School was always about spending time with my friends, the educational side was never an aspect, I did just enough in my exams and in my school work to get me by. Until the end of year 9 when I had to pick my GCSE’s options. There became an unofficial competition between me and my friends as to who could do the best.

My GCSE’s were influenced by my father who sat me down and persuaded me to choose Business Studies as it would open several doors in the future, obviously as a young 13-year-old, I was unsure, but I was so wrong!

Once I got ready to do my A Levels, people started telling me, they’d be the hardest thing I’d ever do. Once again I didn’t believe them! I failed my first year of sixth form after picking subjects which were exciting, but totally new to me and I found them difficult.

I changed my subjects and took on another year of Sixth Form, going back to my old faithful Business Studies and my interest in sport influenced me into picking those A Levels, alongside English Literature and Sociology. My strengths became apparent when I got my results with top grades in Business and Sport and that was it, I was going to Manchester Met Uni to study Business and Sport, not very excited and very scared of the future. The nerves took over and I declined my place and cancelled my student finance, university was not for me.

Taking on more hours at my job, I worked full time for a year, saved no money and had no time for the socialising that I once loved back in school. I realised this dead end job wasn’t for me, I wanted better for myself. I applied to the University of Derby to study Law and Marketing.

Why Derby? Well why not? It’s a great city and a great university. As it got closer to moving to Derby, the nerves appeared, however this time, meeting my housemate on a university social page changed my whole process. I was no longer nervous, but excited to meet this person, to live with this person and make memories that will last a lifetime. I cried, my mum cried and my dad beamed with pride when moving me into halls.

During my time at university,  I faced new challenges, met new friends and worked hard to achieve the grades I gained. Finishing with a First overall in first year.

class of 2017

YES! I am proud, my parents are proud, I made the right decision! But did I? Law was not for me, I loved learning about it, but applying it was not my strong point. I was fortunate enough to swap my degree and go onto a full honours marketing course – Marketing and Advertising Management. Business was following me again, Marketing was the topic I chose as I did so well during A Levels on this subject. I even got commissioned to create an infographic by the university due to the success of my grades.

Graudation family
Laura and her family

2 years later, all Firsts in my modules later, that 13-year-old telling her Dad ‘leave me alone to make my own GCSE decisions’ was incredibly grateful for what my Dad had told me about Business Studies and where it could get me in the future, and where is that?

I graduated with a First Class Honours degree being a Dean’s Award Winner for academic achievement, award winner for Best Marketing Executive Student, with my work still being used by my lecturers as a bench mark at 95% (I feel bad for those other students having that as a bench mark!). That 13-year-old who didn’t want to listen to her Dad, is incredible grateful that she did! My parents beamed with pride as my name was read out to walk across that stage, my grandparents, my brother, the friends I had made. And along with 200 other students making their parents proud, Class of 2017 did it!


graduation me

Where am I now? This is the hardest part, the competitive field of finding a job in marketing is the hardest step in my not even started yet career. Applying for jobs around Nottinghamshire as a marketing assistant and the agonising wait to hear back. A rejection or an interview? Either is scary. You either have to continue to apply or prepare for an interview. An interview which you have no idea what they are going to ask ‘What are your strengths, your weaknesses, when have you used teamwork’ are a common trend. Each interview has been answered differently as those nervous start to kick in.

Several rejections and interviews later… I’m still yet to find a job in the field of my degree, however, I only graduated a week ago so I still have so much hope. I currently work part time as a climbing instructor (I know so not related to marketing) a job I have done for 3 years. I help Dalmatian Systems weekly with anything they want me to do as they have been wonderful to me when I needed help, therefore I am now in the position to give back to them!

10 years later from that GCSE decision I am now a 23-year-old, a graduate and through all this, the biggest lesson I have learnt… Always listen to your parents, even if you don’t want to!

graduation hat throw
Derby University – Class of 2017

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