Students always get incredibly stressed whenever it comes to results day because whatever level of education they are in, they are told that the results they get will have a massive impact on their future life, and career. It would be silly to suggest that results don’t have some impact on your life, but the world is full of people who tried to do one thing, couldn’t and went away and did something else very well.
Obviously you want to get the best results possible, but the important thing is not to become overly stressed with this. Especially for people with autism; a lot of benefits that can be gained from college, and university aren’t purely academic. Often people can become much more social, and independent when they go in to higher education, and being able to go out by themselves and communicate with others can open up more doors than simply getting an academic qualification. It also improves self-confidence. People can often make good friends, and have a lot of good memories from their time in education. Obviously this isn’t the only important element, but if somebody has struggled in making friends their whole life, and they come out of college with a close group of good friends, then they are doing a very good job – and that in itself is a massive achievement for them.
For example, I got good grades in college, but just as important as my grades was the fact that I was travelling independently nearly every day, and I was able to become more sociable, and make friends. Of course I was pleased with my grades, but I simply saw them as a way of getting in to university. I wasn’t particularly bothered about the academic element of the course. If I hadn’t got the grades I needed for university though, I would have been able to re-take elements of the course to try to bump my grades up, or I could have left and taken some kind of vocational course. I could have simply dropped out of education altogether, and gone in for a different kind of work.
It is also worth pointing out that whatever stress teachers try to put on your shoulders, at eighteen you are still a teenager, and whether you get in to university or not, will not define you, or who you can be. It all depends on your skill-set. If you struggle to cope in college maybe going straight in to university is not the best thing you could do – why get yourself in to all that debt, and put yourself through all that stress when there are other options out there – other training programmes, courses, and jobs that may be much better suited to you? I took a year off after college to focus on my writing, and if I hadn’t done that I probably wouldn’t have set up this blog, made the contacts I have, or be writing for on-line magazines and newspapers now.
The idea of staying in education until you are in your early twenties is only a recent thing for the majority of people. This doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be taken up by anyone who wants to take it up, but no one should ever feel that it is the only option for them. It is an option, and a good option, but the level of stress some people put themselves through when choosing this option is ridiculous – you’re still a teenager, so relax. Even if you have to repeat a couple of years of college, and you are in your twenties when you go to university, it’s no big deal. You are still young. You can go to university at any time you want to in your life. The idea of learning as much as you can by a certain age, and then going out and getting a job based on the knowledge you`ve accumulated over the past twenty one years, is redundant in today’s economy. Anyway, education is a life-long thing. The fact that you are not smart enough to do something aged eighteen doesn’t condemn you to a life-time of not being able to do things. It just means that things might come a little more slowly, but you have to see the bigger picture – in forty or fifty years’ time, what will you care if you achieved something aged eighteen, or aged twenty?
There are all different kinds of education, and all different types of knowledge, and each of these can be put to use in one job or another. Many of these forms of knowledge are not taught in colleges or universities, but that doesn’t make them, or their effect on your life, any less real.
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