Read four inspirational stories from the #NoStressSuccess campaign…
“I told myself to treat it like it was important but not like it was going to kill me”
Rosie, aged 17
Studying: Level 3 Film at The MET
Went to: Oathall Community College, Haywards Heath
Qualifications obtained at school: 9 GCSEs
“I found the build-up to GCSEs the most stressful. What worked for me was that I trained my brain to treat each exam like a mock rather than the real thing – so that I didn’t stress out too much. I told myself to treat it like it was important but not like it was going to kill me. And, although results day was really scary, it was also really positive because everyone came together and supported each other.
I picked GCSEs I enjoyed but I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. There is too much choice. I went to lots of open days and the MET just felt like the right environment for me. I was tired of secondary school and I wanted to go somewhere that felt different.
I’m so glad that I picked the college that was right for me, not the one where all my friends were going. College is so different to school and it works for me brilliantly because I have lots of independence but also support and advice when I need it. My friends from school are still my friends and I see them loads, plus I’ve made new friends at college.”
“Years 10 and 11 were really hard for me. But now I’m doing great”
Joseph, aged 16
Studying: Carpentry and Joinery at The MET
Went to: St Andrew’s Church of England School, Worthing
Qualifications obtained at school: none
“Years 10 and 11 were really hard for me because I was really unwell with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I didn’t get any GCSEs. But now I’m doing great.
The move from school to college wasn’t stressful at all because The MET really were supportive and they treat you much more like adults than they do at school. And I’m really enjoying carpentry. I’m not sure if it’s what I want to do as a job but I’m testing the water and that feels ok. I’m also resitting my Maths and English GCSEs and studying for them feels so different to how it did at school – much calmer and less pressure.
I know it is easy to say now but my advice would be you don’t need to stress out. There’s no point in stressing because there are so many options out there no matter what GCSEs you get.”
“Don’t over stress, it’s just so unnecessary and really bad for your mental health”
Charlotte, age: 17
Studying: Motorsport Engineering at The MET
Went to: Downlands Community School in Hassocks
Qualifications obtained at school: 7 GCSEs
“GCSEs were very stressful and they don’t need to be. People make it so much more of a deal than it ever actually is. When you look at your CV when you’re older, employers don’t really care what you got in Art if you’re going off to do something completely different.
Don’t over stress it because it’s just so unnecessary and really bad for your mental health.
Success after secondary school is being happy and doing what you love – I know I do. Even being the only girl on my course I still fit in. I get along with all the boys and it’s great having competitions with them to see who can do things better!
When you come to college you relax. The teachers are phenomenal, not just as teachers but as friends as well – they’re always there for emotional support and to have a laugh.
I have no idea where I’ll be in 20 or 30 years’ time yet. Being on a course like this means I’ve got so many options to choose from. I could go to uni or do an apprenticeship or even go travelling with a race team. It’s really door-opening and means you can chop and change your mind and do whatever you want.”
“I was pretty sad that I’d failed. But I told myself there must be a different option.”
Mohammed, age: 17
Studying: Business BTEC at The MET
Went to: Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, Brighton
Qualifications obtained at school: none
“I failed all my GCSEs at school. I was hanging out with my friends too much and, let’s just say, I wasn’t exactly that motivated to study. On results day I knew it wasn’t going to be great but I was pretty sad that I’d failed everything. But I told myself there must be a different option. And there was.
I got onto a Travel and Tourism course, which is something I thought I’d enjoy but after a year I decided to swap to BTEC Business. The great thing about college is that if you’re not that into the course you are doing, they let you swap. I’ve also resat my maths GCSE twice. So, that’s three times in total. I could have given up the first or second time but I didn’t and I got it on my third try.
I’m going to leave college with my Maths and English GCSEs and Level 3 Business which is equivalent to three A-levels, and hopefully go to uni. So, to anyone who’s doing their GCSEs right now I’d say honestly don’t stress about it. Whatever happens there’s always another option.”