(Well, that’s if you’re in Y13 or 11)
If you’re like me and have just finished Y12 you can continue enjoying every morsel of freedom you have this summer, while you still can…
But for the rest of you, results day probably feels like the most important thing you’ve got going on at the moment. And that’s because it is (sort of). Results day can represent the culmination of years of hard work: hundreds of free periods spent “studying” diligently, long hours spent at the library relentlessly re-reading the same sentence over and over again hoping it’ll print itself into your brain (spoiler alert: it doesn’t), days spent resisting the urge to bang your head against the table at the sight of yet another past paper - the list goes on…
Naturally, all the time and dedication that you’ve put into preparing for your exams combined with the highlighted importance of the grades you achieve (which has probably been drilled into your head countless times by teachers and parents alike), can undoubtedly make this a very draining and strenuous time for many. The days leading up to it can feel agonising: an awful feeling of intense anticipation might seem to follow you around throughout the day, with no indication of disappearing until you’re holding the paper with your own two hands. The thing is – you’re not alone. Millions of secondary school students across the country are experiencing exactly the same feelings of dread, excitement, exhaustion and anticipation that you are. The best thing you can do while you wait is to try not to think about it. I know this is easier said than done but you’ll seriously benefit from focusing on something other than grades or results. This is the time to watch a movie, play some video games, sleep all day, go to the park, hangout with friends etc.
When it finally gets to results day – the moment of truth – try to remember that you are human. Something important to remember about being human is that your value is much more complicated than some quantifiable number or letter; another important thing to remember is that we make mistakes – and that this is all just part of the process of learning. If you didn’t get the grade you wanted in a certain subject or feel like you’ve underperformed, take a minute to step back and put everything into perspective. Think to yourself: “What can I learn from this?”
I know it can feel like an emotional rollercoaster but it’s important not to get too caught up and attached to your results; after all, in 5, 10, 20 years you probably won’t even be able to remember exactly what you scored and it likely won’t matter as much as you think in the long run. If you’re feeling upset, remember that it’s okay to feel disappointed. Sometimes you need a break, sometimes you need a cry, sometimes you need to surround yourself with loving friends and family – whatever it is do something that makes you feel comforted and supported.
There are, of course, also going to be plenty of triumphs. Subjects you’ve aced. Grades you’ve absolutely smashed. And various proud moments to look back on.
It’s equally as important to recognise your achievements and to celebrate and reward yourself for your hard work as it is to spend time focusing on how to improve. Celebrating your successes is a great way to improve your confidence not only in an academic context, but also as a person; it feels good to honour yourself and all the time, effort and focus you chose to invest into something so monumental.
This leads us to the final point. Where do you stand?
Perhaps you’ve already figured this out: you’ve got the grades and you’re off to uni or maybe even an apprenticeship. But perhaps you didn’t quite get what you’d hoped for – in which case, your plans will have to change slightly. Maybe you have no idea what your next steps are. Whether it’s taking a gap year, pursuing your dream degree or volunteering for a charity, make sure you do something that makes you feel good. Something fulfilling. Everything that you do, every test you take, every conversation you have, every room you step into can be thought of as an investment. So, make it worthwhile! And remember, it’s never too late to start something or to change your mind.
Tiffany Igharoro is a sixth form student. One of her favourite pastimes is writing as it helps her organise her thoughts creatively and dynamically. She has won awards and prizes for poetry, academic and scientific writing and short stories. Recently, she won a nationwide historical essay competition that opened her eyes to the importance of how things are told, and the impact ordinary people have on the world. She studied art GCSE and believes there is something incredible about finding links between drama, art and maths.
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