Now the hard work is over, here’s five things to remember to do once you’ve finished your A-Levels.
1. Don’t be pressured into anything.
When I was doing my A-Levels my tutors pressured me to go to university. I had no encouragement to find a job or an apprenticeship. I was not ready for university so I decided not to go, I was even called a fool by a teacher. If you don’t think university is right for you then don’t go. Remember, the same course will be available at a university for decades, however the right apprenticeship or dream job might be a one off.
2. Find alternatives.
It is unlikely to be rejected by a university and end up without an option. But if that eventuality does come around then be prepared. Apply for part-time and full-time jobs, apprenticeships, traineeships and anything else you can get your hands on that interests you. Perhaps even doing a year at a college will be good for you, make the most of free education. You can never have to many qualifications and experience.
3. Never take something for the sake of it.
Never go to university because you can. Go because you want to. It is the same with jobs, I made that mistake and it affected my mental and physical health. There is no feeling worse than going to work anxious and stressed and coming home exhausted and drained. The right people, places, and professions will all come around to you. Everyone has a purpose.
4. Do what you enjoy.
So what if you don’t want to go to university with your friends, you can stay in contact. I was one of a handful of people from my year who didn’t go to university and I am in a much better position than some. I have a strong friendship circle and have a good lifestyle. If your passion is photography then pursue it. Go to university and study it and get that degree. If that is not for you, get a job to fund your adventure (photography can be very expensive!) and make the most of your free time.
5. Everything will fall into place.
Take it from me. I left after my a-levels not wanting to go to university, I was called a fool by teachers and left a few people confused. I took a job I hated hoping I could make something of it. My biggest mistake was taking a job I didn’t love. Pair that with some stressful life experiences and you get some mental and physical health issues! It worked out in the end. I was offered an apprenticeship with a photographers studio in London. I had never been happier than the day I handed in my notice knowing in a weeks time I would be on the path to my personal happiness. And to this day, I have never loved doing something so much. I’ve always wanted to make my career something I loved. And now I can.
Here’s to your future. Whatever path you choose, make it the right one for you. Do what you love and you will love what you do.
Follow Matthew Porter on Twitter.
I am a photographer in Southeast England and specialize in same-sex weddings and LGBT events. I am involved with the LGBT community through my writing and charity work, of which I am the Chairman of the Kent and Medway Hate Crime Project.
Dream big because nothing is out of reach.