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A little about me - from getting a 'D' in GCSE PE to becoming a Fitness & Nutrition coach....

green blog title image with a smiling girl with her arms out and text saying hi there i'm kirsty so glad to have you join us

Let's step back to 2004 (Gosh I feel old writing that!)

I'm in Year 10, my attitude is bigger than my size 7 trainers and the only thing that gets me to show up to school is my hockey coach who threatens to kick me off the squad if I'm caught smoking or bunking off just one more time!..... At least, that's the picture my teachers might have painted (and did, to my parents).

In actual fact, I didn't hate school, I just got bored quickly if I didn't find subjects relatable or enjoyable. I was very outdoorsy and sporty and always on the go, so sitting in a class wasn't my favourite thing to do.

I had been in the school hockey team since year 8 and I loved it! I was at every practise after school, we were good and generally did well in the county tournaments, and then in Year 9 we became a really good team. I was now playing for the Under 14's, Under 16's and Under 18's and we were winning everything! We went to Cardiff hoping to become Welsh Under 18 champions but unfortunately we were pipped to the post and lost 1-0 (a story for another day) but we were so proud we'd made it that far!

In Year 10 I took Health & Social Care, Sociology, PE & Art (I am not arty! I liked the teacher, my friends were taking it and I didn't want to do any other subjects in that block)

Looking back, they were the most hands on / interactive subjects, and the ones I did well in.

I got 2 A's in H&S care in Year 11 - I loved the teacher, she asked and listened to our opinions, we went out to visit H&S settings and it felt relatable towards a career / family situations that I could apply it to.

PE - my favourite subject - other than that 1 hour a week where we were sat in a hut staring at a board being talked at about tendons and muscles. Yawn. Not only was sitting still my least favourite way to learn, it was never made relatable. Had that teacher related any of it to my hockey playing, to something in everyday life, to anything other than "You have to pass this as well as your practical you know" then maybe I'd have found it interesting. However....

I got an A* in my practical, happy days! Yet, my poor theory brought my overall score down to a D, which highly disappointed my Hockey coach let me tell you!!!

The thought of doing another 2 years of classroom learning was grim but I didn't know what I wanted to do so I signed up for 6th form. Within 2 months I had dropped down to just 1 subject, Accounting, and negotiated that I did 3 hours on a Monday with the pupils who came from another school to study it, and the usual 2 hour lesson on a Friday. This meant I could work full time to pay for whatever I was going to do other than sit in a classroom to get a career going.

I spent the next few years working whilst doing different college courses in the evening including Counselling, HR and Management.

I went travelling to Australia twice, the second time working for the Department of Education (ironic I know!) who gave me an open job offer should I ever want to return to Australia.

Fast forward to lockdown in 2020 - I'm 31, I'm managing 2 very successful and busy cafes where I mentor staff from the age of 13 and I love seeing them develop and grow with the business and in their personal lives; but I'm ready for a new challenge.

Combining 2 of my favourite things - food and the gym - into a career seems really obvious now when I look back; and as a coach I use so many of the different skills I have gained through trying different courses, working with many different characters and handling unexpected situations.

I did all my learning online and passed my exams with flying colours, because despite it technically being classroom learning - it was something I was interested in and could see a career building from. Goes without saying I also passed all my practical's with flying colours or I wouldn't be writing this 😂

So, to bring it back to GCSE's and A Levels - here's a few important points:

  1. Not one of my clients has asked me what grades I got in PE.

  2. Every course I have done since leaving school, I have been asked about my preferred learning style and discussed how not everyone learns the same. It would of course be impossible for schools to cater to this for all their pupils, but it is important to know that if you don't get the grades you want, maybe you just need to try approaching that subject area from a different angle, or think outside the box on what it is you like about that subject area and see what other avenues there are for you to try.

  3. The pressure at exam times is way beyond what it was when I sat my 11 exams. If you're not someone who works well under pressure, there's a good chance your score might not reflect your ability, so a more practical approach after high school could be better suited for you.

  4. You can change your career multiple times in your life and still be successful. There are so many more options available now. I have been a waitress, a Will's and Estate Management assistant, a PA, and other roles before opening my business. I have learnt skills in every single one of those roles that is beneficial to me now as a coach.

Thanks for reading, and if you resonate with this yourself or for your children / family members, then I hope you found it beneficial. Yes it's important to work hard, but there are bigger measures than just your exam grades. Build up practical skills and experience, try things out to see if you like them - from jobs to different styles of learning, and enjoy the process!

I'll put a link to my website below so you can subscribe to my site if you'd like to follow my blog and view my other posts. If you're looking for coaching, you'll find more info and ways to get in touch on there too.

Kirsty x

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