August 2017

Clearing and String Theory - It's Not Chaos!


Last year I reflected on Why UCAS Clearing Might Just be the Best Thing that Ever Happened to you.

Another year over and Clearing is back around again.

Time flies by so fast.

Clearing is a part of the UCAS university application process. It is a way for universities to fill any spaces they have left for the new academic year. It gives applicants who do not hold an offer, or who would like to change courses, or even move to a different university, another chance of finding a university place.

Some of the students who faced down clearing last year will be smugly reading this a year into their courses. They may be the courses they first decided on. They may be new ones. They may be at the places they originally intended. They may be at new, possibly better, possibly worse ones. They may be at none at all. Either way, the path of their life has taken a notable direction.

None of us has a crystal ball to know exactly how things will turn out. But all of us can recognise big moments when the course of our lives could go in different directions.

Clearing is such a moment.

The Theory of Everything is not just a movie. It is also an overarching idea in Physics. A vision if you will, of invisible connections that connect everything and explain why the physical laws of nature are the way they are.

(Don't worry! You didn't miss the announcement! There are a few 'candidates', but nothing definitive yet.)

One of these 'candidates' reminds me of Clearing.


String Theory - A Guitar Riff to Clearing

String theory is beautiful.

String TheoryThis website here has a lovely explanation:

"Think of a guitar string that has been tuned by stretching the string under tension across the guitar. Depending on how the string is plucked and how much tension is in the string, different musical notes will be created by the string. These musical notes could be said to be excitation modes of that guitar string under tension.

In a similar manner, in string theory, the elementary particles we observe in particle accelerators could be thought of as the "musical notes" or excitation modes of elementary strings."

So, in this theory, basically, the universe is like a souped-up guitarist like Eric Clapton!

A musical universe. Wonderful.

I am no physicist. But even to a layman such as myself I can feel my pulse quicken and my heart beat faster when I reflect quietly about that.

Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, declared that the answer to 'What is the answer to life the universe and everything?' was 42.

He may have been onto something.

In truth, it is possible the answer is NOT 42.


The 'Pathway' to Being a Successful Student

There may not be an 'answer'. But there is almost certainly a 'pathway'.

There is no 'answer' to being a successful student. But there is a pathway; scenes along which may include working hard consistently, engaging with your studies, revising when it is needed, asking for help when it is needed, and knowing when enough is enough and you should rest and play.

Combine enough of those elements together in the right mix and you may not arrive at a definitive '42'. But you would probably cover the bases for most 'successful' student journeys.

On Thursday 17 August one new 'string' opened in the form of A-Level results day in England.

For some, the results will be the classic opening guitar riff to the Beatles 'Day Tripper'. While for others it may be the Frog Chorus.

Regardless, the music doesn't stop at the A-level results.

Clearing gives you a second chance to get to play the tune you like for the next few years and to change direction.Direction

It gives you a moment to quietly reflect and consider if where you had decided to go to University and the course you had decided to go on, is really right for you. It may be. But then again, it might not.

Circumstances change. Lives can be changed in a moment.

You can change your mind.

Clearing is just that. It is a repository of choices. In the backend are lots of Universities and Colleges that want to fill their courses. You will hear lots of clamour. Lots of noise about courses and results and reasons to attend this college or that college. Do this course, or that course (us included).

But always remember that YOU are the resonating string. You are the music that makes the whole melody work.

It can feel like you aren't in control on Clearing day. Especially if you didn't get the A-Level results you were hoping for. But remember that Clearing is also a great opportunity to change your life. To change directions.

Clearing makes you the lead guitarist in your own educational journey. It opens up an array of choices that you may not even have been aware of. So, don't be shy about taking the opportunities it brings.

Life isn't always Stairway to Heaven days.

But today could be...


If you think we can help then you can find our Clearing webpage at Or call our Clearing Hotline on 020 7388 8877 to have a chat about our available opportunities and your specific situation.

Stuart Brown
Media and Content Manager

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