MSYP column - Exams not the only pathway

Jamie Murray MSYP for Bute, pictured in London.
Jamie Murray MSYP for Bute, pictured in London.

It is that time of year every student dreads. We are well and truly into the meat of the exam period in Scotland.

School and college students are half-way through exams and many university students have begun their four-month annual holiday!

Having been through exam season a number of times and with the pressure of coursework deadlines upon many young people within Argyll & Bute, I want to wish every person my very best wishes.

I’d like to reiterate a point that I believe is always crucial to remember, although exams can seem like the be all and end all and that your entire future depends on them, please keep in mind there are various pathways to successful careers and exciting futures.

After receiving my fifth-year results, I was well and truly devastated. I didn’t understand how my hard-work wasn’t being rewarded. It was only when I realised that being placed against the same defined rules of what is right and wrong in the eyes of the SQA, there was inevitably going to be people who didn’t fit within their standards.

On leaving school, I attended college and now find myself with four conditional offers to go off to university after the successful completion of my HND qualification.

I left school thinking I was going to fall behind other people my age but in fact, I am the same level as the majority and I have the practical skills from college to back up the theory. Everything worked out in the end despite my worrying and feeling as though I wasn’t on the ‘path I should be’.

When I was in London last month for the Commonwealth Youth Forum I attempted to meet up with Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll & Bute, but sadly our diaries were unable to match up so I will be writing to Brendan in the hope to meet up with him in the near future to discuss issues brought forward to me by the young people within our constituency. Please get in touch if you have any issues with topics of conversation you’d like to get his take on.

I’ve since spoken at the additional support for learners conference in Edinburgh where I drove home the point that now is the time to meaningfully engage all young people in Scotland on this issue. Especially those with additional support needs. Now is the time to invite SYP to help make recommendations on the way forward that young people believe is the most appropriate. Now is the time to adopt a rights-based approach by letting us in on the conversation. Young people are the stakeholders who must not be forgotten. It was a very interesting day with a mixture of viewpoints and opinions.

I now look ahead to the SYP AGM in June where my time as SYP trustee and leader of the award-winning SYP creative communications team comes to an end after an enjoyable and educational year.

I’ve been able to see the dedication of our MSYPs across the country as well as our incredible staff team who do an amazing job, working with young people every day to try and improve the lives of young people the length and breadth of our country and it has been an honour to work them all.