When I turned 16 I dropped out of school. I’d hated the experience since I started secondary school at 11 years old and it had only gotten worse from then. Dropping out was a huge relief for me.
I went to community college the next year to study for and take the GCSE exams that I had missed by dropping out of school. I managed to get an A in maths on my first try and it felt great, my teacher even suggested that some of the work I had done was worthy of A-level work.
So the next year I decided to try A-level out, except I went to a local sixth form in a secondary school instead of returning to the community college, which turned out to be a huge mistake.
The exact same culture that I had left behind when I was 16 was pretty much what I was subjected to in sixth form, and I just checked out mentally pretty much. I realised that, besides how much a negative learning environment can reduce your ability to learn, I hadn’t learned enough at school at GCSE level to be prepared for A-level at the time.
So I got an ungraded on the first year maths and ended up dropping the whole thing. I should have stayed with the community college, the mindset from almost all the students at the college was that everyone was either eager to learn or making the most of their second chance at getting a decent grade.
But I had flown through the GCSE exam first try, so at some point, I was really good at maths, good enough to miss much of the learning and still get a really good grade. I’d missed a ton of GCSE foundations that I needed to build on for A-level but I definitely had the potential to do it, I’d just lost the motivation.
I still have that potential, and the motivation is coming back.
The exams I have in August are basically maths, A-level maths judging from the mock papers. There is a little advanced stuff in there but it’s also just further A-level maths (Linear Algebra is even in there, just in matrix form only, it’s probably a good sign that I recognise it).
I have the textbooks, I have the revision guides, I have the online resources and I have the will, to be good at maths again.