It’s results day! All that waiting is finally over.. to comfort those that didn’t get the results they needed, I’m sharing my story of university clearing and the doors it opened for me. Remember your route into university is not as important as the experience you’ll have once you’re there and where you’ll go years from then!
Having done really well in my GCSE exams, both my parents and I had high hopes for my A-Level results.
I revised night after night and had my head set on studying Mechanical Engineering at university. When opening my results envelope, I somehow knew it wasn’t going to be what I needed. In classes I was great at science and maths but for some reason I really struggled during the actual exams. There were so many of them, the questions weren’t like the ones we had practised and the pressure of it all really affected my performance on the day.
I needed ABB to get onto the course that I’d spent so long picking out. My CCC just wasn’t going to cut it. I had some tough decisions to make and questions spiralled around my head. Should I retake a year and go for the grades I knew I was capable of achieving? Could I change direction and pick subjects that weren’t so academic? Or would it be wise to continue onto university knowing that my grades wouldn’t be up to scratch even though my knowledge was?
I decided to go with the latter and thankfully got onto a Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering course through clearing at City University, London. In order for me to upgrade to a Bachelor of Engineering degree, I would have to take on additional modules in the second year and show my true potential and improved results to progress.
On the course I noticed students came from varying backgrounds, not all had studied in the UK and those that had didn’t necessarily even do A-Levels. Some had done a foundation year, others had BTECs and Diplomas. The great thing was that the first year of university was all about bringing everyone to the same level of knowledge. In my second year I worked hard and formed good working relationship with the students and the academic staff to ensure I was on the path for a the Bachelor of Engineering and I felt really proud when my hard work paid off.
I focused all my effort and energy into passing my final year with flying colours. I was a student ambassador, the only female on my course and by the end of it I received a first class degree with honours in Mechanical Engineering a BEng (Hons)! My A-Level results seemed a distant memory, I now had a first class degree to list on my CV!
Once I graduated, I continued to push myself and shared my passion for energy and engineering with almost everyone I met. I made a name for myself in the energy industry and volunteered much of my time encouraging more young people (particularly females) to consider Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM) as a potential career choice. In 2016, much to my surprise, I was awarded a Royal Honours from HRH Prince Charles for my contribution to the energy industry and that’s how I turned my
A-Level results CCC into a Royal Honours MBE!
The one thing I’ve learnt is that A-Level’s aren’t the be all and end all of your education. It’s what you do after your results that matters.
Here’s my top tips for those out there who may not have got the results they needed:
- Work on exam techniques, because unfortunately exams will not go away!
- Apprenticeships are a great alternative to university. Hands on experience in industry can open just as many doors as a university degree.
- Exam results do not define who you are and what you have to offer the world.
- Opportunities exist in everything you do; I turned a checkout job in my local supermarket into a career in energy management. Be brave enough to create the opportunities and ask the questions.
- Use the summer to learn skills and get experience in your subject area; relevant experience can speak volumes.
- After a while nobody will ask about your A-level results, they will be more interested in what work experience you have, what your social and team working skills are like and how well you suit their business.
- You can get a degree at any point in your life. Get some work experience; figure out what it is you really want to be a specialist in and then go on to do a degree. (Better still get your employer to sponsor it!)
Lastly I would say don’t take my word for it, go out there and do your own research.
Engineer your career, just like I engineered mine.
To find out a little more about my story click here
Jaz Rabadia MBE