Dear Education System,

Although my time in your capable and what once felt like trustworthy hands has come to an end, I felt a letter was the only way I could allow my frustrations to pour out. I never truly loved you, I scraped past my GCSE’s, battled through my A Level and shed a lot of tears during my degree but I powered through and came out with a first. So hey ho, go me. You served me well right? Alas let me get this across, if somebody would have sat me down towards the end of high school and gone through all the options out there for young people my mind set could have been different and maybe I’d be less bitter. But apparently the only path to your success is a degree and once you have this magical piece of paper stating ‘Chelsey Lamb, First Class with Honours BSc’ you are guaranteed your dream job even with a CV full of experience. So tell me education why hasn’t this panned out? Maybe it’s because not every dream job needs a £27,000 worthy piece of paper or some young people aren’t destined to take the University path of life… or maybe just maybe a degree isn’t needed.

Whilst I am left bitter and angry at the world but also myself for not realising this sooner I must say it’s opened my mind to what’s out there. I am my own path to success, I determine exactly where I want to go and which route I should take. Surely this should be enforced? Making children feel pressured into thinking they should do this, this and this straight away only makes them take bad choices and sometimes like myself, the wrong ones. I am from a working class background, I worked my backside off over the 3 years and worked various jobs to support myself as the finance offered didn’t even cover my rent at times but now I believe I chose the wrong career plans, pressured from what teachers were telling me I was good at and making me believe I could never do anything else.  But what if my career choices changed and I need another fancy piece paper and another? Surely as humans we have the choice to be who we want to be yet there’s so many rules, price tags and regulations stopping us from having that freedom to find ourselves.

I can only learn from this and try and excel to be better than my degree, to leave my footprint on the world and see and do things I want to do not what somebody else with a degree tells me. Even now as I watch my little sister go into college with hopes of being a teacher the education system felt she most likely wouldn’t pass all her exams so never offered her the chance to take them all, meaning she left high school with not enough GCSE’s in her back pocket; alongside the BTEC grades that no longer matter? So what you’re now saying is 5 years of taking science and getting a pass is irrelevant because universities don’t want that on their heads? What about her basic education rights? What happened to giving young people the best head start in life? Yet you’re putting false hope in their minds and giving them your expectations.

So please education system, let us as young people breathe and see what’s out there. Apprenticeships and jobs and everything else life has to offer. Your fancy piece of papers can wait for now. Just give us a chance.

Sincerely,

Chelsey Lamb

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