Just Like You, Malala Yousafzai Was Logging On To UCAS This Morning
The Debrief: Can we just take a second and imagine her personal statement?
In the context of everything she has achieved, A-Levels might have seemed somewhat prosaic to Malala Yousafzai. In 2012, she was famously shot at close range by the Taliban for daring to speak out about girls’ education in Pakistan, and has since become a household name for being a human rights crusader, champion of gender equality, and general all-round babe. Still, logging onto UCAS is always terrifying, and even Malala probably felt slightly sick this morning as she waited to find out if she had secured a place at Oxford University.
Like so many of the other 400,000 teens who get their results today – Malala shared hers via social media, tweeting 'So excited to go to Oxford!! Well done to all A-level students - the hardest year. Best wishes for life ahead!' It’s a safe bet that her classmates, however, wouldn’t be informing 800 thousand followers, and have their names trending on Twitter shortly after.
But, can we actually just stop for a second and imagine Malala’s personal statement. It might read something like: Winner of the National Youth Peace Prize in 2011, Shortlisted for Time’s Person of the Year 2012, winner of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for gender equality in 2013, joint-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, and as of this year, the youngest ever United Nations Messenger of Peace. Or it might just be a link to her website, www.malala.org, which invests in schools in the world’s least developed nations. Meanwhile, mine contained a lie about having completed the silver Duke of Edinburgh award. Awkward.
Malala’s chosen course – philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) – has been dubbed 'the degree that runs Britain,' owing to the fact that its graduates tend to crop up all over the place in positions of serious power. Malala can count among her predecessors ex-Prime Ministers David Cameron, Edward Heath and Harold Wilson, as well as the Editor-in-Chief at The Economist Zanny Minton Beddoes, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and BBC political editor Nick Robinson. (But Gordon Brown also did History at Edinburgh like me, just sayin’.…...)
What this hopefully means though, is that in a few short years Malala will be in an even stronger position to continue her crusade for justice and help even more young women into education. It’s a poignant moment for a girl who was targeted, and almost murdered, for her simple desire to learn. So, CONGRATULATIONS Malala, may you enjoy the fresher’s flu and the 35% dominos discount. I’m jealous.
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