Real Talk

As I return to the world of blogging, with internet finally in my new house after a loooong six weeks, I was tempted to do something easy and silly, maybe a filler post that was just a lazy way of meeting my “post on your blog soon” target.

Instead, we’re gonna get a bit real. Strap in, kids.

I’m writing this after having a very unexpectedly in depth conversation with my dad where instead of only talking about the usual of TV, how much I miss the dogs now I’ve moved out, and how his golf swing is improving, we talked about me. I take after my father in many ways, one of which being I’m not much of a sharer of feelings so when conversations like this happen, which is not often, I cry. A lot. Especially when it turns out that my parents feel they regret some decisions they made when it comes to my education which then impacted the turn my life has taken.

The simple fact is parenting is hard. Children and teenagers are for the most part too young to make their own decisions and they also are biologically built to disagree with what a parent decides for them. With the benefit of hindsight and a lot of growing up, I can categorically say that my parents made the very best decisions where my education was concerned and it’s only when I came to make my own decision on it that I actually went the wrong way.

After my GCSEs, I wanted out of private school and the cliques and the regimented learning but I know now I wasn’t ready for self learning at a state funded sixth form. When I compare my grades from GCSE to A-level, and what my capabilities clearly were, I didn’t do well. I scraped by and ended up making a misinformed decision about what university degree to do, which in turn led to me performing poorly at it for two years.

The level of teaching I received in my lessons at college was great, I couldn’t actually fault it, but the reality is that there were too many students per teacher, and with the best will in the world, that’s just too many faces to be able to care enough about an individual. To this day, I still don’t know what other possibilities there were for degree subjects and at the time I didn’t get enough guidance to make a well-informed decision. I could have been an archaeologist by now, who knows?

Instead, I just picked two subjects from my A-levels with the highest grades and decided to take them to university level.

After failing the second year of my degree, I was faced with a choice: start the university application process all over again and do another three or four years of studying whilst being two years older than all my peers, or retake that second year and buck the fuck up.

I bucked.

And now I have an English degree and £26k of student debt. I took the first job I was offered just so that I wouldn’t have to work a part time contract on full time hours in retail anymore, and three years later I’m still doing that ‘place-holder’ job because I didn’t find any career advice early enough. That’s not me trying to apportion any blame on my teachers at the time, either – I didn’t seek out any advice. Here is where, as an adult now, I can recognise that my biggest flaw as an eighteen year old was not asking for help.

It’s okay to ask for help.

It really is, in any context. Not sure about something at work? Ask! Someone would rather help you do it right than fix a mistake later on. Life not heading in the direction you thought? Ask! There is bound to be someone else either with the same worries or at least some very comforting words of advice to pass on.

Hey, ask me if you want – like I said, I’m not a voluntary feeling-sharer but there’s a good chance there’s something going on inside my head that’ll mirror what’s going on in yours.

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Yes, I know I’ve used this one in a post before but it’s just so real. Let me laugh so that I don’t cry.

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