Hello, and welcome to my post “What Happened to Kate”, where I plan on summarising 6 month’s worth of events into one little post, to hopefully give you some insight into where I went over the Summer and why I constantly keep explaining how I missed my first term of A Levels! Please note that this is only a summary to get you up to scratch, and there will probably be further dives into this post in the future! But for now, please sit back and enjoy the complicated explanation behind “What Happened to Kate”…
In September 2013, I began my first year at Sixth Form, studying for AS Geography, AS Business Studies, Applied Law and AS Psychology. I was 16 years old, had received great grades at GCSE in the August just passed, and was ready to start my journey into harder studies at the school that I had been going to for the past 5 years. However, my outlook on sixth form had never been a positive one. I started with a negative outlook, which developed into a pure hatred for my studies, after many knock backs which took place over the coming months.
The reason behind my negative outlook on sixth form began back in 2012, when my sister had sadly not done as well in her AS results than she had hoped to do. Seeing my sister so devastated after working so hard made me instantly begin to see flaws in sixth form education, making me believe that maybe it wasn’t the right place for me. Furthermore, in Year 9 I began to receive what I term as “Uni pressure”, from teachers and peers, after it was noted that I was a high achiever with my grades. The push for me to go to university managed to have the complete opposite effect on me than people had hoped, leaving me completely against the idea of higher education. As well as this, tuition fees rose to £9,000 per year, giving me the perfect excuse as to why I no longer wanted to go to university…
“Katy, why don’t you want to go to Uni? You would achieve so much with your grades”
“Too much debt”
Nevertheless, after recieving such good results at GCSE I decided that maybe higher education would be the right choice for me. Maybe I was better than I had originally doubted. Maybe, gaining A Levels would help me decide…
You see, that was my problem in September. I never actually knew what I wanted to do. I had a passion for music, and a passion for geography, as well as an inbuilt drive to write and communicate with wider audiences. But I could never understand, no matter how many sessions I had with career advisors or teachers, what exactly it was that I wanted to do in the future.
And if you don’t know what to do in the future, how can you decide what to do next?
I decided that the safest option for me was to return to my school’s sixth form and choose subjects which interested me. I figured that somewhere along the line, I’d learn what I wanted to do and that A Levels would leave me with the option as to whether I would go to uni or not in the following years. After all, at least I was still learning.
Being unprepared in sixth form is never a good choice. You need to be mentally prepared as well as physically, for the change that is about to happen between GCSE and AS. I thought that I was prepared, but I definitely wasnt. My negative outlooks on the situation made the first few months hell, and I found myself constantly saying “I want to leave – I want to get a job”.
Sadly, things were worse than just being upset that I was at school. With school, I could manage. It was easy to turn up at lessons and pretend I was enjoying it. After all, isn’t that what we did for the majority of GCSE? But there was more!
Problems at home due to ill-health of family members and tension in the household left me feeling extremely upset all of the time, particularly when I had to go to school and pretend that I was okay. As well as this, there began to be serious problems with me and my friendship group.
Let’s have a quick overview of what happened…My friendship group consisted of a handful of girls, where a constant clash of personalities had been evident for many years. For one reason or another, I began to let myself drift from my friends, purely because I was forever upset, and couldn’t bring myself to share how I was feeling with them. Sadly, as I got more upset and distant, I became more neglected by my friends, and found myself receiving nasty comments, messages and actions throughout my every school day.
Soon, rumours started getting spread around school, and I was getting called into offices left right and centre.
Teachers had began hearing that pupils in school were saying I was being bullied – I denied it all; however the extent of actions got worse and worse, until the point that I could no longer defend my ‘friends’. It got to the point where I realised that I had found myself afraid of the people I once thought were my “best friends for life”.
Yes, it was sad to lose my friends because of lies and rumours that my so called other “friends” started, but I guess you learn to understand more about people who should and should not be in your life, when you see how they act and who they believe when times get hard.
Things at home were rough, and I had ended up being bullied by people that aren’t bullies in nature, I assure you. They just sadly remained naive in a situation that could not handle naivety, which sadly lead to my distress.
So, bullying and general upset combined led to me looking for a way out of sixth form. I couldn’t cope with the sheer amount of work I was handling, as I began missing numerous days a week just because of how I was feeling. I was in school on average 3 out of 5 days a week, so the sheer amount of work I was under was drowning me. In February, I dropped Psychology, to try and ease the work load. It worked…
However, I was also looking for an apprenticeship! I decided I wanted to go into marketing, and began applying for Social Media & Marketing apprenticeships. I attended many interviews with many businesses, and was surprised with the number of offers I was receiving. However, this all soon became too much, as I realised I had about 4 businesses calling me at once, asking me to join them immediately. It was overwhelming!!
However, the perfect apprenticeship came up, combining my love of music as well as my passion for media, all into one! It was decided that the best thing for me was to start my apprenticeship after I had finished my exams, and so I began work at the start of June 2014.
I worked over the Summer and loved my job. The days were long as I had a fair bit of travel to do to get to work every day, and it was hard working 9-5 over the Summer when everyone else was out and about; however I really enjoyed my job and did have an awesome summer too, thanks to annual leave and extended weekends…My confidence definitely grew over my employment and I really felt happy and healthy with how things were going!
In August, results day quickly came around and I decided it would be important for me to go and collect my results, so I booked the day off and went into school myself. I was not expecting the results I received, particularly as I had not worked to the level I felt I should have done for half of the year! I received great results, and began to realise that maybe sixth form was a good place for me to be, so I could figure out what I want in the future whilst gaining the last bit of my A level qualifications – because after all, why shouldn’t I finish what is already half done?
After meetings and lots of thinking, I returned to sixth form in the second week of the September term! You would not believe the difference that people have noticed in me, and the benefits that work has given me in terms of personal development. And the most rewarding thing about my entire charade is that I now actually love sixth form. I have a great group of friends and we all support each other and have a laugh on a daily basis! And, I love all my subjects and enjoy attending lessons every single day! Things at home are great, and overall I am a completely different person than I was this time last year.
So, hopefully it all makes sense when I explain that I’m catching up a bit at sixth form… I missed the first term of Year 13 due to it starting in May, so I have been a bit behind! Nevertheless, I have proved people wrong and worked so hard that I am now at the same level as everyone in my classes… Which is fantastic!!
I hope you appreciate my honesty in this post, as I don’t tell many people about what happened last year, but I feel it’s necessary to be open about it all now, because after all – I’m grateful that everything that happened did, because I now truly believe that I am stronger, confident and a hell of a lot more mature than I ever was before!
Thank you so much for reading and for your continued support!