Saturday, August 22, 2009

Stupid Things I've done - Part 2 - Accounting Degree

At school, I achieved well. I got 4 A*s and 8 A's in my GSCEs. In my AS Levels I got 4 A's. Then it was time to apply to university. I was lucky because I wasn't really restricted in what I could apply to do, but some things were influenced by weird and strange events at school and government level which lead to my academic career taking a different path to what it might have done. So lets go down memory lane and see what happened...

Early Entry GCSEs - Age 15

At my school I was lucky enough to sit my some of my GSCEs one year early. For those of you new to the English education system, GCSEs are the public exam that we sit at 16 years old. At this time I was really into my Mathematics and Science and was planning on taking these as A Level (the equivalent to University entrance exams we take at 18). However, after the successful completion of my early entry, I (along with students in the same boat as me) we had a year of literally doing nothing in our science classes. Yes nothing! Ok, we had to go to class to learn about 1 page of A4 of new material over the course of a year some we could sit a pointless exam at exactly the same level as we'd already taken. Did we have any motivation? No. What is all a big waste of time? Yes. Did it kill any desire to study science I had? Yes. You see, at 15, I really liked Biology and Physics. I liked learning about living things and how they interact and adapt to conditions and changes. I like the real life mathematics in physics. But that year killed any enthusiasm I had for those subjects.

Why did we have a year 'off'?

Well, that's a combination of the government and the incompetence of the headteacher at our school. Our year was somewhat of a 'Guinea Pig' year. Lots of changes occurred. Ours was the first year where the SATS were compulsory at 11 years old. The A Level system was also changed from sitting one exam at the end of year two, to sitting exams at the end of each year. Because we took the early entry and the transition between the 2 systems, we couldn't study for the old A-Level or the new AS Level. This left the school with a choice between giving us 2 years to study for the new AS exam, which we all wanted to do because it would give us an advantage, we'd be learning new material and we'd get a free insight into the subject before we actually had to decide or to make us sit more GSCEs to make the school's results seem that much better. We the powers that be decided that the league tables were more important than the learning of the students so we went to class and did nothing but play cards.

Making the decision for Uni

After all that nonsense, I decided to study Maths, Economics and History at A-Levels. Whilst I enjoyed Maths, I liked it to be more related to real life. I also couldn't grasp all of the concepts 100% so I knew fairly early on that I wouldn't study pure mathematics at university. Where the decision lay was between business and history. A Levels were my first exposure to a business related subject. I was also lucky enough to have an excellent teacher and I loved it. I excelled in a couple of the exams and I developed a genuine interest in the economy, the decisions made by the treasury and global markets. However, the second year of A-Level saw our teacher moved on to be replaced with a far than adequate replacement. I think I learnt at this time that having a good teacher can inspire you, but having a dire teacher can really put you off a subject. The fruits of this turn out were borne out when I was selecting my course. Previously I was trying to decide between which type of economics to choose, but as the decision had to be made in the first term of the 2nd year of A-Level my attention switched to more general business related fields and to cut a boring story short, I chose Accounting and Finance.

Why do I regret the decision and regard it as a stupid thing to do?

Well, as pure subjects I really enjoyed studying History and Economics. I love learning about History as a hobby so I thought that I should leave it that way believing that studying may kill my love for it. Also, the only job I could think of was teaching if I took it at Uni at that didn't really appeal at that time. (Ironically I'm a teacher now....) Economics was killed for me by a poor teacher. Therefore I decided to try something new. The practical sounding nature of the course 'Accounting and Finance' appealed as it sounded job related. Did I think about the potential money of a job in finance? Yes. Did I think about how boring it would be to study? No.

The result

I had 3 years of boredom. I hated it. Well, the courses that were related to accounting and finance anyway! I had some fun studying law and general business. Anything that required me to write an essay or write a report I enjoyed. This actually surprised me as at school I never realised that I was good at writing essays or that I actually liked them more than mathematics. Bizarre. Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing! If I had my time again, I probably would've studied History and more than likely become a history teacher at secondary school. Studying Accounting was a complete mistake. I learned nothing from my course, I haven't found any of it useful and that time killed my desire to study. Funny how teachers can influence your decision making isn't it!

1 comment:

  1. Mark, download "Dan Carlin's Hardcore History Podcast" from itunes or
    It's amazing.