Today is that dreaded day in the UK when 1000s of students who have worked so hard for two years and waited for (what’s felt like endless) months finally open that envelope that determines their future (or nowadays it’s more like logging online but that doesn’t sounds quite so dramatic). There will be lots of students elated with their results, there will be the ones that just scraped by and then there are those that feel devastated because no matter how hard they worked, they didn’t get what they wanted, expected or felt they deserved.
Three years ago, I fell into that final category. It was one of the most competitive years for university places as it was the final year before fees went up and simultaneously, my first choice offer included an A* – so the pressure was on! I have always been exceptionally hard working and ambitious so the expectations I had put on myself were high. Despite achieving grades that I am now proud of, at the time I thought I had failed myself – everything I had worked for since the beginning of secondary school had been to get good grades and go to a good university and that now felt like a complete waste. All of my school friends had done amazingly well and got into their first choice universities and I felt so awful because the only emotion I could feel towards them was jealousy; I felt so guilty because I wanted to be proud! It also meant I had no one to turn to: none of my friends could relate to me so I ignored everyone’s calls for weeks, too ashamed; as the eldest child, my younger siblings didn’t understand the significance of the situation; and as the first person in my immediate family to go to university, I didn’t satisfy the criteria of being the “clever one” anymore. I could safely say this was one of the worst days of my life so far and I had battled several demons before then. That feeling of not being good enough still haunts me sometimes and I know there will be some poor 17/18 year olds feeling the same way today.
BUT the point of this post is NOT to be a depressive rant about results. In fact, even though at the time I felt like my world had fallen apart, it is only now with hindsight I can see that it was the BEST thing that could have happened to me. My insurance choice for university turns out to have been EXACTLY what I needed and wanted and I have evolved so much in the past three years. I’m not the same person I was three years ago – I’m better, more confident, more mature (and I now hava “BA Hons after my name!) and the list goes on. I have made some incredible friends that I never would have met otherwise and when I look back at my first choice university, I can see that it wasn’t for me at all. I would have been so bored and needed to escape the “Surrey bubble”, which I wouldn’t have done at a university nicknamed, “Surrey-on-Sea”. I ignored everyone who said “it’ll all work out for the best” – what do they know?! But now I truly believe in the mantra: “everything happens for a reason” and it’s scary but it’s the best way to stay positive and embrace every opportunity, even though it make not feel like one at the time.
The reason results are particularly on my mind today are because my younger brother has just had to go through this tumultuous time himself and I like to think it was that little bit easier for him, having me here for support after what I’d been through myself. None of us slept well last night and we got up (early!) this morning to the news he’d got into university! Similarly to me, he got his insurance choice but the mood at home today compared to three years ago could not be more different despite a very similar scenario. This is because we now all trust in fate and destiny and know that if it all worked out for me, it’ll all work out for him too! Whatever happens, good or bad, it is VITAL you let out your emotions (I spent a day in bed with the blinds down crying into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s) BUT then you must get off your arse and carpe diem (I made sure it was only a day…and then went shopping for university supplies, retail therapy always helps me!).
So whether you got your results today – or you’re the support network for someone else that has, remember: everything happens for a reason! You should be proud no matter what the result. It’s at this time in our lives when we start to discover who we really are, some of us are academic, some are not – but ambition isn’t quantifiable. Find what it is you are good at or at least really enjoy and then make something out of that!
Due to my role in my brother’s support network (and my ability to find ANY excuse to bake) – I made my brother one of his favourites, a lemon drizzle cake!
Accompanied with a champagne breakfast (as you do!)
We’ll be off to a celebratory lunch later which I cannot wait for either. It’s now I see just how exhausting and trying it is being the supporting one for once and I think we all deserve to celebrate with him!
I hope that lots of you are out celebrating today too and enjoying the rest of the summer…before the hard work starts all over again! Finally..well done!!