Welcome back to my blog. We are now on week four of my brand new series why school or college is not for everyone! Today this series is all about Rachel’s. Before we get into the story I just want to thank everyone who has helped me make this series work by sending me their stories!
I am truly grateful and honoured that they would share their story with me. I am excited to see how far this blog series goes.
Lets meet Rachel.
I’m Rachel Downing, I’m usually a motherhood, beauty and lifestyle vlogger over at http://www.racheldowning.co.uk
I’m posting for the lovely Anne, who asked for a post about my education journey. I’d like to thank Anne for letting me share my story with you!
When it comes to education I’ve always felt a bit pressured in to conforming to what was expected of me, rather than making up my own mind.
At the beginning of our last year of Secondary school I remember our headteacher calling us to an assembly where we were lectured about which education path we should take. We were told that our best option was to complete our A Levels or Btec awards and move on to University. The next option was apprentices/internships where you earn whilst you learn a new vocation. Then the last option on the board was ‘Straight in to a job’ which the headmaster pointed to with his laser pointer and with a stern look declared it ‘DANGEROUS TERRITORY’. This just about frightened the life out all of us. Looking back, it’s quite comical. My Dad declared this entire discussion ludicrous. “HOW CAN A STUDENT OF FIFTEEN DECIDE ON THEIR ENTIRE CAREER PATH???”.
Like most sixteen year olds, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
I went to college like the rest of my friends, because that’s what the crowd did. Excited to be finally studying subjects I loved I picked Media Studies, Film Studies, Psychology and English Language. I dropped out of English Language in the first 6 weeks – 4 subjects at A Level was too much. Psychology was extremely interesting, but there was a lot to learn. Film & Media were my favourites.
During college, I also took on a part-time weekend job to help my Dad with bills, and also give me some money so I could go out with friends. It was around this time I started skipping college lessons to work instead. I spent a lot of my time exhausted and falling behind on school work. I eventually considered quitting but I kept going, because it was expected of me.
I loved my job.
I became known to management as somebody who’d happily cover shifts. And eventually I was called in to the manager’s office. To me, this could only mean one thing. They wanted me to slow it down now that my exams were approaching. That’s not how the conversation went. They asked me to step forward for their aspire to management program. I was shocked. They thought I could work for them full time and start learning how to run my own department. After much thought, I turned it down. The words of my ex-headmasters words in my mind still frightened me – He’d said it was ‘dangerous’ to not get an education before working full time.
I applied for five universities and got in to four.
I chose my favourite two, and It was confirmed! I was going to university! Results day soon rolled around, and my places were confirmed. I went shopping at began to buy things for my student accommodation, I considered a new laptop to study on, and I bought so much stationary!
Two weeks before it was time to start, I decided to decline my offers… I just didn’t feel ready to move away from home. My Mother had passed away a few years previously – And I was helping my Dad out financially and with tasks in the home. It just didn’t feel right to leave. I felt instantly relieved when I turned down my university places.
I went to work with a spring in my step and told them I wanted to progress and take the opportunities they offered me.
I took the course, and I did progress! I learnt so many more transferable skills such as ordering stock, improving my maths skills ten-fold and learning merchandising. Also, I had so many skills that were now desired by employers.
In 2014 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was now on maternity leave, and I had nine months off work. I’m the sort of person who always likes to be occupied. So, I decided to enrol in an Open University course. I’d been watching the crime channel religiously in my time off, so I decided on a Forensic Psychology degree. I completed two years with good marks! However, in 2017, I welcomed my second baby and I questioned myself… Was I interested in getting a job in Forensics? No. I was doing this to occupy myself. Degree’s in England are expensive. I was literally paying thousands to occupy my mind. Although I was interested, this wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to be a Mum and throw my time in to be a good Mum!
I quit the Open University in October 2017, and although my degree is waiting for me to pick up again if I chose to. I think I’ve finally decided that education isn’t for me, and that’s ok! Education can be such a rigid structured thing. It’s what’s expected but is isn’t where I thrive.
Now I’m a full time Mum to Harry and Holly.
I blog and vlog. That’s what keeps my mind occupied. I hope to teach my children that, happiness is more important than grades written on a piece of paper! Grades do not dictate your life. You can still be a successful and chose your own education path.
Wow such a powerful story! Thank you Rachel for guest posting! Did you enjoy Rachel’s post? Then check out more of her writing HERE!
Have you been enjoying my series? If yes you can check out my first three posts HERE!