It’s fair to say that the whole A level results process this year has killed me. I feel physically and emotionally exhausted after this morning. It’s been a pretty hard year so far in general, the things I’ve been through this year certainly added to the challenge of three A levels.
I woke up to find I had been accepted into my firm choice for University. This was a relief because that was obviously the biggest stress for me today; the thought of having to go through the stress of clearing made me feel physically sick. Knowing I needed 280 points to get in, which is luckily pretty realistic for someone like me, was such a comfort. I felt great. I knew that being accepted meant I had passed with B,B,C or higher. Or so I thought…
When I arrived to collect my results, super early and front of the queue, I knew I needed to read them alone. Despite myself I felt optimistic; I hadn’t screwed up any of the exams that badly even when the questions were completely unrelated or vague. When I finally opened the piece of paper I felt my heart sink. Disappointed. I’d worked harder in school than ever this year whilst battling mental and physical health problems, work and trying to be a sociable for once. I really thought I’d done well. Don’t get me wrong, coming out of results day with B,C,C (the B being the most important subject) is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of but personally, it’s just so far off from what I wanted. Having achieved A,B,B last year, being on track for the same this year and surrounded with constant encouragement that I would come out with what I wanted by teachers, friends and family, I really felt like a disappointment. It’s stupid because I’m sure many people would read this and think I’m ungrateful; I’m going to my favourite University in my favourite place with my best friends and I’m lucky to have made it this far this year. But it doesn’t change the fact that I set high expectations for myself and I failed to meet them. I’m kind of surprised I got accepted now, although I tell myself I’m talented and they want me for my creativity not for my grades. I’m also looking to get one of my papers remarked as I’m not far from the higher grade and I did amazingly well in the coursework. I did the very best I could and that’s all anyone can do.
I’ve spoken to the most important people in my life about it. Everyone says the same thing: you’re going to University, don’t worry about the grades. It’s true and I know it is. I always wonder if I didn’t have anxiety, if I was a calm person, would I have reacted in the same way? Probably not. Me without anxiety would tell you that I’m proud of myself and I passed despite all the crap the universe threw at me this year. I like being that girl.
At the end of the day, tests and exams don’t matter. They’re only numbers and letters on a piece of paper. You’re not made up of numbers and letters, you are made up of all your favourite things and the places you’ve been, the things you’ve seen. That’s more important. My family will always be proud, my friends are supportive and I’m so thankful for that. So I just want you to know, wether you’re collecting your GCSES, A levels, your degree or a test certificate: it’s just a number or letter. Be more than that. Have high expectations for yourself but don’t feel like a disappointment when you don’t quite get there. It’s a journey. You can do anything.