When I joined Frensham in September 2015, I had achieved average results at GCSE at an all girls school in Guildford. I wasn't particularly bright or booksmart. I was painstakingly average. I chose practically all new subjects at A Level, desperate to find something I was good at.
During my first year I had made some brilliant memories and some even better friends, but this was all at the expense of my work. I let my grades slip, leaving me feeling more than disappointed on results day. The next year, I decided that I could do better and I must. Knowing I wanted to take a gap year, I focused on my exams and left my UCAS application until the following year... I planned to see what grades I got before deciding where and what to apply for. I was just as likely to get 3 D's as I was to get 3 A's - no one could really predict what the outcome would be.
So whilst I channeled a lot of energy into my studies, I also developed a healthy work ethic that has stood my in good stead at university. You see, Frensham supported me and facilitated my learning, but the greatest lesson I learned was that if I wanted to do well, at the end of the day, I had to do it myself. It had to come from me... not Matt or Charlie or Hannah or Barry (my wonderful teachers). I had to get out of bed, go to the lessons, ask questions, engage with the content and put it into practice. This is as much like university as you'll get. From the 9am lectures to essay deadlines, at university no one can make you work, or get out of bed for that matter. You have to do it. So at Frensham, I learned this. I learned you reap what you sow. I learned that what you put in, you usually get out. So I worked hard and I managed a respectable ABB.
Grades are one thing, though. Frensham helped me to realise so much about myself, including what I wanted to do, what I valued, and who I really was. I know that sounds painfully cheesy, trust me. But between chats with Emily in marketing and lunches in the library with Noel, not to mention countless pep talks from Becks and Matt, I developed a strong sense of self that I took with me into my gap year and beyond. I realised my strengths and my weakness, and that what makes me different is what makes me special, as is the case with everyone. The world would be boring if we were all the same.
The summer I left I climbed Kilimanjaro with Nick, Linn and Michelle before starting work in a primary school. I applied to 5 universities and decided to go to the University of Southampton (close enough to pop home for a home cooked meal, but far enough to be independent) and then I went solo travelling - something I could never have done without the lessons I learned at Frensham.
I am now completing my final year in Southampton... in a global pandemic. Not quite what I had in mind... oh well. Frensham enabled me to see my potential and to go for it. Why set limits on your capabilities or your dreams? There is a whole wide world out there. From sky diving to scuba diving, I have had so many adventures, but my greatest one, truly was Frensham. Without that adventure, I'm not sure I would truly understand the beauty of the world and importance of being myself.
I am pleased to announce that next year I will be completing my teacher training and Masters at the University of Cambridge. Not something I ever thought I'd be able to say. My dream now is to be able to come back to Frensham as a teacher and to help children realise their own potential - to give others what Frensham gave me: hope and belief.
Thank you, Frensham. I am proud to be an OF.