I did great in my GCSEs, but my A-Levels? Not so much. And for a long time I let myself believe that my grades were vindictive of my intelligence and my abilities.
Now, its GCSE results day today, and I couldn’t let this day pass without saying something. Without expressing my own take on this occasion if you like.
Results days, whether they be for GCSES, A-Levels, college courses or degrees are always a time for mixed emotions. Worry and excitement both have a part to play. If you do well then it’s great… you can now take some well earned time to celebrate and be proud of what you have achieved, but if you haven’t done so well then you can be racked with guilt and disappointment for days and weeks, even months. Not doing as well as expected is a complete taboo subject. This is why results days can be a tricky one. We’re so caught up in wishing people luck and praising successes that we often forget to be mindful of those who did not do so well. Though I do it myself, what are we wishing luck for? Numbers on a page are not illustrative of you nor your talents and capabilities.
Anyway, back to not doing as well as you’d hoped. This was the case for me 3 years ago on a-level results day.
My own results day
I’ll never forget being surrounded by friends and teachers as I opened my results. Though i’d had a rocky year admittedly, they were completely not what I was expecting. While i’d got into university, i’d only done so by a fraction. My grades were a complete shock to the system considering how well i’d done 2 years ago in my GCSES.
For a long time I felt so down about them, completely embarrassed to tell my friends and family how i’d done. I mean, yes I had got in to university, but in my eyes i’d still let myself and everyone else down. My grades were far below what I was predicted to get.
I wish I could go back to that time now and tell myself the successes I would go on to achieve.
I wish I could tell my 17 year self that my A-Level grades would never be brought up again, that they wouldn’t even matter. This brings me to one of my all time favourite quotes by Einstein.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”
From my experience, A-Levels are bloody hard. They’re almost always exam based and many people – myself included – do not fair well in exams. This, combined with factors of a generally bad year and record high grade boundaries all contributed to my poor A-Level performance. This might be the case for you today with your GCSEs, or it may have been the case last week on A-Level results day.
I guess what I want to say is that in the grander scheme of things, though these results may seem like the most important thing in the world to you right now. They wont be for long. We are so much more than just numbers on a page.
You may not believe it now, but you will
There’s a life out there after that brown envelope is handed out, despite what it holds inside.
Not doing as well as you expected may seem like the worst thing ever right now. Trust me, I know because i’ve been there myself. Honestly though, in my experience anyway, grades aren’t worth getting hung up on at all. I managed to dust myself off after A-Levels, work hard at university to get a first class grade and then walk straight into a job right after graduation.
My grades have never once constituted my abilities. I’m a confident writer, a hard worker and not-too-bad at what I do, if I do say so myself. 😉
So no matter what your grades were today, or were last week, the most important thing now is to carry on working hard on what you love. Don’t give up because of a few numbers that wont even matter before long.
Everybody is talented in their own way. There’s always going to be something that you can do that others can’t and vice versa. So, if results day didn’t go your way then remember that a fish is an excellent swimmer, but a poor climber. What would you judge it on?
A side note for those who did really well
And, by the way, if you did do really well today then that’s fantastic.
Though this post primarily talks about how you can get by without spectacular grades, it’s important to acknowledge how proud those who have achieved tops marks should be of themselves. A-Levels, for me, were the hardest things I ever did. Going to uni is difficult, but it’s a different kind of difficult. You’re focusing all of your efforts on one topic and you’re being tested in a lot of different ways, whereas with GCSES and A-Levels you’re juggling a whole load of subjects and almost all assessments are exam based – yikes!
Therefore, if you did great today then congratulations. It’s not easy to score high and therefore you should be proud of yourself and you should never shy away from telling people how you did. Be proud of your achievements!
And finally… well done everybody!
Whether you did well or not, it’s a creditable thing to be able to say you got through GCSE’s and A-Levels, they’re not easy at all. So whatever the outcome today, give yourself a pat on the back because i’m confidently sure that you deserve one!
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