Just hearing ‘Results Day’ reminds me of the overwhelming dread I experienced five years ago. I will never forget how panicked I was in bed the night before or the journey en route to my sixth form, all because of three letters on a sheet of paper. For me, I had reason to be worried – I didn’t get into uni.
I was 40 UCAS points (aka two grades) short of meeting my course requirements. I was absolutely devastated and much like a dramatic teen film, fled the building and cried my eyes out while stood in the rain waiting for my mother to pick me up. Nothing can prepare you for the drowning feeling of failure when you’ve worked for years towards something – but I promise you, it’s not the end of the world.
An immediate piece of advice I would share is that it’s best to stay away from social media. Pretty much every friend I had that got into university posted overjoyed updates on their profiles, and why not? They worked hard too. It’s hard to appreciate that though and be happy for another when you haven’t succeeded in the same way.
If you have dropped a grade or two, still ring your first choice university and see what they have to say – you never know what their uptake has been like, which is also why clearing could be an option for you. If you’ve been accepted by your insurance (congratulations!) have a think whether your heart really lies with your top choice or if you could compromise on that one intriguing unit or being close to home. I got accepted into my insurance university but my heart was with Portsmouth, so I declined and decided to work on my grades.
If you decide uni isn’t happening for you this year, try and look at the next 12 months as a window of opportunity – you could sort your grades out, get a full time job and save a ton of money, go and explore the world, even visit your friends at uni and enjoy the lifestyle minus the studying. There are so many things you can do with the time and it’s unlikely you’ll ever get the same kind of freedom again when you enter full time employment. Believe me, once you are older and working that 9-5 desk life, such volumes of free time are what dreams are made of!
Looking back, I am genuinely glad that I didn’t get into uni the first time around. A mess up by an exam board (not naming names but it was a three letter acronym and the first and third letters are the same vowel) contributed massively to my failure, but I don’t begrudge them that. I worked in jobs I didn’t like for 12 months and that made me appreciate the uni experience even more when I walked through the door of my flat in halls a year later.
I’m not usually the kind of girl who believes in fate but perhaps in this instance, things happen for a reason. The life long friends I made at uni, the lessons I learned both academically and personally, the first job I got after graduating, the people I’ve taken from that experience – I wouldn’t change any of it. It’s shaped who I am and I think I’m a better person for it.
If you’re reading this now and things didn’t go well today – I’m really really sorry. It’s okay to cry and feel sorry for yourself because it really is bloody horrible. But you still have SO much ahead of you, you’re still so young and it really will all work out in the end. I also fully condone a hefty online shopping spree and a five-figure calorie binge 🙂