Thursday, 14 August 2014

A message to students on A Level results day


This (interesting) picture is of me on A Level results day in 2010. Aside from the fact that this was a whopping four years ago and that alone makes me feel like crying, I can confirm that not hitting your traget grades is not that big of a deal.

I remember being 17/18 and the nerves that came with those dreaded AS and A Level results days. Would I make the grade for my first choice university? What the hell would I do if I didn't?! It was testing to say the least. I never liked those days. The night before my GCSE results I fainted in the bathroom because I'd been up half the night worrying about them. But guess what? The world didn't end the next morning and it didn't end two years later at college either.

I did pretty great in my GCSEs. A nice handful of As and the rest where healthy Bs. I missed most of original target grades but I didn't care as I did great on all the subjects I loved and had always been academic.

I screwed up my A Levels a bit though. Somewhere along the line I lost enthusiasm and got tangled up in having a social life and a relationship or two. I came out with all Bs in the end after retaking a couple of exams including my English AS written exam (THREE times) and dropping a subject that was giving me anxiety attacks.

Again, this wasn't my ideal outcome. We all have our own standards and goals and expectations and when we don't reach them it can be disheartening. HOWEVER I got into the university of my choice, my grades were good enough to earn me a small scholarship that alongside my loan got me through three years of student living and I worked my butt off to end up with a 1st class degree in English Literature that I couldn't be more proud of.

Not only this but I have friends who really did do horribly on their A Levels, took university places through clearing and never looked back. You can still do something you love and do well at it even if this one set of results doesn't turn out so good.

I also have friends and family who didn't bother going to uni and are doing absolutely fine and are very happy with their decisions, so if you're not picking up results today, don't think about how you're missing out - you're just carving a different path and that's fine.

The bottom line on A Level results? They do not define your potential for achievement nor should they be your basis for self worth. Life will go on and there are so many options available. If you do feel disappointed today, talk to a tutor or careers advisor straight away about your possible avenues and do not let shame take over. Embrace the fact that maybe you had a bad day or that subject wasn't quite right for you, then move on!

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