An Educational History

or ‘How I Got Here’

I sat the 11+ exams to go to senior school aged.. 11. I got into one co-ed school, and was wait-listed for a very academic all-girls school. After a week I got a place there too and had to make a decision. I chose the latter, as I knew I needed good grades to go to medical school. Both my elder sisters had been there. It felt strange to have been waiting listed- perhaps I wasn’t up to scratch.

I went, for the full 7 years. It was fine. I had trouble keeping ‘best’ friends for more than a year- I think the relationships were too intense to continue perhaps. I wasn’t good at sitting in my seat, keeping quiet or revising for tests but I managed. Clowning around the mid to low range of each class; apart from Biology where my passion lay. We were frequently told ‘you are the most intelligent girls in England’ but it didn’t feel like it to me. When I was 15 or 16 I started wondering about the idea of nursing- thinking perhaps it suited me better than being a doctor, and what I wanted from a career. However, I was dissuaded from every side. ‘You’re too intelligent!’ ‘You’re too stubborn to take orders’ ‘You wouldn’t like it’ ‘No one from this school does nursing. You will be a doctor’. I put it to one side- and continued on my path to medicine instead. This was easier, more prestigious and was accepted by everyone I told. I wanted to do paediatrics but knew I had a least a 7 year wait once I’d started before I could do actually do it. I scraped the relevant A grades at AS. I got a place at University of Liverpool to do Medicine. But, when my A level results came around in August of 2011, I was 5 marks away from the A that I needed in History. Why the university couldn’t see past this is a mystery but I’m very glad now, as you’ll see. I had always said that if I didn’t get the grades I would do nursing instead but when it came to that actually happening- it wasn’t allowed or even mentioned. I was very unhappy that summer, distracted, and didn’t have the emotional strength to bring it up. I was enrolled to repeat my lowest paper- on Norman History. I did the exam in January 2012- and moved from 62 to 94%. I applied to a further 4 medical schools that might accept me, and 1 child nursing course.

My repeat exam course only took up 2 hours each week, so I had plenty of time to do some of the more serious volunteering I hadn’t been able to pursue whilst stuck in school 8.30 to 4pm each day. I went to a palliative care centre where I saw first hand the difference in attitude and happiness between doctors and nurses over an extended period of time. This got me thinking. I worked with children in various capacities- homework clubs, after school. I worked in centres for the homeless and asylum seekers. I visited hospitals and saw open heart surgery. I met nurses who had the grades to be doctors but chose to nurse instead. I read many books, on finding your passion and doing what is right for you. This all got me thinking.

I also had met Boyfriend in September 2011, and his plan to always follow his dreams inspired me to think about what I really wanted- away from the rigorous academic and close-minded environment of school. Independent thinking. I finally piped up in December to him ‘I think, in some ways, that I would rather be a nurse’ and he replied with ‘Yes! I didn’t want to say but I’ve thought that for a while! And my parents think so too!’. It was a revelation. I pinned all my hopes on that 1 nursing place, and was fairly chilled when the medicine rejections inevitably rolled in. When the nursing school rejected me in February 2012, as my application had been purely medicine-focused, I was devastated. In fact, the upset that it caused made me realise that I had to do this. Even if a medical school accepted me- I wasn’t going to go. I only wanted to be a child nurse. But I had to apply, via Clearing, quickly. So I had to cancel that pesky last medical school who were keeping me in suspense- to apply for further nursing places. This upset my parents- though it probably would have been a no from the medical school anyway. I applied to probably 3 or 4, one by one but each said no. No places left. It began to get to the point of ‘these are not places I would ever have applied for by choice- should I really keep trying?’ I stopped trying, and made plans to apply afresh to better Universities in October 2012.

As this was happening, our relationship was strengthening. We realised that instead of just daydreaming about it, we actually could live together. By this point, May or so, I was finished with living at home, with my parents. Done. No more. We made plans for me to get a nannying job (bliss!) and looked for a flat. I told my parents. They were unhappy. I was happy. We were happy.

The rest of this story you know. My job was great but hard at times. Our flat was the sweetest. I got 5 interviews, went to 3 of them- got  3 offers. It all felt so right. In my element. I chose one, and we found a flat nearer to it- where we live now.

I have 4 days before freshers week, and 11 before my course begins. I can’t wait!


Relevant Posts

1. My Work 

2. Strings and Bows

3. My Work (2!)

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