Dear 18-year-old who’s still awake worrying about results day tomorrow,
Nice to meet you. I’m Mazifur and I was in a similar situation one year ago. Don’t worry. It’s all going to be ok.
For a lot of you, tomorrow will be a nerve-racking day. Some of you will be needing ridiculously high grades to get on your course (at least 2 A* for some, if not more) and you probably feel now that you’ll be devastated if you don’t get accepted by your university of choice. But believe me, once you know what’s in that envelope, you’ll feel a lot better whether it be good news or bad. The wait is over.
When I opened my envelope last year, a little bit inside me sank. I got 3 Bs, which is fantastic, but at the time I felt a little underwhelmed. I thought about how hard I’d worked to get those grades, and I didn’t feel that a B represented my effort. I was also upset that I didn’t have high enough grades to do the course I was hoping to apply for (3 As for English Literature). To be honest, there weren’t many courses which took you if you had 3 Bs, so I felt a little deflated for a couple of days. But it’s all alright in the end.
After a month of contemplation, I realised that my beloved English Literature wasn’t really the course for me. I didn’t even like reading that much, for God’s sakes! Instead, I thought about what I genuinely was interested in (people) and applied, rather haphazardly, to study Sociology.
It was the best decision I ever made.
I’m so glad, looking back in hindsight, that I didn’t get 3 As. If I had, I’d have pushed myself into studying a course which I didn’t really love, and ended up, a few months down the line, dropping out having wasted £9,000 on a year of education.
A rather worrying thing which I hear a lot of parents and teachers telling Sixth Formers is that the work place is so competitive these days that, unless you have spotless grades, you’ll struggle to find a job. This is, quite honestly, a myth. (Unless you’re going to be a Doctor/Dentist etc in which case I bloody well hope you have good grades!).
I’m so glad, looking back in hindsight, that I didn’t get 3 As.
You also need to remember that CVs are only one part of any job interview. Most employers (at least those who have half a brain, and those you actually want to work for) are a lot more interested in your personality. You need something which a surprising amount of people lack: drive.
It astonishes me how many people have little ambition or motivation to do something with their lives. I’ve heard from numerous employees about what they look for in a candidate, and all of them say they want someone with an aspiration to succeed at the company, somebody with a hunger to prosper. You can have all the A* in the world, but if you lack aspiration and energy, what’s the point in hiring you?
Also, being forced to take a gap year due to receiving different grades to what you expected can be a blessing. Taking a gap year at all is one of the best things you can do anyway, and although it sounds a cliche, I’ve learned more in this past 14 months than I did my whole 14 years at school (no exaggeration). I learned immensely valuable life skills, such as how to live off $20 a day for accommodation/food/travel (money management), how to get from one side of Thailand to the other without spending an arm and a leg (problem solving), how to talk with people who’ve never heard an english word in the life (communication skills), how to manage how much time we spent in each place (time management); all things that employers look for when hiring people.
If you open your envelope tomorrow and find out that you didn’t get high enough grades to be doing the course you’d applied for, you probably shouldn’t have been doing that course in the first place (as I learned). You wouldn’t have enjoyed it once you got there and, after the past two years, which will have been the most hectic of your life, you’ll be able to give yourself the chance to have a quick breather and reassess your life choices.
It’s going to be OK.