Exam Results 76


A piece of paper does not encapsulate a person’s worth. University is one good way of enhancing your understanding and experience of this wonderful world, but there are many other ways.

I was very unhappy with the discipline and structure of school and did very badly – my A Levels were BEE. I lost my place to do law and scraped into Dundee on clearing to study History. In the free atmosphere of university I flourished and ended up with a First, as well as twice being President of the students union (and eventually became Rector of the university). My parents and friends were very upset the day my A Level results came out but I knew, even then, there were much more important things in life. I know it still more now.

Study what you enjoy, not what you think might pay. The economic world is changing so fast there are few safe bets anyway. But you are a wonderful, complex being, not just an economic agent. Experience life wherever it takes you. Everybody deserves love, and with patience you will find some. Nobody’s worth depends on bits of paper of any kind.


76 thoughts on “Exam Results

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    The general standard of literacy – and specifically, of the skills associated with writing words on page or screen – definitely has fallen over the past 30 years. Horrendous, basic spelling mistakes and frankly a lack of comprehension quickly become evident. I think it was a grave mistake to stop teaching grammar in Primary school – this happened in the early 1970s – and also (though maybe this is less important) to switch to a particular form of writing letters (in the mid-1960s) which in calligraphic terms makes even the mostly highly educated, cleverest person’s writing – including mine – look like that of a thirteen year-old. When you learn French or Spanish or German as a foreign language, you are taught French or Spanish or German grammar and I’m sure that people who formally learn English as a foreign language in other countries learn English grammar, so why, then, is grammar deemed unimportant when you learn English as a first language in Britain? Language, thought, expression, communication, all are intricately linked. Learning is hard, it takes us at least two to three decades. It can be fun, but only once you’ve done the graft. This is a basic philosophical and educational truth which needs to be re-introduced into societal consciousness. You wouldn’t expect to be able to run a marathon, or play football properly at high level without lots and lots of practice and pain, so why would you expect to be able to read or write properly, without the same application? Telling people anything else is lying to them.

  • larry Levin

    your Marxism-leninism argument causing good education in those countries it controls and poor in the UK is unsound.

    @Suhayl Saadi

  • Craig W

    Got AAAAB but was desperate to leave school. Enjoyed everything about university – the library, the social life – everything except my course! I used to sit in other course’s lectures out of curiosity but found them boring too. I should have done an apprenticeship but didn’t know it at the time. 

    Maybe one day I will do something for a living I am good at and also enjoy… it isn’t easy to go against societal and parental expectations though. I admire and perhaps slightly envy young people who have a clear vision of what they want and the guts to go against the grain. 

  • glenn

    Suhayl: Much the same was evident for subjects other than English. Football, to take your example, was not exactly taught as such. Either you were good at it already or you were not. I was told relatively recently that, in order to strike in the required direction, one needed to have their knee over the ball before kicking. “Damn!”, I thought. If only some enlightened soul (say, the PE teacher) had told me that back in the day. The only thing I was any good at was tackling fairly hard, and immediately passing the ball to someone who knew what to do with it. In my school, as in many others around here, Rugby was the only interest of the PE teacher (and doubtless, the fool that employed him). If you weren’t naturally talented at that, you weren’t good for anything.
    .
    You say, “Telling people anything else is lying to them.” But lying to people is exactly what it’s all about these days. You don’t work hard for decades to achieve something – you’re naturally brilliant and get rewarded with fame and fortune almost immediately, or you’re trash to be forgotten about. Careers are for losers, anything that happens after the age of 24 is irrelevant anyway. Short-term is what we’re all about at every level. Ramp up the share price by sacking staff, get a bonus and exercise share options, regardless of the long term consequences to the company. Take steroids and get pumped-up, never mind long term damage. Ability to properly use language is simply another casualty of this philosophy – hell, you’ll hear people saying that language is always evolving anyway, So you must of maybe missed over how its’ going too be in you’re future anyways?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Here you go – what I was raging about earlier in relation to the Cult of Managerialism, driven by the Religion of PR (that’s ‘Public Relations’, not ‘Per Rectal’, though one might be forgiven for confusing the two). This is from the indefatigable Iona Heath, in one of last year’s BMJs:

    http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c1478.full
    .
    So, here is what I propose:
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    1) Choose an auspicious day. The anniversary of the founding of the NHS, perhaps.
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    2) Liaise via Twitter, Facebook et al on Blackberries. Call all national and local media outlets. Maximise publicity.
    .
    2) Except in situations where it is absolutely contraindicated, all hospital doctors in the UK simultaneously (with the consent of their patients, of course) will sit down on their patients’ beds and have a chat and maybe a cuppa with their patients.
    .
    3) All hospital doctors in the UK will purchase a flower, which they will carry to their places of work. All of these flowers will be placed in vases on hospital wards in order to form a riot of colour and fragrance.
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    Any manager or wannabee manager who complains or objects to 1) or 2) will be suspended on no pay.
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    This is a direct incitement by me to civil friendliness and a major public health therapeutic exercise.
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    All gagging procedures wrt health professionals will be immediately and permanently abolished and whistleblowers, given pay rises and medals.

  • glenn

    Suhayl: That was my point – either you’re already able to do it (and the system allows that talent to be promoted), or you’re counted as a failure! (I sincerely hope you understood the mistakes in the final sentence of my previous post to be deliberate… ssshuurely? I mean, Sahaylly?)
    .
    On a related point, did you see Private Eye’s recent special report on whistleblowers in the NHS? What did you think of that?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, of course, Glenn, I knew that you last sentence was a deliberate satire! I didn’t see that Private Eye report – do you have the link? – though there have been a number of reports in the BMJ, and in the MSM, on NHS whistleblowers:
    .
    http://www.bmj.com/content/338/bmj.b2090.full
    .
    A few years, ago, if someone had suggested that ‘gagging’ would become commonplace, people would’ve laughed and said, “That’s Stalinist!”. No-one laughs any more. No-one expresses surprise or shock. Is everyone brain-dead? Why isn’t there more overt, mass protest? People grumble, the unions complain, but where’s the solidarity? Is it not an infringement on human rights? This is not an issue of commercial secrets, you know, like the ‘formula for successful toothpaste’. These gagging orders are to hide the ongoing financial rape of the people and to deflect embarrassment from failed contracts/management. Has no-one taken this to the ECHR?
    .
    A simple campaign slogan: ‘Abolish All Gagging!’

  • glenn

    Suhayl: Thank goodness for that, my general standard of writing being so bad it might not be possible to tell when I’m kidding. The PE report to which I referred came out on 5/7, issue number #1292, and was entitled, “Shoot the messenger – how NHS whistleblowers are silenced and sacked”. I don’t think PE puts a lot of this stuff online, finding this one took some searching through back issues of “Performance Bike”, “Loony Conspiracists’ digest” and “whacked out leftist” magazines which had piled up. If you cannot get a copy, contact me – I’ll send it to you.

  • Dana

    I think it is fair to say that one size doesn’t fit all, and that recognising your strengths and understanding that there is a place for all kinds of skills somewhere is a key to success. I believe that with the right guidance everyone can find their path. Writing a CV can be quite an eye opener as it forces you to put your skills down on paper and to try to structure them into some kind of persona. It is a good exercise in looking at where your strengths are and how you can develop them.

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