The exam results silly season is upon us. I keep hearing horror stories in which children are suffering from severe mental strain because of the pressure to achieve. As a parent, I find this heartbreaking.
Life is only just beginning for these youngsters and they should enjoy every waking minute, but the burden to perform brought on by the current exam system is killing them. Literally. I’m not suggesting that students should expect everything on a plate, but the current state of affairs is unacceptable. So I wrote the following article:
Hey kids, whatever you do, above all else, make sure you lead a varied and interesting life. Despite what you might be told, you don’t need piles of money to do this – an inquisitive and open mind will do. Qualifications are desirable, but happiness is vital.
You are likely to be alive and kicking for another 60 or 70 years. You can (and will) change your minds and your careers more times than you imagine. You are only here once and this life isn’t a dress rehearsal, so make the most of every precious second.
Do crazy stuff. Embrace diversity. Party. Take risks. Express yourselves. Play sport. Be rebellious. ALWAYS be kind. Be confident. Don’t be arrogant. It’s ok to cry. It’s not ok to suffer in silence. Laugh a lot. Don’t dwell on your mistakes. Don’t boast about your successes. Travel. Spend more time outside than in. Don’t believe everything on social media. Do believe what your heart tells you is right. Fall in love. Ask questions. Ask more questions. Fuck things up. Be wise enough to know when you’ve fucked things up. Relax. Be passionate about at least one thing. Swear creatively and lots. Never assume you’re immortal. Don’t fear failure. Be brave enough to say no. Say sorry. Read. Read some more. Keep reading. Have an opinion. Change your mind. Love animals. Listen to music. Make music. Watch movies. Eat well. Get drunk. Sleep. Win with class but lose with grace.
But, most of all, don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever be dull.