So I asked Gemma what she was up to lately, and she told me that she'd gotten kicked out of college, and was working in Costa, earning just a little over minimum wage.
'It's pretty repetitive but it's money, I guess' she moaned, looking around distractedly. When I asked what she did when she wasn't working, she quickly replied with a shrug: "I'm a stoner. Going to parties, getting high, that's what I do these days".
I'm not naive - plenty of kids do drugs - but it just struck me as pretty surprising that she was quite so blunt about it. Gemma spoke about weed as if it's a full time occupation for her.
In a way, Gemma's doing better than a lot of teens out of school. She's earning, she's got friends and she's getting out of the house. But Gemma didn't appear all that excited about her life. She seemed fed up of things, really.
And whilst I wouldn't be as drastic as to say that education has failed Gemma, it doesn't seem to have given her all that much. Leaving school with a few decent GCSEs can you get you your first job, which is great - I'm still not convinced that A Levels are really right for everyone - but it's the fact that teens like Gemma don't have anything else to do other than drink and get stoned that's so disappointing.
Kids like Gemma make me worry a little. I have no idea how life will treat her, and I'm not sure she does either. Who knows what lies ahead for Gemma?