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Scott Begbie: Stomach-churning wait for my results still clear

Although it was some 40 years ago, I can still remember the stress of waiting for exam results.
Although it was some 40 years ago, I can still remember the stress of waiting for exam results.

As rites of passage go, having your exam results arrive is a biggie.

I feel for the poor souls who are getting slapped with the make or break news today.

I still remember, some 40 years on, the stomach-churning wait for the big brown envelope to drop through the door (none of your text or e-mail nonsense back then).

But, to be frank, that’s about as much as I do remember.

I would be hard put to tell you what grades I got in what subject, beyond it was enough to secure me a place as a trainee journalist.

In fact, a couple of years back I found my old results paper and was astonished to discover I have an O Grade (remember those) in chemistry, which I have no memory of acquiring.

Which neatly brings me to the flaw I faced in the education system in the mid 70s.

That’s the one where children (because we were) were bounced into choosing subjects for third year that determined the course of their education, their career, their life. This at an age where most kids aren’t capable of deciding what to have for breakfast.

At the time I was supposed to be making my big life choice my preferred career of either Time Lord or captain of the Enterprise were closed to me for obvious reasons involving reality.

But my mum worked for a major chemical firm and it sounded all right so I thought I’d be an industrial chemist. Hence a curriculum of chemistry, physics and mathematics – none of which I understood.

Fortunately, my other choices of modern studies and history – along with English – were a convenient fall back when about 12 months later I came to my senses and decided to be a journalist, dumping all the sciences (although not before getting that mystery O Grade, clearly).

But in the intervening 40 years, the system hasn’t changed. Kids still make choices for third year that shape their future for good – or ill.

Surely there must be a better way of helping the next generation find their feet than making shoving them in at the deep end.

Dundee showing us how it’s done

Once upon a time a trip to Dundee wouldn’t be complete without joking the best thing about the city was the road out.

Now, however, Dundee is a thriving, vibrant place with the waterfront – and the V&A as centrepiece – shaping up to be quite spectacular.

Hoardings round the construction work feature local folk in different industries talking about why they like Dundee so much. It has the air of a rising city. May I suggest a bus trip for our cooncillors to pick up some tips.

Beer tap

Booze advice bonkers

Well said to the lovely folk at CAMRA, who have taken a break from quaffing real ale to point out the official health guidelines on alcohol are nonsense.

They’ve produced a survey which points out more than half the public disagree with the official suggested consumption on the grounds it bears no relation to reality.

It’s quite simple really, if you want people to take guidance seriously then make it make sense to them or it will be ignored. As it is right now.

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.