I got my A-level results two years ago, so I completely understand how everyone is feeling today.
A-level results day was probably one of the most nerve-wrecking 24 hours of my life. I knew I didn’t do well as soon as I finished my exams. To anyone interested, I took English Literature, AS Maths (twice), History and Creative Writing (I literally had to get my certificates out to check the last one, it seems like so long ago…) Anyway, I did not do well.
When you go into A-levels from GCSE’s, you think it’s going to be incredible. You’re doing the things you want to do, with less contact time, and you’re on your way to become an adult. How exciting? What could go wrong? Everything. You realise, that you are really the only person in charge of yourself. You are the only person to make the decisions you make, and in the end, you don’t have anyone to blame for the decisions that you made in your control. Obviously, there will be things you cannot control, but most of the decisions you make are on you. Yeah, I’m still learning about that one myself.
The last two years of your school life will probably be one of the last chances you have to act up and do whatever you like with minimal consequences. Although I tried, which at the time I thought was hard, it wasn’t enough. Maths RUINED me, twice. The first time around I failed, and I thought, yeah, that seems about right. But the second time around, I was kind of surprised? I had done it once before, and that’s why I took maths a second time, as I thought surely, I couldn’t fail it again? I did.
However, as much of a fail that my attempt at maths was, I got into uni! I didn’t get the grades to get in, but as my course doesn’t have a lot of people on it, I was accepted no problem. (That’s what I think, anyway. I don’t really know the reason).
Luckily, I didn’t have the despair of having to wait until 8am to check UCAS Track, and then to not be able to log on as they were swamped, and the whole terrible fear of failing all of my exams and having to go back to Russia as a farmer. I mean, I did still have those thoughts, and I was awake almost every half an hour throughout the night, checking my phone and seeing if ANY university would have me. I was going through all the options- clearing, changing course and then changing back, not going to uni whatsoever? All of it went through my head.
Following on from this, I got the 6am uni text from Nottingham Trent to say that I was accepted! I was ecstatic and had a very long day from the moment I woke up at just past six until early in the morning, when I was out celebrating mine and my friends successes.
Uni is not everything in the world. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has a degree nowadays, and realistically, unless you have enough experience in the field, its difficult to get into places. For example, my degree. I do Chinese Mandarin and Global studies at university, initially with the thought that I would finish my degree, hop on with my life and end up being a translator. I quickly found out that it was not the case, and I would have to further take on another year (or two) at university on top of my degree to get a translator degree or try to find a job with it and go from there. Basically, a nightmare. So now, I’m not sure what I want to do with my life, whether I want to go on and do translating, or humanitarian aid, or something completely unrelated to my degree.
Clearing is also not the end of the world. For some, the uni that they chose as a first choice is one of two reasons, its either the best in their field, or one that they have had their heart set on for some time. For me, I was the latter. I didn’t care about league tables, or what uni is good or bad, as in the end it didn’t matter. You are at university, doing what you love doing. Sometimes things do not work out, and you don’t get your first choice and it’s a horrible feeling. It feels like your whole world comes crashing down, and that you’ll never be successful in anything you do. As much as it seems like it’s the end of the world at the time, you will usually feel a lot better off in the end. One of my close friends had this experience, and ended up in a university closer to home, and a lot happier for it.
Its strange how things work out, and A-level results day feel like its now or never with everything. Its what you’ve been striving towards pretty much your whole life, and to not get your first choice, or to feel disappointed in your grades is a kick in the teeth. However, it is not the end of the world, and clearing sometimes offers even better options than you thought.
Another choice is applying to your first choice uni for another course, and then transferring a week or so in. It happens, and for some people it works!
The final choice is taking a gap year. A gap year is a great idea, especially if you’ve not got your heart set on a specific course or are unsure about what you really want to do. That’s also completely okay, as everything can change in a year. This adds on to the fact that you could save up, or re-sit your exams and then get onto the course you want. There are many good possibilities with taking a gap year, or in the end you may decide to not even go to uni. One of my friends did that, too.
Overall, university is not the target in life. Everyone’s lives are different, with different goals. For some, uni may be an escape from wanting to go further in life and into work, and that’s totally okay too! Whatever you choose to do today or tomorrow is going to be the right choice for you. A year from now, its possible that you choose to do something completely different, but don’t regret it. Because at this time, you have chosen that you need to do this for yourself, or maybe for someone else. At this very moment, you made this choice as it’s the best choice for you. Nothing is the end of the world, and no matter what results you achieved today, everything will turn out fine. Look after yourself, and go celebrate, it’s the end of the chapter. Turn a new leaf, and start your next chapter. Everything will be okay.