Good Afternoon Munchkins!
Today (despite the existential crisis this will inevitably cause) I would like to have a nice, relaxed chat with you about Post 16 and my Career Choices. My heart rate has already increased to a death-defying amount! In case you are unsure what an existential crisis is or why I’m having an internal breakdown, it’s basically where you believe everything you do is insignificant and I’m freaking out because (even though I’m only 15 and I realise how ridiculous this sounds) my life seems to be flashing before my eyes. It sounds dramatic but it genuinely causes hyperventilation and 2am wake up calls. Please let me know if you’re the same! I just want to enlighten and possibly help those of you who are perhaps going through the same thing or are about to embark on this ‘adventure’.
Firstly, I’m just going to outline my college course choices and why and what I hope to eventually get into (if I don’t fall into the pit of despair before then). As a little bit of background, I’m currently in year 11 and as I’ve been blessed with living in the UK (Brexit was not my idea!), I legally have to stay in education until I’m 18. This doesn’t really bother me because it always seemed like I would go onto college anyway but now I’m just counting down the days until I’m free of Michael Gove’s control. So I’ve applied to two colleges and it will probably stay that way (always give yourself options – you can decide later on which one you actually go for but for now, just breathe and think a lot about each different option), one for a BTEC course and one for A Levels. The difference between a BTEC and A Levels is that BTEC is much more practical based (which I would need for the career I would like to go into) and A Levels are much more academic and you have to take exams at the end of the 2/3 years. BTEC’s are equivalent to 3 A Levels though so it is mainly based on how you learn best and how you think it will benefit the career/job you want to pursue in. I decided just to give myself that option so that when I go for my interviews (which I haven’t yet but by the force of magic alone my encounters will appear later on in this blog post!), I can learn about the two different opportunities I have in the area/s I want to study and decide which area I want to focus much more in. As well as being a lot more practical, BTEC’s are very subject specific as they tend to be full-time and teach you in only one area whereas you can choose 3 or 4 A Levels (depending on the college and your mental well-being) which will obviously widen your choices slightly.
So the BTEC I’ve chosen is called something along the lines of Multimedia Journalism within the Creative Media aspect of the college. There is also a Film and TV course which I was originally thinking of taking but I then decided I’m much more comfortable with a computer as oppose to a camera. This course is 2 years long, only involves coursework (or so they’ve told me) and teaches things like newspapers, magazines and advertising. Without getting too far into this subject, my granddad used to work in advertising and was super successful in it and I guess I’m inspired by him or have simply inherited the amazing creativity he had and used all throughout his career. Unlike him though, I would much prefer going into print advertising and, in particular, bringing comedy to that. Recently, I’ve realised it’s mainly moving adverts you see on TV that involve some form of comical aspect (like the new John Lewis advert, as an example) but I can’t tell you one print advert that does this. I’m not trying to say that I’m some sort of comedy genius but it will make it more noticeable and hence gain more consumers. And if all that fails, I would love to try copy-writing!
In another college, I would like to try A Levels. At the beginning of the year, I was very anti-A Level and said that after my GCSE’s I wanted to be completely done with exams. I then went to this college and met this *very* enthusiastic Law tutor who convinced me that ‘A Levels are great’ and ‘A Levels are life’ and ‘A Levels are the pathway to life’. Basically, I contradicted myself and applied for 6 A Levels. I am only planning on actually completing 3 (the idea of 6 makes me want to jump off the white cliffs of Dover) but on the form they asked me to write 6, so I did. The three I really want to take is Media Studies, Film Studies and Sociology but I also wrote down Psychology, History and English Language & Literature. I’m going to go dig my own grave. I was told A Levels ‘looks’ better on a CV but I was also told this is great for university’s and much more difficult for employer’s. I am a lot more lenient towards the BTEC but there’s that fear that in about 8 months time I’ll change my mind again and want to become a marine biologist and be stuck writing the college newspaper. Fun times! This would help with the academic and theory side of things but I struggle a lot with memory and my GCSE’s are not going to be fun whatsoever.
I also have to consider things like travel and with the college that I want to take a BTEC at, I can get single parent funding for bus passes and it’s a one-way bus because it’s away from everything else in the surrounding area. This way, I shouldn’t get lost! However, with the A Level college, I would have to get an actual public bus and risk human interaction and getting lost. Yay. One of the other things that attracted me to the A Level college was the structure of the day as well, even though I know you shouldn’t judge a college just on that.
I’m now going to just tell you about one of the college interviews just so you know what to expect or what it’s like and so not to worry about. Because it’s fine, it’s just someone talking to you about the rest of your life whilst you’re only 15 – no biggie!
At first, I wasn’t nervous at all. The night before and just before I left for it I made sure I had everything I needed (which, for this particular college, was just the letter and the papers enclosed so there wasn’t too much to forget!) so I was fully prepared despite them previously saying it was a ‘casual chat’. That still doesn’t put the nerves at bay! We were very nearly late due to the rush hour traffic (though it was understandable) but it just meant we only had time to grab a cup of tea and go up. Myself, Dad, another boy and his parent were called up at the same time and we were led to a room upstairs where a few teachers/tutors sat. I was led to the woman who would be interviewing me and immediately relaxed. Luckily, it was someone who I could get along with and actually enjoy talking to! I think college experiences (as well as many others in life) are determined a lot by the people that surround you on the way and I was so happy she was able to ease my anxieties a bit, particularly as it was my first time ever being there. Dad didn’t really say much so I managed to complete the interview independently though he was still a second set of ears to report back to Mum (which I usually need!). She helped talk me through the A Level options I’d applied for and swapped some around so now my top 3 are Media Studies, English Literature and Language and Photography. Although it was a very impulsive decision (and I don’t do impulsive under any circumstances), I felt really comforted with what she said and made me feel as if it was the right choice for me. It will also link into print advertising perfectly. We also spoke about other opportunities I would be entitled to at the college and things like career pathways and universities. I’m sure this was planned but she was a film-making teacher so she knew exactly what she was talking about whereas everyone else I’ve spoken to about it gave the same generic responses each time (which is helpful the first time round, but by the 4th I might as well be researching it myself!). And then, finally, I was offered a place! It was only a half hour long meeting and it was nothing to worry about whatsoever! I’d had a pretty hectic day so I only had time to worry about it just before it happened and it was absolutely fine! I actually enjoyed speaking to someone who knew exactly what I wanted! My next one’s on January 4th so I’m hoping it’s going to be the exact same and it will put me in a better option to choose which one I will eventually go for.
See what I mean? It was absolutely fine! There is nothing to worry about! Remember, it’s not like a job interview; they want you more than you potentially want them! Don’t stress, be yourself and be honest with them even if it lessens your opportunities! Honesty is always the best policy (literally something I live by!).
And there we have it! I hope you have enjoyed this blog post and it has been helpful to you in some way! I love writing these more relaxed, chit-chat blog posts for me to look back on but also just to tell you that we’re all in the same boat at some point in our lives. I just can’t believe this blog is now tracking my college experiences. I started this when I was 12, what is actually happening! Let me know what your current college situation is and just tell me it gets better!
Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you tomorrow,