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NUS President Shakira Martin – University Is Not For Everyone

Shakira Martin

Shakira Martin, NUS President
Photographer: Jason Alden

Shakira Martin, President of the National Union of Students welcomes you to the Results Day Guide and reminds you that you have plenty of options.

Results day is fast approaching and many of you may experience a range of different feelings; from excitement, nervousness, fear and even anger. The thought of your future relying on the grades marked on a piece of paper is scary. A mixture of your friends jumping up and down happy with their results and others not even opening the envelope – results days will be different for everyone.

Getting your GCSEs is important. They give you a great foundation to begin your journey in the real world and to be successful. However not getting your desired result does not determine what you will achieve in the future and sometimes it’s during this time that the penny will drop, you’ll consider different paths and begin to identify the things you enjoy and the things you don’t.

I’m here to tell you that there are different options and different ways of learning. I am proof that if you focus and use your experiences, bothShakira Martin positive and negative to find your passion, it is possible to achieve anything you put your mind to.

I left school at sixteen with one GCSE in religious studies and it took me a while to find my feet. I made mistakes, I failed on several occasions. However, this made me the person I am today, the President of the National Union of Students representing 7 million students across the UK and the second President in the union’s history to have never gone to university.

I would never have thought that I, the girl who didn’t do very well at school and failed my GCSEs would have made this great achievement. I found a way to enjoy learning at my local FE college. Through apprenticeships I found my love of education in both teaching and learning. I recently graduated with a Diploma in Education and Training and plan in the future to go on to university and do a Master’s, something I never thought I would accomplish.

There are so many different jobs and industries you can find a future in from lumberjack to chemical engineer, from healthcare assistant to entrepreneur. I wholeheartedly believe in the value of university, but I know first-hand that this is not for everyone. There are other options: apprenticeships, internships, non-graduate roles. There is no limit to what you can achieve; you just have to find your passion, keep focussed, and be determined.

I never thought I would have a career in education or politics and looking back there have been ups and downs but I have learnt so much about myself as a person and gained a lifetime qualification in adversity.

So as results day approaches you may feel different from those around you. That’s ok! Whether you do better than expected or worse, the important thing is simply to keep on doing something.

Remember your choices, remember your options. Learn from the outcome and position yourself in the present to create the future you want. Be proud of what you’ve achieved so far and never stop doing everything you can to develop your unique skills and your enquiring mind.




About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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