Here Danny Farber, who is currently studying for a BA Hons in Business Studies, shares the story of his unexpected metamorphosis from ‘science geek’ to retailer extraordinaire in the making … and the influences that got him there:
One of the most important decisions in my lifetime has been what do I want to study at University!
When I was 16, I was a ‘Science geek’ who adored Motor Sport and would actually revel whenever I had the chance to talk about aerodynamics and possibilities on how to get more down force on the car (I still do by the way). Thus when I joined Sixth Form, I studied Physics, Chemistry and Maths. If you have never had the chance to study these, they are extremely difficult subjects to learn especially when you have all three together.
I was one of those ‘Science geeks’ who didn’t really do much revision when I had my GCSE’s but was successful, so when the first set of A-Levels exams came in the January and I had still kept the same revision timetable, it was a massive reality check. I ended up with 3 U’s, which was something I had never envisaged. So this was when I first started to question myself in my lifetime, and started to begin exploring possible other ventures. Obviously the number 1 lesson I learnt was that I had to work 100% harder, it was nowhere near the amount that I had to put in. I was well and truly humbled by this and went into my shell even more.
However, with lots more revision, when it came to the summer and after resits, I ended up with C’s across the board, which upon reflection was probably a big save after such a disastrous start. But even still, from that summer, that doubt and questioning was still on my mind. So when I had the chance to work in a supermarket part time, I grabbed it with both hands. (Luckily, my Auntie was a section leader there, so this confirms my theory, it’s who you know, not what you know).
Throughout my childhood, I was always seen as the brainy kid who is ‘useless’ working with his hands according to my Mum. So what would I be like in a Supermarket hustling and bustling to get done what was required of me? This is when I started to surprise myself and started to spot another opportunity. I found the work brilliant (and still do) and gained the confidence of my Section Leaders and Store Manager. But most importantly, my personality came out of its shell, where confident Danny was born and I would say where I began to mature even more as an adult.
So when applications for UCAS began for Universities, I had a massive dilemma! Do I go and study Orthoptics, Radiotherapy and Oncology, Motor Sports Engineering, or do I go and risk everything and go and study a subject I’ve never done at school, but have fallen in love with, due to my job? This was my list of courses I would have liked to have done, not which Universities I would like to attend, which was quite different to my peers.
You’ll have obviously guessed I risked it all. When researching all the possibilities, I noticed that the chance of me getting a job at the end of it, in that particular field, were slim. My confidence was and still is so high in Retail that I applied to study Business here. This confidence grew even more when my Manager offered me a Section Leader job a couple of weeks before A-Level results came out, but I knew University was something I wanted to do and that if I could show them how well I work, and the experience I keep gaining, to have a degree in Business at the side of my name, surely could make me a good candidate for getting one of these Manager jobs that I now crave.
So how am I getting on you ask? Quite well I would have to say. I managed to get an overall grade of 2:1 (64%) in my first year which gave me even more confidence particularly when I had achieved a higher grade compared to people who had studied Business at GCSE and A-Levels for instance. But I don’t think this is due to ability or intelligence, but the hard work ethic I have adopted since my ‘show up’ at Sixth Form and my time at ASDA. However, I would say I did significantly well because throughout my stay at University I have kept on working for my local Supermarket, balancing my time at Uni to work over 16 hours every week with a group of people who have and still give me more confidence in life, in a job that I am adore and even developing my own ideas on how I would run a Store if I ever get the opportunity (hopefully).