Read four inspirational stories from the #NoStressSuccess campaign…
“For me, the best part about school was leaving!”
Charlie, aged: 18
Studying: Level 3 Fashion and Textiles at The MET
Went to: Worthing High School
Qualifications obtained at school: 5 GCSEs
“For me, GCSEs were really stressful. Sometimes I got sent to a different room because of my anxiety. For me, the best part about school was leaving!
My teacher said I wouldn’t get in to this course but I came to the college and they saw how much I wanted it and they said come. I didn’t get all the GCSEs I needed for this course and I’m still exactly where I want to be. And you can always retake the exams you don’t get.
Everyone is so lovely here, everyone’s doing their own thing, everyone’s different and they all want to be here. I’ve got so many opportunities from being here and I’m so grateful for that.
My advice would be that there’s no rush to decide what you want to be in life. You don’t need to know. I know loads of people much older than me who are still changing their minds.”
“When I found out I didn’t pass all my GCSEs I was a bit nervous. I didn’t get English.”
Sam, aged 17
Studying: Aircraft Maintenance at The MET
Went to: Tanbridge House School, Horsham
Qualifications obtained at school: 6 GCSEs
“If you don’t get all your GCSEs you have nothing to worry about. I came to college missing one of the GCSEs I needed, others came missing a few more pieces, if not most of them, and others arrived with stellar grades that far exceeded mine.
It mainly comes down to showing you are willing and enthusiastic. Grades are just numbers really. If you believe in what you want to do, honestly there shouldn’t be anything that can stop you.
When I found out I didn’t pass all my GCSEs I must admit I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t get English, but the college was really understanding and explored options with me.”
“GCSEs don’t affect your life as much as you think they are going to”
Elsa, aged 19
Studying: Foundation Level Illustration at The MET
Went to: Dorothy Stringer Secondary School and Varndean Sixth Form College, Brighton
Qualifications obtained at school: 10 GCSEs and 3 A-Levels
“The process of revising for my GCSEs was tough. There was so much pressure. I found lots of snacks helped! And, when I had a break, going outside – just as a contrast from sitting in a dark room. In between revising it also helped me to spend time with other people – friends and family – because revising is such an internalised process.
What I realise now, looking back, is that GCSEs don’t affect your life as much as you think they are going to at the time. What I mean is, they don’t necessarily affect your chances of doing what you want to do. And, as far as deciding what you’re going to do after your GCSEs, I would definitely focus on what motivates you, not what your friends are doing. If they are your friends then they will always be your friends and, if you go somewhere different to them, you will always make new friends.
Being at the MET has really broadened my horizons. I can do what I enjoy doing all day every day and I’ve never had so much freedom. I do want to go to University but I’m going to have a year out first and do some travelling. And I don’t know what I want to do at the end of studying. There’s still plenty of time to work that out.”
“Don’t get stuck in something for the next two or three years that you really don’t enjoy”
Ryan Gravenor, aged 17
Studying: Music Production at The MET
Went to: Steyning Grammar School
Qualifications obtained at school: 9 GCSEs
“What I found really difficult when I was revising for my GCSEs was how to manage my time as I left it too late to start. Sometimes I felt like the world was against me. By the time Easter was over, everyone was stressing out.
But being at college is all-round less stressful than being at school. I don’t feel pressure not to make a mistake. They say make mistakes and learn from them and move on.
People’s attitude to a course like mine are generally negative but that’s because they don’t really understand what it involves or where it can lead to.
If you’re a friend or a parent of someone who is choosing to do something slightly different than most people at college, the last thing that person wants to hear is ‘you’re not going to be able to make a living out of it’ or ‘it’s not worth doing’. Demoralising them and making them do something else isn’t going to make them do any better.
The main thing for me, as cheesy as it sounds, is follow exactly what you want to do, because there’s no point being stuck in something for the next two or three years that you really don’t enjoy. Don’t spend the next two years doing A-Levels if you’re not going to enjoy it. You might as well spend the next two years doing something you enjoy and you’ll get something out of.”