the television news this morning is full of young people gathered in school and college halls awaiting the results of their A levels. Shiny anxious faces some with huge smiles, others more subdued talk to the camera in the annual intrusion by the media. What a difficult time to be a student. So many choices, and yet maybe not any choices at all especially if grades are not what was hoped.
I would say to all these young people, don’t panic. Whatever grades you received today, whatever choices you make, will not define you forever. At eighteen the world is an enormous place, and for some young people it is all just too daunting. We are living in a age where university seems to be the ‘done’ thing. Where our young people spend time, being young in another town or city, cushioned, if they are lucky, by the bank of Mum and Dad. They will spend three years making friends for life and with luck gain a qualification enabling them to move into the workforce.
University isn’t for everyone, lots of young people are tired of education by the time they finish their A levels. Thirteen years of classrooms, timetables, studying and sitting still for some now is the time to kick back the heels and do something, anything else.
The question I would ask all young people, well everyone really, is what exactly is it that you want to do? If the answer is ‘to be a doctor, a lawyer or and engineer’ then yes education is the place to head to. What about the people who say they want to be poets, or writers, artists and designers? What about the people who want time to think?
Thinking is the most important skill of all. To be able to be quiet, in your own company and allow your brain to work, to ruminate on things that interest you and to form your own thoughts, is a vital skill. I think it should be on the timetables. We need to have time to think and to process our own needs and desires. Thinking is the key to everything. Those who can think can do. Those who understand the value of thought understand the value of action. Being thoughtful is a wonderful place to be.
So to all those who are at a crossroads I would say, perhaps don’t take the obvious route. Spend a bit of time thinking about what your needs are and what you actually want to do and be. This way you will grow strong, you will be able to be the person you already know you are and the world will respect you for it