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My chosen route: Mary's story

There's something for everyone after GCSEs and you don't have to follow one path.

Mary decided that A levels weren't for her...

... Don't give up in life or in your studies, keep going! Life can be hard but don't give up, you will get there!

Mary's career journey


  • Weymouth College, ESOL and Childcare Level 1
  • Level 1 Health and Social Care, English Level 1 at Walthamstow College
  • BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science, Maths Level 2 at Haringey College
  • Foundation Year in Pharmacy conditional university offers for Medway University and Kingston University


What was your learning journey?


When I was 11 years old back home in Eritrea, I was one of the top students in the school and used to win prizes for my work weekly. Sadly, my mum had become paralysed and I had to leave school and stay home to care for her as nobody else could. This was a very difficult time in my life.

When I was 14 I came to the UK alone. It was tough living without my family and not being able to speak English. I went into foster care and this was also difficult because I didn't know the people, but I kept on. Education is so important to me; I never gave up on it. Even back home when I was caring for my mom I used to study every night.

I went to Weymouth College when I was 15 and studied ESOL Level 1 (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and my English started improving. I also studied both childcare and health and social care at Level 1.

I finished the childcare course before moving to London. I moved because I didn't have any friends and I had an aunty living in London. Once I settled I went to a college in Walthamstow and finished my health and social care course and completed the English Level 1 course.

What are you doing now?


I then moved to Haringey College (CONEL) to study BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science and am now in my final year. I am also studying GCSE Maths.

I have applied to a few different universities and I have been accepted to Medway University for the foundation year in Pharmacy. I'm still waiting for a response from the others. My dream is to become a pharmacist.

My advice to other young people is don't give up in life or in your studies, keep going! Life can be hard but don't give up, you will get there!

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