WITH so much pressure on young people to perform well in exams, I am concerned for the strain it puts them under.

Before training as a journalist, I worked for a decade in mental health so I have experience of how a person's formative years can impact on their future mental health well being.

From a young age I along with many others were warned that GCSEs and A Levels set the path for our future and that is correct but it is not the end.

Exams can be retaken and paths can be diverted and I wish more young people were told this rather than thinking exams are an all-or-nothing scenario.

Each year, stories emerge of people getting disappointing results even taking their own lives.

This is deeply saddening as life is precious.

Even with not so good grades, alternative careers paths are out there, from a diverse range of training schemes to setting up your own business.

The future is unwritten.

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Luckily, I had supportive parents who were happy as long as I was happy.

I did reasonably well in my exams and progressed in life but I remember a friend whose path was chosen before he was born and had a great deal of pressure placed on his shoulders from his parents.

His destiny was to either be a doctor or a dentist - there was no debate.

He had a natural artsy flair, particularly creative writing but this was discouraged by his parents and now he works as a well paid dentist, his creative side long extinguished.

Left to his own choice, he would have studied either history of English literature at university, instead of being stuck in his surgery room every day looking into mouths of differing hygiene levels.

Each human on this earth has around 30,000 days on this spinning planet if they are lucky and people need guidance of course but young people need to be able to spread their wings and gravitate towards a path suitable to them.