Let’s be honest teenagers have a bit of a stereotype of lazing around in bed, getting up at midday and spending the afternoon and evening on social media or their XBox.

Now before you all jump up and down getting ‘angsty’ with me – I know that statement is not true. I know because I’ve read your personal statements and your CVs; infact in 12 years at KEVI that’s roughly 2700 personal statements! I know how hard you study, how many hours you work to save money, how much volunteering goes on, how much music and sport is played and how beautiful the art  and drama is that’s created. As a Sixth Form team we are blown away year on year by the commitments you make to give your time and energy.

What makes you do that? What’s your driving force?

If you know what your personal drive is, then right now you might be coping well in the lockdown. If you’ve struggled to find your driving force during Sixth Form, maybe struggled with decision making and focussing, then this strange new world we’re in may be really impacting on you.

Natasha Devon recently wrote an article for The Guardian, aimed largely at university students but I think it’s relevant to you too. She is an author and campaigner who works in schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK. She was also previously the government’s mental health champion for schools.

Natasha’s article is about how to knuckle down and keep focussed during the lockdown, and the importance of being motivated. Motivated people are successful. I don’t mean financially (although some may be), I mean they are fulfilled. They’ve identified what they want to achieve and got on with it. For that you need to know what your driving force is.

“The most common driving forces I encounter are a desire to make a difference, community and socialising, freedom and independence, fairness and justice, and competition.”


When I was in Sixth Form it was the environment, climate change, pollution and conservation. That drove me to study to be the first in my family to go to university, I wanted to save the world, starting with dolphins! I still care deeply about these issues but in a different way now. My driving force now is to provide for and protect my family.

She goes on to suggest ways of identifying your driving force (What item would you take to a desert island? What item would you rescue from a burning building? What situation makes you riled enough to fire off an “Annoyed of Morpeth” email?)

During the lockdown you’ve got time to think – probably a bit too much! And for the first time in about 15 years your day isn’t ruled by a bell. So what are you doing now you don’t HAVE to get up for school? Are you using your driving force? Are you trying to make yourself a better, rounder, more complete person?

I’ve sent out links to lots of online courses that you can access, that might be helpful. They’re not all academic! Some of them are based around specific skills. You could though be using this time to learn something new, there are amazing programmes on TV, Facebook and YouTube to teach you all sorts of new skills (along with Joe Wicks PE class and my online Pilates we’re also learning to play ukuleles in this house!). Employers of the future are going to want to know what you did with this time. Did you study (and for those of you off to uni in the Autumn this is important)? Did you work? Did you volunteer? Did you learn something about yourself? It’s up to you but choose something you can enjoy and find rewarding. Choose something that fulfils YOUR driving force.


Natasha Devon – The Guardian

Year 13 Employability Links

Future Learn

Open Uni



University Text Books Online (check your uni course reading list first and see if you can get ahead of the game)

Buzz Quiz – Strengths and Weaknesses


Article by Fiona Long

Post 16 Student Mentor