There’s a craze sweeping America and probably the world called “Letters to my Daughter”. My Photography girlfriends and I have often oohed and aahed reading letters from some of the great Photography Mum’s and wondered how they manage to run successful businesses, raise families and seem to have time to do everything including writing these heart warming blogs. We’ve talked about doing ones of our own one-day and that day is now. My daughter is a precious little flower, her name is Daisy and she was conceived with the help of IVF……...which, to me, makes her that little bit extra special.
I know it’s a long time before you need to decide what career path you will take but I think planting the seed of success starts early and that’s why I’ve invested a lot into your education while you’re so young. When you were two years old you started going to nursery two afternoons a week and it’s been the best money ever spent. I was so proud that you were starting your learning journey that I documented the momentous occasion. It was a proud moment indeed, the first of many.
I never really understood the importance of education, probably because of my health. I remember being in school around exam time and some people were talking about going to university and that they’d had a talk with a lady from the University when she visited the school. I wondered why I didn’t know about this earlier. Why was I just finding out about higher education now? Ok, I don’t think I had any grand plans, I guess I wasn’t thinking long term. However a decision was made on my behalf at that point in time, I was fifteen and wasn’t expected to get great exam results. Someone had decided I wasn’t worthy of a University education and I wasn’t offered “that’ meeting with the lady from the University. I guess that made me feel I was different but I told myself, who needs university anyway. I want money, I want to work now! Looking back, I do remember a conversation with my Art teacher who was head of the art department. He pointed to an article on the noticeboard about a former pupil who recently graduated from Gray's School of Art, which is one of Scotland's four art schools and is an integral part of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. He said, "that's you", he told me I was “Gray’s School of Art” material. He made no secret I was talented and I foolishly said, “Qualified in Art”, like that will get you a good job!
That’s why I want you to know now that this education path is open to you and you have a choice. Once upon a time a University education was for the wealthy and I probably thought growing up in an urban estate that it was not expected of me. This opportunity is yours for the taking and you should grab it with both hands! There’s so much time to earn money, life is long but your school days are short. I used to laugh when grown ups said school was the best days of your life and they probably would’ve been if I had made the right choices. You think you know everything at 16, but there’s so much out there that you have no idea about yet.
I have a strong belief that there’s an order in which you do things and history has shown it to be true. Some will argue that you can go back into education as a mature student but this is not an easy option. Do things in the right order; do not try to re-invent the wheel, as Nanny would say. If you miss the first opportunity it’s likely you will have responsibilities with age, a home, a car and a job that pays for it all. Take it from me, go to university after school and you wont regret it. By all means have a gap year, have fun, travel but do go to university when you are young, when you can have a great time with no responsibilities. This could be the place you might meet lifelong friends. Be free while you are young, live life because responsibilities are for old people. Choose your career carefully!
Most off all remember though, having a university education does not make you better than the next person. It does not give you a golden ticket to the best life. This comes from your inner being, the person you are inside which right now is, funny, smart, curious, affectionate, noisy and bossy. Your core values and morals are the things that will make you successful and happy in whatever you do. I have not been to university yet, hey there’s still time but I see myself as successful in many ways. I have tried, I have failed but I get back up again and you will too sweetheart.
Letters to my Daughter | 2013
Closing the circle for this month with a link back to Zoë Stewart