Its that time in Hollies life that she gets to choose what it is she wants to do with the rest of her life, the make or break moments of GCSE’s the part of your teenage years that pretty much make you feel sick for 2 years. The grueling slog of course work and then a lovely exam to finish it off, although without a doubt it is one of the first biggest decisions you have to make and the pressure that still comes attached to it is still so huge and still so scary. It somehow makes me feel as uneasy as it did 20 something years ago when I was sat with a piece of paper wondering what the hell it all meant and where I was heading.
Hollie has been talking about her GCSE options since she first went into year 7, she’s always been very driven and she hates failure which sometimes makes her put a lot of pressure on herself. It doesn’t help that she can be a very temperamental student, she has extreme highs with the lows and needs a very flexible teacher with clear boundaries and above all humour. We’ve been very lucky with her teachers, in the fact that they have made a real effort to get to know Hollie, I think they know she’s capable of great things and they have never written her off even when her behaviour has been testing. Instead they have worked closely with me and formed a good home school relationship we are now seeing the benefits of as we approach these all important decisions.
We all know what Hollies good at (other that using her mouth) and that’s the arts, Drama, Art, Music and Dance and to be quite honest I’m pretty pleased she is after the amount of effort and money I put into those hobbies growing up. So for her she naturally swayed to taking some of those as part of her options. I also think taking something your good at helps take the pressure of the core GCSE’s that she will need help with like math’s, definitely not Hollies strongest subject. Obviously she could not take all of the above, so we whittled that down to her favourites and what she’s best at, she got it down to Drama and Art. Which as her parent I have to say she excels at both without having too much of a stress over them. The other factors that we discussed were which teachers she would have and whether she gets on with them, she has a wonderful relationship with her head of house who also teaches her Geography so that made that decision pretty easy, same goes for her last choice of RE who happens to be Hollies favourite teacher and the deputy head, she knows how to control Hollie and exactly how to get the best from her…. for me perfect choices for all the right reasons.
We started to chat about what she would maybe like to do as a career quite a while ago, she came out with a few career choices that quite frankly made me spit out my tea, this was the beginning of me giving her some guidance and pointing her in more of a Hollie direction. It always baffles me how you are supposed to know what you want to do with the rest of your life at 14, I mean personally I didn’t know what side of the bed to roll out of in the mornings never mind think 10 years ahead of myself, I will also add here I’m one of those people who still in my mid 30s has no bloody idea what I want to do. That’s why I think its important she gives herself balance in her options, as well as guidance, and by guidance I mean helping her decided where I think she will enjoy spending her adult life based on her personality, which is ridiculously outgoing and her people skills are something else. I’ve also taken into consideration her passions and her love for music, the fact she likes to be on the go and I’ve given her some direction, some job roles and some realistic ideas. Of course its up to her if she takes it, I feel it just my way of giving her some inspiration and to let her know I’m on her side.
I’ve always been a big believer that even if you fail you should try again, even if it’s trying something else, that it’s never too late to find a goal and to make yourself happy. I hate the thought of young people giving up just because they didn’t get what they were hoping for in their exams. They shouldn’t be settling for second best at 16 even 18, they should have drive to achieve their goals, to achieve great things and I think this comes with help from us adults. I’m not saying you should be making decisions for them or even telling them what to do, because that in my eyes is going down a whole new route of problems, but you do need to let them know whatever they choose you will be right there beside them, to support them and that it’s ok to be unsure of what you want to do with the rest of your life but most of all inspire them and to encourage them to go for it.
Hollie has now picked her options which she’s happy with and part of her new timetable starts today, hopefully she will no longer be late in the mornings now she’s actually doing lessons she loves, or, maybe I’m just falling for her chat as per normal. I’m happy that the teachers know how to get the best from her and that whatever happens she knows we are here for her no matter what the outcome, but I know Hollie, I know she will give it her best and that is all we ever ask. Go for it Hols, show the world what your made of and we are right there beside you. I know you will do great things.