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Advice I’d Give My 18 Year Old Self

A level Results Day

Today thousands of 18 years old will open an envelope which will tell them whether or not they have been accepted to study at university. In this blog, I could go down the route of saying everything that is wrong with the University application policy, or with higher education in general, but I promised myself my blog posts would be digestible and not essays.

I’ve been asked numerous times over the last few days what “Words of Advice” I’d give to young people getting their results today, so to answer that question I need to mentally go back 6 years to when I was in that situation to understand the mindset they will be in.

Me at 18:

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There are 2 parts to results day – before and after.

Everyone is going through the same situation before, more than likely you’d have a restless night before. Waking up nervous, overthinking and analyzing every possible outcome.


When you get your results, it goes 1 of 2 ways.

Agony or Ecasty.

You either celebrate the success or drown your sorrows. There really isn’t a middle ground – it is that cut throat.


The Future

Just like that – one glance at a piece of paper and your immediate future has been decided.

At the same time this is perhaps the most exciting but daunting time in anyone’s life – the possibility to move somewhere new, have the freedom you’ve longed for and take on a huge challenge – while always worrying in the back of your mind it could all go horribly wrong and you’ll be back home in weeks.

My results day was Ecasty, I got into university and that was it – I completed that stage of my life successfully and began the preparation for The University of Edinburgh. Today, my little brother experienced the other side of the emotional rollercoaster by just missing out on studying Physics at Durham University.

Right now it would feel like everything he has put in over his entire educational life (last 14 years) has gone to waste – he’s missed the next step, but he doesn’t. After ringing him earlier he genuinely seems okay and positive about the situation – unlike my mum – and I tried to understand why…

Here is what I’ve concluded – He is a lot more mature than I was at 18.

The advice I gave him, was what I’d of loved to have been told when I was at 18. Life is a constant game, you’re battling to be the best version of yourself and that’s what you need to focus on. The only person you are ever competing against is you and you shouldn’t compare yourself to others.

I believe this.

This extends beyond education, looking at people you aspire to be like – if you compare yourself to an idol or individual you will constantly benchmark yourself against them and always feel like you’re underperforming. For example, in running my aim is to always improve on what I do – if I compared myself to the best 10,000m runner (Mo Farah) I’d become dishearted by my performance.

I know this is an extreme example but the same applies for minor examples as well – looking at other people’s Instagram and lifestyles vs yours – it is very easy to assume they are in a better, happier situation then you are – however, this isn’t normally the case.


Be The Best You

My aim is simple – to be the best version of myself I can be. I know I’m very good at some things, terrible at others. When Matthew McCohanoy won the Oscar he gave the following speech – in which he stated his idol is him in 5 years time.

I’ve widely adopted this mindset – My idol is the person I am in 5 years time, when I reach that age – my idol will be me in another 5 years. This means I’m always chasing and developing myself to be the best possible version of me.

At this point, you need to keep looking forward and developing yourself as a person (beyond education) reading books and having the knowledge and ability to solve problems and interact with other people.

At 18 – What I do know didn’t exist. Social Media was in its infancy and the term blogger or influencer didnt exist, but regardless of exam results (which are forgotten about as soon as you get to university) I consistently challenged myself and took risk and opportunities when they presented themselves – this bold mindset is what created Social Chain and still remains as one of our core values within the company.

Right now – Me in 5 years doesn’t want to live with any regrets – So part of what I’m doing is using the time & money saved from not drinking (What Happens After One Year Of Not Drinking.) to learn to play the piano – along with pushing myself physically and mentally to the limits in order to be the best me I can be.

Wish me luck



To read more about my story click here Start With Why?

To read my last blog post click here: How I Managed To Give Up Alcohol


2 comments on “Advice I’d Give My 18 Year Old Self

  1. Awesome blog post mate

  2. A good read. I think any “watershed” moments like these are a good time to reflect on the next step you make – an apparent setback can actually be a chance to make a different, maybe better decision. Trust yourself. Maybe consider the guitar instead of the piano, tho – you can run with a guitar in your pack 🙂

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