream. I studied abroad in Japan during my 3rd year and I forgot to cancel my 2 year SIM contract at the time... This was about 4 years ago now. Do you think this will cause any problems? :confused:
What kind of things do they ask on the security clearance? Did you feel like they were asking a lot of invasive and personal questions on it?
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(Original post by gr8wizard10)
congratulations - internships are the game changers.
Thanks, I think that is the biggest lesson I've taken off TSR :lol:
(Original post by OddOnes)
Only one questioned my weight and I was in such denial at the time I got angry! Not helpful to myself

I'm way past resitting, I already have my first degree and am on the second I keep reading things here about minimum A level requirements for grad schemes. If it's true I feel it puts all my hard work to nothing.
I get the denial feeling, I was in denial for years.

Only some graduate schemes require min A Level requirements, not all. It's just a case of looking around and seeing which ones you are interested in :yep:
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Airmed
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(Original post by Quick-use)
Ah! I actually have one worry if I were to get onto the fast stream. I studied abroad in Japan during my 3rd year and I forgot to cancel my 2 year SIM contract at the time... This was about 4 years ago now. Do you think this will cause any problems? :confused:
What kind of things do they ask on the security clearance? Did you feel like they were asking a lot of invasive and personal questions on it?
no, it won't!
address, family, qualification history, health, it's a little invasive but not as invasive as DV clearance where you are interviewed and your internet history is brought into play.
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Little Popcorns
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You did go to a grammar school though and get good grades a secondary and sixth form!

Well done either way like you say you still had things to overcome.
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Quick-use
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(Original post by Airmed)
no, it won't!
address, family, qualification history, health, it's a little invasive but not as invasive as DV clearance where you are interviewed and your internet history is brought into play.
Wait, DV clearance and internet history...? Is that something people in the fast stream have to do? Did you go through that? :eek:

Also, what made you choose Politics? What were your other courses at Dundee? Your favourite module and why? Would you ever consider doing postgrad? :rambo:
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Airmed
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(Original post by Quick-use)
Wait, DV clearance and internet history...? Is that something people in the fast stream have to do? Did you go through that? :eek:

Also, what made you choose Politics? What were your other courses at Dundee? Your favourite module and why? Would you ever consider doing postgrad? :rambo:
no, Fast Streamers don't go for DV Don't be worried!

I was caught between Politics and History. Still don't know how I really ended up with Politics. My favourite modules were Theorising Politics (philosophy and politics is interesting and it was a core module) and an Irish politics module.(Ireland is my OTP that I wrote my dissertation on it). I also did English, History and Film Studies modules in 2nd year. I'd LOVE to do a masters but funding, boo
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CoolCavy
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(Original post by Airmed)

On TSR, there is this HUGE hype that if you don't get into Oxbridge or a RG uni then you're not going to get anywhere in life. That's actually a lie Shooketh, I know.
:eek3: surely you jest


Jk great ama fed up of this superiority narrative on tsr, RG matter to no-one outside of this forum
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Airmed
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
:eek3: surely you jest


Jk great ama fed up of this superiority narrative on tsr, RG matter to no-one outside of this forum
you must alsp have 10 A* at A Level minimum too
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Airmed)
Hey all! This is part of the #Nowrongpath series on TSR.

On TSR, there is this HUGE hype that if you don't get into Oxbridge or a RG uni then you're not going to get anywhere in life. That's actually a lie Shooketh, I know.

I went to a non-RG uni (even though I had the grades and got UCAS offers from 3 good RG unis), and I'm now in one of the most competitive public sector graduate schemes.

I'm on the Civil Service Fast Stream (Generalist Year 2).

So, ask me anything
Really good AMA, thank you so much for sharing. I'm a great fan of denial myself

I hang out a lot on the Law forum where people are obsessed with RG - it doesn't help that there are stats showing that the majority of people gaining training contracts at large firms are from RG unis. But what people sometimes fail to appreciate is that it is the high grades most Law firms want, not the RG label. People with high grades tend to go to Russell Group unis so it creates this false impression, and some people feel pressurised to only apply to RG when they have personal reasons for preferring smaller unis, for example, or ones they can commute to from home. You are living proof that people should pick the uni that is best for them, and make the most of that opportunity.

My question is, why are you so awesome?
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Really good AMA, thank you so much for sharing. I'm a great fan of denial myself

I hang out a lot on the Law forum where people are obsessed with RG - it doesn't help that there are stats showing that the majority of people gaining training contracts at large firms are from RG unis. But what people sometimes fail to appreciate is that it is the high grades most Law firms want, not the RG label. People with high grades tend to go to Russell Group unis so it creates this false impression, and some people feel pressurised to only apply to RG when they have personal reasons for preferring smaller unis, for example, or ones they can commute to from home. You are living proof that people should pick the uni that is best for them.

My question is, why are you so awesome?
Yeah, I've seen it for Law very badly. The scaremongering on this website js complete *******s. RG means nothing.

It's the memes :awesome: Jokes aside, I'm not awesome :lol: I just overthink a lot and here we are.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Airmed)
Yeah, I've seen it for Law very badly. The scaremongering on this website js complete *******s. RG means nothing.

It's the memes :awesome: Jokes aside, I'm not awesome :lol: I just overthink a lot and here we are.
I believe a small minority of Law firms are so snobby they try to recruit as many Oxbridge types as they can, but who wants to work for an organisation that puts the uni you attended above everything else? The money might be good but the culture would be awful.

Anyway, all the best with your job
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