A-Level Results + The Clearing Tunnel
Lessons in clichés
It’s A-level results week and hopefully, you’ll be spinning around with delight as you get the results you’ve been waiting for.
Over the last few years, the stats have only gone upwards, the BBC reported last year, that:
‘A-level students have been awarded the highest proportion of As and A*s since 2012, amid changes toughening the exams in England.
Some 26.4% of exams have been awarded these top grades this year – but the proportion gaining A* to C dropped to 78.4% from 79% last year.’ Source: BBC, 2018
Despite this, there will be many that don’t get the grades they’d expected and have to deal with the fallout that leads to. If any. Don’t worry though, there is a light! I thought I’d share my own experience as it might give hope to others that don’t make the grade. You may not even be planning to go to University, in which case check out current vacancies… :0)
The A-Level Results
Now it’s been a pretty long time since I got my A-Level results and what a day that was, yes it’s one I’ll never forget! I‘d walked up to school to collect my exam results and sadly, they hadn’t been what I’d expected. Having had high hopes with the false security of great mock exam results and strong predicted grades – I think I’d been a bit naive.
So with high, false expectations, I’d rocked up to school, nervous, unsure of what to expect, but hopeful. And I was about to learn a difficult lesson.
Cliché #1 You have to work hard to get what you want. #2 Nothing in life is free.
Yes, they’re clichés, but they are oh so true!
I’d walked up to my school to collect my results from the office, to pick up that small brown envelope packed with so much power. There were no online results back then 😉. I’d torn open the envelope, stared at the black and white in front of me and gradually digested the results in a bit of a haze. I entered a bit of semi-real state, not quite believing what I saw as the grades were all lower than expected. I hadn’t got the 3 B’s I’d needed for my Bristol University place – and in a flash, it felt like my world pretty much collapsed in a few seconds.
I quickly tried to retreat away from my friends, who were in a mixed frenzy of celebrating and whooping, that I couldn’t stand too close and as I walked out of the building, tears streaming down my face, no lie, I walked into a photographer trying to capture the moment and wanting interview to me.
Was I stopping?
Was I going to be the face to personify failure in the local paper!
I was running…..and fast, swearing at the reporter in my disgust – at them and more so at myself.
This was the day I realised that the clearing process was now my route into University and once I’d gathered myself together, I got myself ready for the next challenge that was making sure I was successful in the clearing process.
‘Last year, thousands of places were available through Clearing, such as English and law, with over 64,300 applicants obtaining places.’
The Clearing process is probably a little different today but the principles are the same. I treated it like a job interview really. You had to be quick off the mark, be clear on what you wanted but open-minded at the same time. University was all I’d ever imagined I’d do after school, and to me not doing it meant failure.
After many phone calls, waiting to talk to people, I managed to get a place secured and I was back on my road to Uni.
My next challenge was to find somewhere to live, in Portsmouth.
Cliché #3 (thanks Dad) that proved itself to be true, the early bird catches the worm.
I was told as an 18-year old by my parents, you’ve got to make sure you get there early, be there for the start to give yourself the best chance. None of this turning up 15 minutes after it starts, get there before it starts, even if it means getting the train 2 hours earlier, i.e. at the crack of dawn 😉.
How right they were. Getting the early train from London, to make sure I was there early for the beginning of their find a house day event definitely paid off.
I’d sat down for 5-10 minutes at the most before a girl approached me asking if I was interested in joining her and her friends in a house-share. I met them all briefly (for 5 minutes), we clicked and off we went with a list of houses to contact and arrange viewings for.
Reminds me a little of The Apprentice, in that it was a race to secure a good house. And we did!
That was another memorable day and the beginning of my Portsmouth University days!
So lesson from Cliché #4: Every cloud has a silver lining
I could go on, Cliché #5: Everything happens for a reason…
Cliché #6 Listen to your parents, sometimes they know what they’re talking about
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