Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I think I need a whinge....

Having taken maggi's advice and visited Brodie's blog I was interested by his thoughts on "what a blog's for" which includes a reference to blogs as places of vulnerability.
So.......OK...this is the curate being vulnerable.
I am finding it next to impossible to focus on the unfolding drama of Holy Week, because I have an unfolding domestic drama of my very own, involving my daughter, UCAS and assorted universities.
L applied to read English at Cambridge, and 5 other universities; her teachers had (possibly generously, but who's to say at this point?) predicted A grades all round, and earlier exam results suggested this was a real possibility. Her personal statement read well...She is someone with wide-ranging interests, who pursues them with passion, and has gathered assorted evidence of this along the way through her teens. She writes well, so it was an interesting read, I truly believe. She is not, though, the world's most self-confident young woman, so I was not unduly surprised that she was not offered a Cambridge place...there is no way she will have given of her best at interview. However, what has really removed the ground from beneath our feet is the fact that 3 other universities also rejected her...leaving her with offers from Aberystwyth and Lampeter. The situation is now further compounded by the Head of English announcing that neither of the courses at these universities is challenging enough for her & that he only allowed her to put them down at all because it simply didn't occurr to him that she might need to take up offers from them.
So, here we are, with only a couple of weeks in which to make the decision, suddenly cast back into the mires of uncertainty. Does she hope for great things through Clearing (not perhaps the wisest move in a year when there are so many too many students for the places available:Bristol had c3000 applicants for 91 places on its English course)?
Do we swallow hard, try to ignore the horrors of "variable top-ups" and opt for a Gap Year (as she had originally planned, before said top-ups were invented) though it is rather late to arrange one, and she will certainly not be able to take up the teaching post in Uganda she had originally arranged?
Do we ignore the advice of the Head of English and say "thank you kindly" to Aberystwyth, whose students speak fondly of it....?
I simply don't know what to do for the best...
Have asked God for sky-writing, but thus far it seems conspicuous by its absence, and while we deliberate, fret and worry, L is busy seeing herself as "the one nobody wants" and her fragile self-esteem is more bruised and battered than ever.
I'm probably not helping her by posting thus, but vulnerability and community both seem to suggest that I should. Prayers very welcome.


steve said...

pab's young lady friend went there ... aberystwyth that is ... /studied there/works there ... not confident which ... maybe you should tlak to her via him ... and that's about as useful as i can be on this one ... go here http://pab.angellane.org/

B1 said...

You have my prayers, Kathryn.

John said...

Prayers certainly with you, Kathryn. It's nasty when something this important suddenly lands on you unexpectedly.

FWIW, I'd think about that gap year, given it was already a possibility. With A grades solidly in hand, she'd be in a much better position to apply next year.

pax et bonum

Rhys said...

I'd agree with John but if she lacks confidence go for Aberystwyth. (I know I'm biased - its my hometown)it will be perfect for her. Someone I know was advised and got place at high profile red brick, took gap year- lacked confidence hated it - ended up in Aber - Loves it to bits.

I can recommend pubs and churches if need be. There's a good arts centre
Did I tell you about the pubs!

chris said...

It might be worth thinking what University is for. Simply a step to a good job? A place to form as a person? Is education the retaining of facts or exploring ways in which to think?

I know Lampeter quite well. My wife went there as did my brother and his wife lectures there. My impression is that it is a friendly place with a strong communal value. Everyone I know (and there are others) who went there loved it.

I would go there if I had the choice. The experience would be a rich one (and probably at Aber too) and she could enjoy education for it's own sake and not for the sake of what you get out of it at the end of the course.

But I, of course, am a complete stranger who knows neither you nor your daughter. I may well be talking nonsense!

Humble Secretary said...

No useful advice as to what is the right / best thing to do - but wise words have already been offered here.

What I can say for certain is whoever ends up with L will be very lucky to get her. She will be an asset to any university as she is a joy and a delight.

stuart said...

I have a friend who works for Africa Inland Missions and might be able to help with a gap year if that was the option you decided upon

Kathryn said...

Thank you for all your comments and most definitely for the prayers, which kicked in during Evening Prayer tonight. Suddenly it all feels manageable again, which is a huge blessing. What lovely blog friends I do have :-)
I'll let you know the final outcome...I guess a Gap is pretty likely, as though I think Aber might well work for L she is reluctant to discount her teacher's advice until she has tried other avenues.

Caroline said...

This year is a pretty tough one for university entries - what with people trying to avoid fees.

I'm so glad that I took a gap year (Back in the seventies - sigh) so I'd recommend that. Apart from anything else a pause can often give space for changes of plan, maybe not English?

All the best to L and you as you nurse her bruised heart.

Emma B said...

kathryn, i'm sense some hope in your last comment and i'm glad, although this is a little late i wanted to try and testify...

i have one of those memories that's like a snapshot with smell and emotion attached... sat on the grass outside school calling a university about doing physio to find out why my "grades werent good enough" ... struggling to see how when i'd bettered my predictions and got 3 A's this could be the case... what else could be wrong with me?

now 8 years on and finally 3 months off graduating as a physio i see a meandering path behind me. really not one i ever saw coming. but one i now treasure and rejoice over and tells of His faithfulness and concern way beyond, like He painted a grand mural around the pinprick i thought was all there was.

and i know now looking back at me on that patch of grass holding a mobile the size of a breeze block ... He had a mural in mind. I pray your daughter will know His leading and you both may enjoy His peace.

1 i z said...

Kathryn - hugest hugs to you and L. Caroline M and I discussed last night how when you're 18, stuff like this seems enormous, as if the wrong decision/outcome will effectively determine the happiness of the rest of your life.

It's hard to explain to someone in that position that actually it's not so totally, life-over-shadowingly massive, that there is rarely one path and often when we look back, good things come from the times like these.

My brother got turned down from Cambridge and 2 other veterinary degrees and ended up with his fourth choice: Bio-Chemistry at London.

He excelled, did a Phd and spent the next 11 years flying up the career ladder in a pharmaceutical research company, developing cures to all sorts of serious stuff.

I think he would have hated being a vet, whereas clearly he's damn good at bio-chem and it makes him happy. Similarly if you ask me (or anyone using medication he helped develop!) I reckon he's contributed more to the world this way.

I think Cambridge would have been an appalling place for the 18yr old him, whereas his small campus London college suited him perfectly (heck he even met his wife there!).

Of course the fact that he has just turned his back on all this to pursue a vocation as a minister with a Vineyard church, is merely an aside that underlines that academic achievement is not the only difference between me and my brainy brother! ;-)

The saliant point is this...17 years ago he was gutted, destroyed, completely distraught, but it turned out to be the making of him (can you tell I'm proud of the bugger?).

Give my love to L and tell her that it can and almost certainly will be 'OK'!

Gordon said...

For what it is worth - I was rejected everywhere (but then I was a lousy football lout!) but Lampeter. I went there and loved the three years and came away with more than an education. Even the journey there was worth it every term :o)