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Tuesday 26 May 2015

Life after school

Hi, my name is Stephen, and like me almost 700,000 students collected their GCSE results on the 20th of August. Looking around the room I could see an array of reactions from joy to sadness and from bemusement to students being utterly dumbfounded by what they had achieved.

That morning, I anticipated being handed the brown envelope and ripping it open as if my life depended upon the few letters on the sheet of paper enclosed. As I walked to school nerves grew, I had done my utmost to ignore my GCSE’s and to not think about how well/badly I have potentially done. However the nerves did get the better of my and when I was handed the envelope I couldn’t bring myself to open it. I walked up to a friend and said, “I hold my future in my hands”. When I did manage to break the seal and open up the results, I was glad that I had. I was greeted by 2 A*’s, 6 A’s and 2 B’s. Relief is the only word that I can use to sum up my reaction. Deep down I had always known that I would do well, not this well, but well. I would never say that I found any subject easy and that I was at the top of the class but I put the work in, put my head down and got on with my work both in school and at home.

Most of my secondary school life has been bearable. And I mean that in a positive way. I have always found the sciences to by my favourite subject’s right form the go of year 7. There have been difficulties, for example having Asperger’s and only being diagnosed in Year 9 meant that for three years of my secondary school life some of my behaviour has been alien to me. I would get worked up and become angry at people sometimes leading to an argument in class. This could have been because I sometimes find teamwork hard, especially when I had an opinion (that was of course the right one) and someone else had another conflicting one, and would not yield or accept that my way was the best. Or because I found someone’s behaviour wrong or annoying. I would then tell them what I thought and was vocal about my feelings. Getting the diagnosis from Great Ormond Street Hospital and receiving the help and support that came with that really helped me to settle down and change my attitude and behaviour. This made school life much easier and better as my condition was added to my statement which already included my visual impairment.

Having a statement however, can sometimes hinder as well as help. I find that Teaching Assistants tend to degrade and patronise you. This is because they see you as disabled and treat you as if you have a form of disability that prohibits your brains capacity to think and work effectively. I fully understand that there are people who need more intensive support and call for this to be given to those who require it, I feel that if you are disabled you shouldn’t be branded as one thing or be treated in a certain way.
In terms of the future I am staying on at my current school’s Sixth Form to study: Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Economics at A level. These are subjects that I enjoy and want to study beyond GCSE. I hope to go on to university to study Biochemistry at UCL, then pursue a career in science.

I would be lying if I said that the path I lay before me isn’t a little daunting. I accept that there are so many factors that could go wrong that compromise what I aim to do with my life.

Despite this I feel that those who say, ‘I can’, will and those who say, ‘I can’t’, won’t. So I tend to say that ‘I can’ in the hope that I will.