Academic change. We talk about school a lot already on here – general feels, classmates, coursework, how completely incompetent our institution is…which is not always positive but always true! The changes we face academically normally occur throught the societal structure already set before us but there are times when you venture of the beaten path. Warning *LONG READING AHEAD*

Firstly, The Jump between GCSEs – A-Level

Jay: Well, first off let me say High School (HS) was amazing! Hands down the best five years of my Academic career because I still had hopes and dreams, loved my teachers, did my work – the whole nine yards! But. It all came crashing down when I left to do my A-Levels. My HS, didn’t allow me to take the subjects I wanted so I left and went to Sixth Form instead. That wasn’t the best move for me looking back on it now becuase I hated my time there. I did things like History, Politics – so boring! Now coming from the glory of being a teachers pet, I thought this school would be a breeze. I quickly found out that wouldn’t be the case.

In just a few months I found myself hating my school and just wouldn’t show up some days. My Mocks were terrible and I wanted to leave and start again somewhere else in September. Luckily, I made friends with the receptionist (don’t judge) from my building – 6th Form had their own. She encouraged and pushed me to continue – not give up blah blah blah. Basically she was more a teacher to me than my actually teachers.

I learned a lot that year, mainly outside the classroom and realised that not all teacher/lecturers/professors are gonna be there for you, most will see you as just another face amongst a see of others.

Ally: Now looking back, High School has to be one of the most amazing moments of my life. Its genuinely life changing, because you find out so much about yourself and I made some of my closest friends there. I wish I tried a little harder and so did my teachers. I did really well, but if I’d actually made the effort and tried I could have done even better! Going in to A-levels I had no clue what I wanted to do and just went along with what was told to me and I ended up being really unhappy. I stayed in my High School and joined their Sixth Form Programme when I should have left. I know for certain that if I had left my High School I would have done a lot better. I did attempt to leave, but I was told to stay… I faced some of the biggest mental health problems I had during that time and I was made into a Villian about it. Which made me feel even more depressed and alone during that time. This was a place that brought me so much happiness and great friendship in High School to going to their Sixth Form and I was left feeling alone and unsupported.

I’m not saying my High School experience was all rainbows and friendship bracelets, there were many things that happened during that time, that has shaped me into who I am now. Many things that will have an ever lasting imprint on my life… but, I will not let those moments and memories outweigh the amazing ones I gained. The same can be said for Sixth Form, I try not to let the bad memories overrule the good because I made some amazing friends during that time.

I learnt a lot from the change. That once you leave High School and you go to Sixth Form you’re an adult. You don’t get the same support you once did and even if you ask for help from some people you may not get the help you need or want. It taught me most of all you can’t always rely on the people who are meant to help you… you have to help yourself.

Secondly, The differences between BTEC and A-Level

Jay: Yeah, so after that first year of AS I decided I needed to go to college instead, I made the mistake of doing ASs again for the second time…don’t make that mistake. Just Don’t! I want to say that both are completely different so neither one is better than the other. Having done both, I can honestly say BTEC was all me! There was so much stigma around students choosing A-Levels over BTECs but the truth is you’ll probably have a deeper understanding with latter than studying for an exam.

Personally I was persuaded not to do a BTEC because of that stigma but tht only pushed me further behind and made me feel as though I was being left behind. So always go with your gut! It knows best.

Ally: Jay and I are honestly in the same boat here… doing AS twice, why is beyond us! And the stigmatism of doing a BTEC was so intense. I remember in both GCSEs and A-Levels that people got teased and bullied because they were doing a BTEC. It was the assumption that they were less capable of doing a degree than others.

BTEC is most probably one of the best decisions I made, I went in knowing nothing about Business and then I came out of it knowing more about it and it’s application than my friends who had done A-Level Business. Because that what A-Levels are a lot of the time: theory and very little real world application… it’s the precursor for Uni.

Lastly, Jump between BTEC to Uni

Jay: By far the easiest jump. BTEC went into soo much detail that majority was covered in the first year at uni. A-Levelers would understand the content but the workload might scare them a little. I, however was use to the multiple dealines from my modules and have even used some of my work to help me out, to this day.

I’ve have pretty much followed the business route without much thought into what I wanted to do specifically but being at uni and having a year abroad has helped me a lot in figuring that out.

Ally: This was a walk in the park. I didn’t realise that having the basis we had from our BTEC would really set us up for success in our first year of Uni. With coping with multiple deadlines, but also with application of some theories.

I went from zero business background before my BTEC, to doing my Level 3 Extended and then going of to Uni to get my degree in Marketing.

So, we’ve talked about our experience with Academic change in our lives… there are so many things that we could talk about and maybe at some point we will take a deeper dive into the education system and talk about our thoughts. But, today at least we wanted to talk a little about our academic journey and begin the conversation… mainly because it is still a journey we are on and would to love know a bit about your journey.

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