9th January 2018

Your school is lying to you...

Rowena Fletcher-Wood (Alumna 2007)

The school is lying to you. Your parents. Everyone, pretty much.

I used to believe their stories that the future was made during your school days. It isn’t. The future is malleable, life is long, and there’s always time to retrain and do more.

Studying science won’t make you a scientist any more than studying sport will make you a professional footballer; and studying English and economics sure as hell won’t make you a journalist. The opposite is also true: failing your GCSEs won’t confine you to a lifetime of stacking supermarket shelves or peeling onions in a factory; art isn’t a doss subject – you might need it later; and the best PhD students I’ve ever met had to retake at least one year of school or university before they started their doctorates.

Your school days don’t define you, and school isn’t a prison sentence: it’s an opportunity.

This is your one and only opportunity to have a go, make mistakes, take chances, and have dreams without juggling wage earning, rent and family commitments.

You can be serious later. Dare to dream big. Try everything once. Do the things you love, that make you happy, that you can talk to friends about. Work hard, play hard, and have a go even when you’ll probably fail – better to fail and tell the story than always wonder if...

I used to think I wanted to be a writer – but I was too scared to try. I loved science, so I trained as a scientist. I studied nonstop from the age of 4 to 26 – and now I’m a science writer and communicator.

I hadn’t even heard of a science communicator until 2012... I guess we’re always learning.

By Rowena Fletcher-Wood (Alumna 2007)