Lucy Parsons, a former pupil, returned to Farlington School on Friday November 13 to present certificates and prizes at the annual GCSE and A Level certificate presentation and prize-giving evening.
Lucy delighted the guests with her witty, well-observed and timely speech. She said ‘I was initially honoured. What a wonderful opportunity to pass on some ‘words of wisdom’. This honour was swiftly replaced with the crippling thought ‘well, why the heck are they asking me?!’
Neither Lucy nor the audience need have worried as she spoke eloquently and with passion about her career at school and beyond. Lucy left Farlington in 2006 and went on to study sociology at University. After graduation she was unsure which career to pursue, but knew she wanted her own business.
After a couple of different marketing and events roles, sourced through social media and contacts providing invaluable experience, Lucy decided to take the plunge and go solo. She now runs her own up-and-coming creative marketing co. and works with brands including Rolls-Royce plc.
At the outset one of the questions Lucy posed was what she would have wanted to hear on such an occasion when she was at school. Her advice is sound:
You’re going to mess up. You’re going to make mistakes and fall on your butt. You will learn and become stronger from it.
Love what you do. You’ve got to find what you love doing – and that is true in and out of work. Find what you love, excel at it and reap the rewards.
Have passion. You’ve got to have things which keep your mind occupied and stimulated away from work.
Take it seriously. Even if it’s just a temporary role, take it seriously and make a good impression.
Trust your gut. Learn to trust your instinct.
Make good connections. Be kind, courteous and generous in your time for others.
Play on your strengths. Find your strength and utilise it. Accept what are not your strengths, and focus on what are.
Having dealt these factors Lucy went on to speak directly to the girls telling them exactly how it is:
Social media is not real life.
Turn your phone off. Cutting the umbilical cord between you and your phone is not going to kill you.
Understand that clothing labels are only there to sell clothes. Shops don’t care if you’re a size 10. It is neither classy nor comfortable to wear something which is garrotting you. Buy the size up.
Never ask someone to do something that you’re not prepared to do yourself. Full stop.
Have an opinion, but accept that people are also entitled to theirs.
Exercise. Break a sweat a few times a week.
Travel. Visit new places and explore new cultures.
Wear a proper fitting bra. It’s all well and good having perkies now – but armpit warmers are not where you want to be in 30 years’ time. And while you’re at it, check them too. Every month, give them a squeeze!
Give. Whether it’s your time, your support, your love or your advice.
Lucy concluded by reiterating that things don’t always go to plan and that we are taught how to succeed, but not how to fail. She went on to say that ‘happiness is a subjective term, and something that can only be defined by you. But amongst everything else that your journey through life takes you on, seek out your happiness and share it.’
Amidst the clink of celebratory glasses, the sounds of laughter, of girls catching up with one another after their first half-term at university and of proud parents and staff, it was wonderful to hear happiness resonate around the room.
Report and picture contributed by Farlington School.