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  • Writer's pictureSiobhan Rhodes

To our fellow adoptees we each have some advice pertinent to exam results time...

We are Adam, Sian and Siobhan. We came together as siblings through adoption, back in the 80s our parents first adopted Adam and then later twins Sian and Siobhan. As babies our tiny worlds were flipped completely upside down when we left our families of birth. But despite this rocky start to life we have been very fortunate, and our parents have given us all the love, empathy and support to reach our full potential. Being adopted is very much part of who we are, it influences our lives but does not define them. Whilst school wasn’t always easy we have each carved out exceptional careers and are very proud of our achievements.

Adam – Head of Sales at Nufins & Visual Systems

“I got bang on average exam results at 16, I decided further education wasn’t for me and I went straight into work. I got involved with two fantastic organisations with coaches and mentors. I ended up with two post graduate diplomas and I’m just embarking on an Masters degree. I’m Head of Sales of a £110m Business and Director of my own start-up. Exams aren’t the end of the world. Aptitude at 16 isn’t all you need. I think it’s hugely important to listen to people, make informed decisions and take good advice on board. Apply yourself, learn, listen and get a good mentor. Care about your career and hold those above you to account for your own development.”

Siobhan – Business Analyst at Action for Children

“I was disappointed with my exam results. I knew I was smart but because I’m dyslexic, the way we’re assessed in exams doesn’t always bring out the best in me. I was left with quite low confidence in my own skills and abilities. If you’d have asked my school teachers if I’d ever become an analyst they would have said no way! But one day, to escape the monotony of my day job, I took the opportunity to help out an analytical team. It turned out I was really good at analysis, and I really enjoyed it too. I wanted to learn more and soon I was coding, analysing data and my findings were having a real impact. Now I have experience in analysis, reporting, insight, IT and solution design. Whilst I move around quite a lot, one thing that has always run through my career is that I’m really motivated by doing the right thing. I decided working in the not for profit sector fit with my values and I’m proud that the word I do helps make the world a better place. My advice is don’t find a job, find a purpose. Try as many different things as you like, learn on the job and find the thing that gets you out of bed every day. When you find your real purpose, you’ll be fuelled with unstoppable energy to succeed”

Sian – Head of Marketing and Communications at Cast Theatre in Doncaster

“You are not defined by the hour-or-so you spent in an exam hall one summer in 2019. I won’t say exam results don’t matter, because for lots of reasons they do, and it’s okay to be disappointed after all the hard work you’ve put in. Be honest with yourself and give time for grieving from set-backs or disappointments. Instead of dusting yourself off, recover so that you can come back stronger and more determined. As an adopted person like me, you know that life is a journey, with many fresh starts and new chances but also loss and sometimes grief. In reality, nobody falls off their horse and gets back on it. Actually, you're like ‘wow, that hurt, my leg is broken, better go to hospital.’. We adopted people know that recovery is an important part of progress. As a senior leader in the arts and culture sector, I can vouch that any journey worth having includes hearing the word no, closed doors and people who underestimate me. So, never apologise for taking time to reflect and recover because your next steps will be easier and stronger without that broken leg.
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