Monday, August 22, 2016

A Level Results and That

In my late teenage years I was interested in football, music, board games and girls (I eventually narrowed it down to one girl). Every time the opportunity came along to try something new I took it. So I played rugby, hockey, squash, table tennis and golf. I guess I sought a sport for which I had natural aptitude and could have done well at without work. This is as big a theme of my life as annoying people by breaking the rules of grammar in favour of what I laughingly call my style.

The me who enjoyed study, thought and writing was some years off.

I have no idea how good I would have become at football and music if I had had someone champion/sponsor me. I didn't. On the advice and push of my Dad I got a back-up offer to the single university which thought it might take me (Swansea - geography). An insurance company in Brum had a non-graduate trainee scheme and the requirement was two A Levels.

So that became my career for eight years. And getting better than two grade Es clearly meant I had put too much energy in, not expecting to reach the dizzy heights of Swansea's offer. I did four parts of an Associateship of the Chartered Insurance Institute but again had no real motivation to complete it. I was good at my job though and promoted rapidly. I was a very young section leader (manager of a team of 7) at 24 and was, had things not changed weirdly and dramatically in a school equipment cupboard (more another day), earmarked as a trainee inspector.

Then I found myself, almost reluctantly, following the advice and prod of others to consider ordination. It wasn't completely out of the blue. I was a Christian and a churchgoer. It would have been odder if I had been neither - and perhaps more compelling a tale.

So I put my career on hold, studied part-time, jumped through many interview hoops, found I had the necessary two A levels to do a theology degree, packed insurance in and moved with family to residential training and then became a priest.

Throughout college it was commented that I had an attitude that would do 'just enough' rather than achieve academic excellence. But I also captained the first ever college football team to win anything, wrote and performed a musical, was year rep on the Junior Common Room Committee and got a brief stress-related illness. This was the beginning of my fully understanding the genetic hand I had been dealt. Just for 'fun' I revised excessively for one doctrine paper. By this I mean I learned a load of stuff I didn't really understand or care about. I came top of my group with distinction.

So where does that leave me? 43 years on from my A level results they have meant little except that I got two of them. I accept my lot in life to be interested in lots and specialist in little. I enjoy investigating new trends and crazes. It transpires that people think I have some ability with written communication (I was often told my essays were well written but light on content - should have been a tabloid journalist maybe) and I have had three books and many booklets published.

If your exam results haven't been quite what you hoped for, relax and chill. In the grand scheme of things they may not matter very much.

Now. What do you want to do next?

No comments: