“I graduated from the Universty of Life
and the school of hard knocks, sir”


September already huh? How time flies. I’ve picked the last of the blackberries in the garden and the apple trees are looking good. I must resist the urge to make a giant pie, though. That would undo all the good work with the diet. (Ed: Don’t think of yummy, yummy chocolate!) The latter – the diet that is, not the choccy – is going okay and the additional walking means I’m feeling a lot fitter too. I’ve lost a few pounds, but mainly I seem to have toned up in certain areas. Still, better that than no progress at all.

I also decided on a spot of shopping as I’d seen a couple of nice dresses on Dorothy Perkins’ web site. I dropped by after work and after the old shopping-basket-with-jeans-on-top-and-two-dresses-underneath trick, in I went. The first dress wasn’t me, but I loved the fit of the blue circle dress (also here). I’ve no idea what that means in style, but I know what I like! Plus, it wasn’t too expensive… hmm, where have I heard that line before? 🙂 So I bought it. It has been *ages* since I bought any new clothes. I also saw some gorge shoes, but I managed to control myself.

A little earlier in the summer holidays, I was taking Wee Man to a summer activity camp hosted by a local school. Don’t worry, I’m not cruel enough to send him to summer school! This was much more a case of fun & games plus kid care. Oh the joys of working parents eh? 🙂 Anyhoo, that particular week just happened to coincide with the exam results day; so cue a large influx of teenagers to collect said pieces of paper.

As I wandered back to the car, I noticed a number of happy smiley faces, as well as a few less than pleased expressions. I can’t really remember what happened with my GCSE results, but I do remember my A levels. Traipsing in to collect the slip of paper and the worry that if I’d really blown it, I’d be stuck in my hometown. Really, that was the only reason I’d applied to go to university – to get out. I hadn’t expected to do that well and I guess I met my expectations 🙂 The funny thing is, at what stage do your exams start to influence your future? Is it as you make your choices or when the results are out?

By odd coincidence there was a radio programme on social mobility and what some of the key differences where, between children from well-to-do, and less-well-to-do families. Now, I won’t play that card. I came from a middle class family and we didn’t really go without. Sure, we weren’t rolling in it, but Mum & Dad did their best. I think the reasons for my own academic shortcomings were down to being lazy and disinterested. “No homework tonight, class. Just revision.” Cool, I’ll catch up on my reading… and then go to the pub! 🙂 Talking of reading, that was one of the items listed in the radio programme; the effect of reading regularly to your nippers and also encouraging them to read too.

Sure, I suppose could talk about the difficulty growing up (the whole trans thing), but really, other kids went through far worse and they still did well. Really, I only did A levels because I didn’t fancy going to the local college and I think that was more the  Devil You Know than risk a new environment. Fear eh? Looking back, perhaps college  would have been a better choice. I’m more vocational than academic. Lessons learned eh? 🙂 Still, I got out of my hometown (which was a major goal of mine) and while I didn’t do well at uni, it did mean I had to get myself together: sort out a place to live, pay the bills and, later on, get a job.

Long term, things have worked out very well. I don’t say that as a smug mare, nor falsely positive, but more a case of enjoying where I am. Maybe I would have arrived at a more well paid job sooner if I’d done well, who can really say? I suppose it’s a bit like those Choose Your Own Adventure books that existed when I was a kid (Ed: …in the park… jumpers as goalposts… 😛 ) you make your choices and make the best of it. If you story is similar or very different, I’d love to hear it.

Take care,

[ Today’s lyric: England by Carter, The Unstoppable Sex Machine ]


  1. I remember collecting my A level results. I was terrified! As with you I went to 6th form and uni to get away from where I was. It was a choice between following the herd or trying to do something.

    Thankfully they came in were far better than I was expecting / needed to get onto my degree!

    My time at Uni got me into my career more than anything else. I have never had a job where the degree was more important than the experience was. But that experience started with my sandwich year (I've been in full time, or near full time, employment since I started my sandwich year).


  2. When I left school, I knew I was heading into a specific industry where experience wins over qualifications everytime.
    I did ok at school and got into college/uni but I do think that too much emphasis is placed on education and testing these days.

    Much better to focus on a trade or gaining experience through real world scenarios first I reckon!

    (edit.. Unless you want to be a heart surgeon lolz)


  3. I nearly did A levels, but instead decided to take up an apprenticeship along with the college course that went with it. Following that I then went to Uni, much better prepared than if I was fresh from school.
    I would class myself as far more practically minded than academic.

    Blue circle dress? I didn't know a certain cement company sponsored this kind of thing. ;o)

  4. Stace: Funny how your future can seem to ride on that slip of paper…. or so it seems at the time! 🙂

    Sam: Oh the joy of tests! 🙂 Or modules as they seem to do now. Learn a bit, do a test and move on. Ummm. How's that work again? 😀

    Sophie: Sounds like a good way to go. Apprenticeships seem to be back on the cards. The cynic in me says 'cheap staff' but I hope it's a lot more than that.

    Blue circle… stop it, or it'll be Blue Circle boots for you m'lady 😉

  5. Chose your own
    adventure, I used to go
    back and forth though
    the book trying to find
    out all the different story
    paths. At least in life you
    didn't turn to the page
    with the very abrupt
    Having outted myself as a
    child in the 80's, I
    collected my A
    Level results from the
    college where I spent two
    years grafting and
    memorising the key dates
    in the Russian revolution,
    shared congrats or
    commiserateion with
    others then back home to
    figure out the future.

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