Teach yourself

TL;DR - The grade alone is not an indicator.

This post is also available on Medium

On the 15th of August 2013, I received some bad news that I didn’t get into my first or second choice university and that I achieved poor grades. Like anybody, I was completely gutted. I knew I worked very hard throughout the year. But there was a part of me that felt that grades on its own are just not enough.

If you knew what you wanted to be since you were 13, then you would know what is required to get there. At my school there was no Computer Science / programming related courses, I even asked the teachers.


I couldn’t do Physics or Maths at A Level because of my grades.

it was all grades, grades grades.

(There was only A Level ICT where they teach you how to use Microsoft Access, Word, yeah the boring stuff.)

I didn’t go straight to Google and type “Computer Science” (to be honest at the time I didn’t know what computer science was) I was just curious about how programs worked and this was before the mobile apps revolution. I wrote a was a Nintendo DS homebrew application called ’MunchiToy’. It’s nothing more than a small DS physics demo program. But this proved that I learned by doing and I didn’t need school to teach or motivate me. I motivated myself to learn programming.

I’m now learning other things related to Computer Science, I’m now writing my own tools, and going to university.

I’m not trying to say, forget school completely, just don’t rely on just the grades alone for success, show something amazing and unique that you created as well. By teaching myself (programming), I’ve learned more than what I learned at the end of A Level ICT and most of the resources are online and are free.

But my ICT teacher said this to everyone in a lesson:

“Getting the grades only shows that you can study.”

In my honest opinion I do not believe that poor grades ultimately reflects anyone’s intelligence, or that passing exam after exam would mean that I’m instantly a smart genius, Sure getting good grades does open many doors and opportunities. But, there must be more to life than just exams and grades.

if you are that person who didn’t get good grades, determination and ambition will lead you.

Don’t give up & teach yourself.

“Auto-Didacticism (self-learning) is the most fulfilling thing.”Nick D’Aloisio, Founder of Summly

Written by on