Almost exactly a year ago I was only a few weeks away from starting college, and believe me, I’ve never been more scared. It sounds easy, but trust me, all of you starting in September have got more courage than anyone is giving you credit for. As if deciding the career you want to pursue for the next 50 years of your life isn’t scary enough, college is so much more than simply making those tough decisions.
Uprooting your whole life away from the safety of school is pretty terrifying for a 16 year old. Up until then most people have been in a school type environment their whole lives, and often if they stay living in one area, a child can spend 10-11 years with the same friends as they move from nursery, to primary school, to secondary school. Choosing to go to college after all that is a whole new ball game! Not that I’m trying to scare you newbies. Believe me, it’s the best decision I ever made.
It wasn’t until around four months before I left school that I decided to go to UCB. For the entirety of school and year 11 I planned to stay on at my school’s sixth form. I have always been academic and planned to study subjects like Law, Economics and Government Policy – though I always had the long-term career goal of becoming a chef. Then, around four months before leaving school they cancelled two of the classes I wanted to take at A-level due to lack of interest. This threw me into panic, as I couldn’t see the merit in staying at school and doing other subjects I was less suited to and less passionate about.
Luckily, the day all of this happened I spotted an advert for a UCB open day while I was on my phone. I signed up immediately, and dragged my mum along with me to look around the very next day. The college greatly exceeded my expectations, and when I saw the pastry section my decision was made. As they say, the rest is history!
If I could turn back time there’s no way I’d change my decision. Over the last year, I’ve learned invaluable skills that will enable me to build a thriving career much sooner than I ever expected. I’ve come into my own and my self-confidence has skyrocketed. And, most importantly, I’ve created some lasting friendships and some incredible memories.
So, I know it’s scary (believe me on my induction day I was so nervous I got the worst stomach pain of my life – I literally made myself sick with nerves), but from that first day, when I didn’t know where I was going or who anyone was, I now pass countless friendly faces in the halls.
As you can see, my decision to study at UCB was a positive one (my extreme excitement being apparent while I make that mash potato!). Yes, I’ve described a lot of nerves and anxiety, but no one can ever reap rewards from being cautious. So, if you’re thinking of leaving school, I urge you to come to an open day at UCB or look at a prospectus. The worst thing you can do is stick to what you know because it’s in your comfort zone. Try something new!