Results Day – Grades Don’t Define You

I wasn’t going to post today but considering it is A Level results day, I thought I would write some words of encouragement.

Holding that dreaded envelop, I remember the day clearly. Two years ago, I walked into college and picked up the big brown envelop that would define my future. The letters on the paper inside would determine whether I was going to my first choice university. Before I arrived, I received an email from my first choice university to say that I wasn’t going to be able to study with them. I was in the car with my parents, sister and boyfriend (at the time), and my heart sunk. Devastated was an understatement, it felt as though my future had been taken away from my right before my eyes. After initial shock, I began to panic, but my parents said wait and see what the results are first, there might be something I can do. I had heard that some people negotiate with the university if their grades aren’t far from what they were asking for.

I met my friend outside the college and we walked in together, I didn’t let on how anxious or upset I was feeling, I just wanted to get my results. With the brown envelop in my hand, my stomach was in my throat and I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest with how hard it was racing against my rib cage. Beads of sweat gathered upon my forehead, and after what felt like hours, in reality was only a few seconds, I built up the courage to open the envelop in my hands. Taking a deep breathe, I took out the paper. I was hit with slight disappoint but also relief that I was only one grade off – I felt a sense of hope that I might get into my chosen university after all. I had a second option, but I didn’t want it, I wanted this one and I wanted to fight to get in!

I tried and tried and tried. For hours, my parents and I tried to negotiate with the university but it was a no. I was so distraught and didn’t know what to do. Someone suggested clearing, so I downloaded the clearing app and had a look at the universities available running the course I wanted to do. I spent the entire day fretting and worrying, and I was supposed to be going away the next day. I held off going away until the day after and spent the rest of the next day deciding which university I wanted to go to. My mam suggested resitting as an option, and obviously that was an option, I just couldn’t face doing another year of college, I wanted it to be over. I had reached a point where I needed something more, I needed to move to the next stage no matter what.

Finally, I made a decision. I called the university and they told me they would accept me with the grades I had and I was relieved. I had nothing to worry about now. That was until there was an issue with the university not having enough accommodation for all the students. I went through, what felt like, hell, from looking for people to share a house with to going to the city to find somewhere. For weeks, there was nothing but stress and upset, from me panicking I wasn’t going to have anywhere to live and my parents worried for me. I did eventually find somewhere to live, it wasn’t the best but at least I wouldn’t have to defer.

Before starting, I doubted whether university was actually what I wanted, I really didn’t know, but I went regardless of these doubts. I won’t go into all the details but lets just say I didn’t have a great time. I met some great people that I can still call my friends today and some not-so great people who made my time there difficult and stressful. I had issues with my relationship and mental health. I ended up meeting my current boyfriend on a night out there, and that’s the only good thing to come out of my time there – apart from the experience. I grew up and learnt so much during that year, and I can use/transfer that experience in future situations. I left early because I was becoming very mentally unwell, I had always suffered with anxiety and depression, however the events that occurred caused a rapid decrease in my health.

Not long afterwards, my boyfriend and I decided that we would move in together, and I would live and study in Nottingham. Everyone was hesitant, and looking back now it was a very bold move, however I don’t regret the decision. If we didn’t make the decision, I would not be where I am or the person I am today.

It is now two years on from when I received my a levels, I’m not where I wanted to be at that time, I’m actually somewhere better. I have made the most amazing friends – friends I can say I will have for life – and I have changed a lot. I have matured, my mental health has vastly improved – I have struggled a lot this past year however things are really looking up. I am finally at a stage in my life where I can say I am doing what I love and I am happy. I am fully happy with the decisions I have made and now I don’t even think about my a level results because they don’t matter now. I haven’t allowed the grades I received two years ago impact my ambitions or change my career path, I am still on the way to doing what I have always wanted, just on a different path – a better path.

So my message to everyone who has received their a level results today and haven’t quite received the grades they wanted, this isn’t the end of the road for you. Grades are not a definition of a person, they are not a definition of who you are. There are so many options out there for you. Thanks to clearing, the bad experiences and my first university choice saying no, I am in a better place. I am happier, stronger and much more confident than I ever was before, and you can be too. Don’t frown upon clearing or resitting, etc. if they are the things you need to do to get where you want to be, then do it, do what is right for you. You may not be on the path you thought you would be, but you could be on your way to something so much better than you ever imagined.

I hope my words have helped some of you, and good luck for the future. Never let anyone or anything stop you from achieving exactly what you want!

*Quick after thought: Throughout school and college, teachers/tutors always spoke about university in a way that made me feel pressured to go, and if I didn’t, I would disappoint people. I’m at university now, but through my own choice because it’s what I wanted. Please don’t ever feel pressured to go to university if it isn’t something you want, the debt and stress isn’t worth it if you aren’t doing it for the right reasons. By no means am I saying to avoid university, if uni is what you want, go, but if it is not, know there are so many other options out there for you – working, apprenticeships, starting your own business, travelling, etc. The world is your oyster. Do what YOU love and what makes YOU happy!

“Carpe Diem; Seize the day, make your lives extraordinary!”

-M xo


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