By: Dan, redwigwam
The Most Important Letters Since The Alphabet. Or Is It?
Here it is.
The big day.
Your entire value as a human being summed up in a combination of letters.
Will you live up to the expectations of yourself and everyone around you or will you end up destitute, shaking a tin cup to make ends meet?
More than likely: Somewhere in between.
But the amount of pressure some of us put ourselves through ahead of Results Day borders on ludicrous.
I’ve got some interesting experiences from Results Day and I’d love to share them with you.
In Year 9, I did poorly in SATS and wound up in middle to the bottom group for every set except, inexplicably, for Science, where I wound up in the top set.
Now in my head, I’d decided from age 13 I wanted to be a lawyer.
No rhyme or reason. Just a burning whim.
I didn’t know about the grade requirements. Nor did I study particularly hard for anything except Maths, fearing I might fail Foundation and having it drummed into my head that every employer looks for a C minimum.
In the end, I got between C-A grades in roughly 12 subjects.
Mostly C’s, some B’s, a few A’s. My family were super proud and I was able to go to a sixth form college that taught Law.
My secondary school didn’t offer it going forward so I’d step out into a new environment, meet some new people, start a new life.
Great success. Onto the next one.
With two A’s and a B at A-Level, my third and final year of sixth form college was all about securing the final A needed to study Law.
It was my final chance, as I discovered in a meeting with the progression advisors that I would not be allowed to return for a 4th year.
So, my final year at sixth form college consisted of at first: Business Studies AS and A2 in one year, along with an AS in Economics for pure interest.
But, looking ahead at the number of pie charts and crayons I’d have to break out, I made a swift decision to swap Business for Politics instead.
Throughout the year my grades were on point.
All I’d need was a respectable combination of high B’s or A’s and I’d get that coveted final grade for Law. Sticking it right to that careers advisor who told me I couldn’t.
So, I sat my exams. Then I waited. August came around.
I got a C in Economics, but I didn’t care about that. I was sitting two Politics Exams (the AS and the A2) and if they went as well as my first two A’s, I’d be guaranteed for sure.
What did I go and get? An A and a D. Bringing my Politics grade overall to B.
Well, damn. Hard luck. I fell, deflated.
At the final hurdle, I’d collapsed in a brutal fashion.
Despite not having three A’s, my chosen uni offered me a place to study Law.
I even called the University Admissions department to make sure a mistake hadn’t been made. But it was 100% legit.
I was going to study Law.
THE FINAL VERDICT
When we tell ourselves we want something for coming on six years, it’s very difficult to accept when it turns out that actually: we don’t.
This was the reality I faced when I studied Law at University.
I was doing okay at University.
But when the gavel came down, I couldn’t force myself through textbooks on some topics without my eyes glazing over. It hurt like needles through the eyes, but not as much as the ones in my gut where I slowly realised everything I’d struggled for, fighting against that career advisor’s dim forecast, was for absolutely nothing.
Failing one module out of eight, with a failed resit in the summer, meant I couldn’t advance to the next level of the degree.
Money issues meant I couldn’t stay on. So I dropped out.
Spent a year eating beans on toast and feeling like a failure, kept going by some incredible friends and a distant hope in the future.
For, I still wanted to go to Uni.
But, I needed to make sure I was passionate to get the most out of it.
And the one thing that kept me going all that time, from primary school through school to leaving school was storytelling and writing.
So, I applied for a Creative Writing degree.
Made some of my best friends.
Got a First Class degree.
Made some amazing memories and discovered that the part I appreciated most about Law was the use of language as a theatre for conflict and dispute resolution.
I own a degree that didn’t need anywhere near the grades I have for A-Level.
I’ve got a decent job and bright prospects thanks to the degree’s teaching of relentless pursuit in self-improvement and reflection.
I have a hope for my future that no letters on a page or careers advisors could ever take away from me.
And that’s what I want for all of you. Laugh. Cry. Scream when you get your results.
But if you want something badly enough and you put the effort in, you will have it.
Or you’ll stumble into something else you love more.
Better still, you’ll learn that you can push yourself to do great things you never thought possible, only to realise the things that really matter to you were always there inside you.
That’s what I got out of Results Days. And I hope you find happiness from yours.