Wednesday 30th October
My goodness this is going to have to be short for fear that my brain might just explode. I have just spent the afternoon with the lovely Mollie working on her UCAS personal statement as part of her university application. I have lost count of the number of young people I have helped over the years but I always consider it such a privilege to be asked. University land remains my 'home town' despite all the other things I have done in my life. I recognise that it has its own language and cultural expression but I also know these can be very intimidating to a 17 year old and I am therefore only too pleased to be able to help.
Mollie is applying to take film studies at a range of universities so she is in a similar area to my focus that was performing arts. I understand film as an art form but I didn't need to because Mollie really understands film. Listening to her talk about the use of film as a form of communication capable of limitless intervention was completely thrilling. Hearing the passion but fusing that with her obvious knowledge was deeply convincing. One the whole I do find young people know what they are talking about. They have a unique view on the world that I find incredibly inspiring. I am just not always convinced they have the right platforms to speak from. Too many older people believe that they know better and I think that is a huge mistake. There is no doubt that with age comes experience but it can also bring scepticism. The young aren't damage by that outlook and see the possibilities not the problems.
I have spoken before about the challenges facing our young people at this time. With such high youth unemployment we simply must be doing something wrong. I can't bear to think of young people disillusioned and feeling low worth but I know some do. I am a firm believer in having a purpose that reflects your passion. I can remember when Molly was at school and voiced her interest in animals and this was met with 'so you want to be a vet then?' A distinct and very real lack of imagination and I was just pleased that we could work with Molly to outline more options. There is a place for everyone in life but I do believe that lots of young people need help identifying where that place might be and how they might get there.
So, my job was to listen to Mollie as she shared with me her passion, understanding and intention and then help her translate that into the language that appeals to university lecturers. In my experience universities can be very precious places and they do love their words. They can spend hours over selecting just the right word and are fiercely protection over what makes their course different from the rest. Now put that alongside an application process that requires you to write one application to fit five different courses. You see the problem. That said where there is a will there is a way and if we had one thing in that room today it was a 'will'.
Over the years I will have read thousands and thousands of UCAS personal statements and sadly they are nearly all the same. That is because there is a formula that UCAS, universities and schools put out there and everyone sticks to it. We stuck to it as well but we added Mollie's USP to the process and suddenly it took on a whole new life. Trust me, there is a paragraph in the middle of her statement that will make even the most disinterested lecturer wake up and take note. That paragraph was created by Mollie as a viewfinder to how she sees sensationalism in the media and her response to that. No-one else could ever write that paragraph because this is all about her and how she makes sense of everything and I could not be more proud of her right now.
I have absolutely no doubt that all Scottish island mum readers will come together to wish Mollie every success with her application. She knows she is entering a highly competitive field so we spent some time looking at all her choices and reminding her that wherever she ends up will be fabulous because she will make it so.
The morning was spent with her Mum who runs the village newsagent and gift shop. The shop is in the middle of a major revamp so I was lending a hand with display and such like. So Bev and I had a lovely time playing with colour, texture, form and selling power. Wonderful.
Wednesday is disappearing and I have still to get my last module of Meditation through Writing course off my ipad and into the students' inboxes so must dash or they will think I have forgotten about them. If there is no rest for the wicked I am extremely wicked.
Until tomorrow. xx