Dear me at 16:
Your life does not belong to anyone else.
It does not belong to your dad who thinks arts subjects such as English and Classical Studies are paving stones on the road to nowhere.
It does not belong to your teacher who thinks that his subject is perhaps not quite right for you, despite your own interests and your exam results to the contrary.
It does not even belong to your future self, who is thinking about the best way to get a decent job.
The truth is, your life only belongs to you as you are right now. Sure, your dad and your teacher may have a certain degree of wisdom based on their own age and experience, and it’s right to make use of that, but you also have some experience. And let’s be honest, it’s a long time since they were 16.
And as for your future self, i.e. me: Despite all my planning, I certainly didn’t expect things to turn out like they have. And as far as you’re concerned, I don’t exist.
Only you know what it’s truly like to be you at this moment in time. Whatever decision you make about your education will have a significant impact for years to come. But no one knows how significant. So, just relax and enjoy yourself.
Pravin is a writer and academic. His blog, greenphd.wordpress.com, was meant to be an account of researching for a PhD but, as this letter highlights, things never quite turn out as one would expect.