To begin I feel that I must mention that my sister and I are exceptionally hard workers. I can’t attest to her motivation, but mine was to get out. To leave my hometown before it swallowed me and my dreams.

Ever since I was old enough to understand the power of my education, which was pretty young, I’ve always put it first. I read a lot of books in primary school, many which were ‘beyond my reading age’, but Dickens, Austen and eventually Harry Potter enlightened me as to what my education could do. I wanted to be an author back then, I think if the chance arose I would still take it.

I entered secondary school and the world of real exams and hard work began. I was brought up to understand that there is no easy way in life; my dad began his working life as a coal miner and my mum has only just completed her degree, and together they’ve instilled in me a work ethic that sort of makes me a bitch. My education will always come first in life; well at least until I have a stable job and can feasibly support myself. It’s a big nasty world out there, and school doesn’t teach you about it.

Maybe my trouble with school was the fact that I wanted to be out of there as soon as possible. Many of my class mates will never have a good job, I can tell you that now; they won’t leave the town we grew up in and in a couple of decades time will regret not paying attention in school. Most of them who wanted to be out of school, just didn’t go. Where I had dreams, still have dreams, of moving far away. School wasn’t the right place for me, but after having so many people put me down the only thing I could do to prove myself to the adults was to achieve something they never thought possible.

I’ve fought my way through the compulsory schooling system, and worked through my A levels, to be sitting in University Halls of Residence studying my degree. Throughout that I had the pressures of the system and the expectations of my teachers pushing me forwards. I could often be found suffering the affects of sleep deprivation (usually self induced) and my teachers could only tell my parents that I wasn’t working hard enough.

I’m not yet 20, and I’m still working hard to prove myself. I go without sleep, and sometimes skip meals, because my education comes first. My body feels so much older than it should because I’ve spent so long hunched over textbooks and homework that I wasn’t outside much as a child.

One day it’ll all pay off, or so I tell myself. I’ll have a nice house, a flash car and two beautiful children (husband optional), and I’ll be able to look at what I have and be happy with my lot.