Does School Prepare You For A Career?

I have no idea whether my experience of the education system is typical but I have to laugh when I look back at my school days.

Obviously I was taught academic subjects but it seems to me that my schools worked overtime to introduce me to a raft of potential careers that would not require academic prowess.

They clearly believed that the likelihood of academic success in my case was somewhat limited and so they went all out to find something else that I could be good at with interesting results.


Without my knowledge the teaching staff of my junior school must have been thrashing through my options from the moment I arrived. There is no other explanation for my immediate secondment to the petting zoo which my school bizarrely operated for the benefit of the pupils.The zoo featured a variety of small animals including a black guinea pig called Percy who was to fall under my care.

Guinea pig


This care included taking Percy home which didn’t go down too well with my parents who were no doubt relieved when poor Percy expired just two weeks into my endeavours. His passing was not my fault (honestly) but did cast rather a dark shadow over my work!


When I transferred to secondary school I had thought that more attention might be paid to my academic work but no! My efforts were obviously beneath notice and so I found myself diverted to extra classes in arts and crafts. This plan rather backfired when it was discovered that I had the artistic ability of a two year old and had not progressed beyond matchstick men. I was hastily removed to pottery classes where a catalogue of collapsed vases and unidentifiable objects d’art soon put an end to my presence.


I was then sent to the metalwork department and a career in engineering or sheet metal work now beckoned. Sadly having seen my attempts at making a coat hook the teacher decided that designing jewellery was more my thing and tried to teach me to carve metal pendants and to embellish them with coloured enamels.

Jewellery Design

I really enjoyed this work and had visions of being Britain’s next great jewellery designer. I was already dreaming up my first capsule collection and the name of my brand. I was also haunting jewellery shops and learning about precious metals but all to no avail. There are many great jewellery designers in this country but I am not one them. Apparently my designs were hideous!

Marine Biology

The only career left in which to train me at that school was marine biology but as I had already been forced to drop biology from my studies due to a complete lack of comprehension I was merely left to care for the large fish in the art room. News of Percy’s premature death had not reached my secondary school and so I was permitted to care for Oscar in the second attempt at making a zookeeper of me. This all went rather well until it emerged that the benign looking Oscar was actually a piranha at which point he was hastily removed from the premises and I faced a future on benefits.

I was a bit of a practical joker at school and had a tendency to transgress from time to time. I guess it was presumed that I was trouble and that studying just wasn’t for me. They tried very hard to find me a potential career that did not require qualifications but they failed.  I did learn that I am a terrible artist, a truly horrific jewellery designer and that I don’t get on well with guinea pigs. I am sure that my skills with piranhas could have proved useful but as it turned out it was my GCSE’s, A Levels and honours degree that came in handy. I was rubbish at biology and I couldn’t draw for toffee but someone wasn’t paying attention because I was good at some things, it just wasn’t guinea pigs!

Sally Stacey is a professional writer and not, sadly, a zookeeper. She overcame her teacher’s doubts over her ability to learn but has never attempted the care of a guinea pig again.

By Knijntje143 at Dutch Wikipedia (Transferred from nl.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Author: SmartStudent

SmartStudent is an educational portal that provides information & advice to aspiring students. regarding applying to university, choosing a course, what to take to university, finding student accommodation and much more.

Share This Post On
blog comments powered by Disqus