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Teenage Problems/I don't know whether to go back to sixth form despite my decent grades PLEASE HELP

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Hey my name is Louise and I'm 17 years old.
A few weeks ago I received my AS results from Sixth form and unlike most others passed everything with decent grades. I got an A, B and C so was very pleased. However, most of my friends are leaving before the new year starts because they didn't get the grades they'd hoped or just want to start fresh something new. Therefore I am working out before I go back that the classes I will be in are going to have in an average of about 4 or 5 people - most of whom I am not that close with.
The only thing that got me through last year was the support of everyone being together and fear that I will now struggle with nobody to lean on for that boost or help I may need. We started some of this years work in July, however nobody really took it too seriously and now I feel like I have messed up before I've even began and the only people who did things properly are the ones staying - and then there's me, clueless of what I'm doing. I don't think that I can remember anything that we've already started and am seriously questioning whether to go back to sixthform.
After this year I don't have a clue what I want to study at university but think I should make the most out of going as everyone insists that I apply because it would be a waste if not with the grades I achieve.
Please help me with a few wise words of experience or anything that will make me feel better about things because I'm losing sleep over this, and it may be too late to apply for anything else this year.

Thank you for reading this, it's been nice to let it all out with some hope that it may all be ok.

Louise x

Answer
Hi there Louise,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.

Firstly, congratulations on getting good grades for AS results; it shows that the hard work that you have put in has paid off and it is just unfortunate that your friends did not get the grades that they wanted. I know that it must be difficult for you to be happy about your future and to begin to plan where you want to be when everything else seems to be going off and doing something different or seemingly, leaving you behind. It is a scary thought thinking that you are going to be in an environment that you know well but without the faces that your recognise; but this is part and parcel of life and something that we do to make new friends and grow as people. There will be times in the future when you leave one job or go to another, or go off to University or move to a new city, where you will be in a similar situation, where you feel like you are leaving everything that is familiar to you and this is a scary thought. The thing I would say to you is that nothing in life ever changed and only ever remained the same, then we would never experience a fulfilling life because we would never challenge ourselves enough to grow. It might be scary to think that your friends are not going to be around if you back to sixth form and each of them will have their own reasons for not being there, but it is a chance for you to get to know people that you may not know very well and to do what is right for you. You should never make life changes on the basis of popularity, you should make them on the basis of what is right for you. If you don't, you could end up following your friends into a career path that suits them and not you.

You got through last year because you are clever and worked hard with the emotional support of your friends. Just because they may not be around this year, it does not mean that you will fail any exams or struggle, it just means that you may have to focus more on your work which may actually increase your overall grades. If you definately do not want go back to sixth form then you will need to begin to start considering what else you would do instead and how this may impact upon your future career.

With regards to University, if this is something that you want to do, I would not worry too much about not knowing what you want to do there yet as this may become clearer over the next year of so. The course you choose at Uni should be something that you enjoy and/or leads you in to a career that you want. If you are not sure of a career when you are making your Uni course decisions, listing what things you are good at and what careers you may like to go into may help to narrow down your course choices, but this decision is still around nine or ten months away. At Uni there is also the option to do 'combined honours' degrees which means if you are torn between two courses and the Uni offers the option, you could do a degree in both: For example, if you were torn between politics and law, you could do a combined degree in both which covers both basis. The best thing to do is to begin to think about which Uni you would like to go to and to request the undergraduate prospectus which will list all of the courses, give you the criteria and also advise you on finance options. From this, you can then focus on your A level with the intention of working towards something.

Maybe the issue with you at the moment is that you feel like you are going around in circles without any sense of direction and you are concerned that you will be left on your own not knowing what to do. This is common at your age and with your situation because everything begins to change. There are a few things that may help:

1. Make a list of pros and cons for completing your AS level.
2. Make a list of things you would do if you weren't going back.
3. Make a list of the things that you enjoy doing and are good at.
4. Look at Unis that you want to go to and what is on offer.

The following links may help:

http://www.barclayslifeskills.com/

The above is a website that offers information and advice to young people and signposts them to the right information for them to make informed choices.

As Connexions Direct has now closed and Connexions offices are closing on a weekly basis, there is still information from Connexions with regards to career and education choices but this is available on-line on the link below:

http://www.connexions-tw.co.uk/durham/

UCAS is responsible for all University admissions and it is a good place to start doing course searches and finding out entry requirements. The link is below:

http://www.ucas.com/

Do your research and start to think about what we have discussed and hopefully, things will become clearer and your choices more specific.

I hope that helps.  

Teenage Problems

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Daryl Taylor, BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGDip (pending certification)

Expertise

My expertise covers everything and anything to do with growing up, being a teenager or a young adult or being the parent of one of the pre-described. I can cover issues on identity, sexuality, love, relationships, families, drug/alcohol abuse and anything and everything in between.

Experience

I have volunteered for AllExperts.com for over ten years now, but even before that I was trying to use my experience to help others by working with Advice4teens.co.uk, Teenadviceonline.org and even Lycos and Ask Jeeves. My experience comes from being a teenager primarily but this lead me to work with young people from the age of 13. I have worked front line, face to face and over the telephone, e-mail and webchat for a government department called Connexions UK (aimed at young people aged 13-19); as well as being student counselor in New York, a Peer Mentor, a student teacher and working for my school, college and University to help raise the aspirations of young people. My life has not been easy and I have been through my fair share of issues; so there is little that I haven't been through in reality opposed to just reading it from a book or from my academic studies. I have been featured as a case study as achieving through adversity for a number of magazines and I have featured in a couple of books on both sides of the Atlantic; even though I am UK based.

Organizations
The Albert Kennedy Trust

Publications
Relationships: Cathy Senker, 2012, Raintree The Dean and Chapter Positive Nation GTEN Television Aim Higher

Education/Credentials
BSc(Hons) Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation Basic Counselling Skills Effective Listening Skills Mental Health First Aid

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Student achievement Adult learner's Award

Past/Present Clients
Allexperts.com Advice4teensuk.org Teenadviceonline.org lycos.co.uk askjeeves.com Connexions Direct

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