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Didn't Get the Grades? Make Failure Your Teacher

My father wanted me to be a doctor and hounded me all through my A levels to study more and get high grades (he was an absolute pain in the arse, I was never good enough).

Dad was ecstatic when I was given a conditional offer to study medicine at Liverpool Uni.

Back then, there was a dual system and, unbeknownst to my dad, I applied to do Law at a polytechnic college, the 'poor relation' to university. When I got BCC instead of the needed BBC in my grades, dad was angry and disappointed and assumed I was going to stay home and resit my A levels and try for med school the following year.


Instead, I presented him with my fait accompli:

I was going off to the Poly of Wales to study Law.



That different path led to my lifelong love of Wales and the Welsh, meeting fab people, who I'm still in touch with, having amazing life enhancing adventures, and having a career that gave me confidence and skills aplenty. After ten years, my choice enabled me to say "Fuck this! I've had enough of working with lawyers!" and retrain to do something completely different again.

If I'd listened to my father and not gone to poly in Wales, I wouldn't be living the life I am now, on my smallholding in Wales - a life I cherish.


Having the formative experience as a teenager of committing to my own choices and stepping into the unknown, gave me the gumption to leave the law.

As a young person, I never quite got the grades people expected from me. I was bright but, I'll be honest, I found much of what I learnt at school and poly was boring. Studying hard wasn't a priority. I got a 2:2 in my degree, frankly because I was having lots of fun and "honing my social skills".

Grades are not all that. Life is tough, things don't go as we (or our parents) want them to. Everything is learning. Many of us late bloomers do really well in education further down the line, studying for something more relevant and enriching to our lives.

Well done if you got the grades you needed to get you into a particular institution or course. Teens (AND parents): Don't despair if you didn't. There's always a different path. I don't envy a doctor's life and think I missed a bullet there. I'm so grateful I 'failed' to meet someone else's view of my 'potential' and get into med school.

Tonight, I'm having a beer to the teenager I was. You did good, girl. You did good.

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