Let me start by looking back.
In Year 9, I was less interested in my school subjects and never thought of my education beyond the current year. I never saw the bigger picture. I thought perhaps architecture was for me. I might have made it to university. I then joined the Swindon Scholars Programme
and now I can see that everything can change in a few years.
Being a Scholar has given me the confidence and maturity to push myself further, it's broken me out of one track thoughts and when it's coming up to difficult times with school work, it's motivated me to do more.
I had the raw skills within me, but my regular sessions with my learning mentor Becki, and the Skills4Success framework has helped me define my skills and make them work for me. For example, I've always been quite headstrong. But Becki has taught me to take that role and transfer it into a more communicative way of explaining my views to people, when working in groups.
Becki and I talked about my career goals and she encouraged me to do more research into architecture. I realised it was too 'artsy' for me and that I'm more about making things work, being a problem solver and developing a project until it's complete. Civil engineering was right for me and Villiers Park helped me see that.
A few months before my A-levels, I attended a maths Inspiring Excellence course. "I arrived tired and worn down - it was a difficult year, and I wasn't sleeping properly. But the course was revitalising. I loved working with like-minded people from different walks of life and it allowed me to re-centre my thoughts. I left full of energy, motivated, with a healthy mindset and a calm head, ready to do my A-levels.
Admittedly, I found them difficult. I know that without Villiers Park, I wouldn't have tried so hard. I wouldn't have had the foresight that civil engineering was something I enjoyed, and I wouldn't have got to my end goal.
I am now in my first few months at the University of Plymouth studying Civil and Coastal Engineering. I honestly haven't seen or heard of anything better than Villiers Park, which can work you towards university and give you the motivation, skills and confidence to go further and beyond what you ever thought you could.