If there was ever an occasion I did not like it was results day. Whether it’s a blood test or my exams, there’s that overwhelming anxiety that you did not do well enough. And the irony in that you have not been able to do anything for days, weeks or even months because they always make you wait so long!
By now most people will have their results. But you’ll probably remember the day for a few years yet– even four years on I still cringe at mine.
I had just broken up with my boyfriend so my university choices were between Liverpool (my dream university, completely unattainable according to my predicted results, all of my teachers and even the little voice in the back of my head. And yet they had given me an offer) and UCLan– where I knew he would be attending.
So I was up at 6am in anticipation for UCAS to be updated. I think it was around 8am (or was it 7am?) when the website crashed. Obviously the entire sixth form population in the UK was currently trying to log on in a mad panic hoping, like me, that there would be good news on the next page.
Instead of several error messages every time you refreshed.
I think it took me about half an hour to successfully make it through and to be confronted with the message: congratulations, you have successfully gotten into the University of Central Lancashire.
Or something to that effect.
I nearly cried. Not because of my ex boyfriend, or because UCLan was a terrible university because it wasn’t. But I’d proven my teachers right, I’d aimed too high… In fact, even they had aimed too high with my predicted grades so I guess in a way I also let them down. Within the space of thirty minutes I had gone from organising freshers plans with a potential Liverpool friend to having no idea what the future held for me in Preston.
It got even worse when I arrived at my school to collect my results. I realised that I hadn’t even made the grades to get into my second course, but instead they had accepted me at their own discretion. I had been so close to going through Clearing or not going to university at all… And by some crazy bit of luck I had scraped through (especially crazy since the following year, the Isle of Man Government raised the grade requirements to gain funding to study at a UK university, requirements which I would have missed.)
The friend that I had gone with kept telling me that I turned white as I read that piece of paper.
But here I am, four years later: a successful undergraduate degree and a masters degree under my belt and I even gained full time employment (in a job that I actually enjoy) less than a month after my degree finished.
I think if university, and my A Levels, taught me anything it was that nothing ever turns out the way you expect. That doesn’t matter. It’s up to you to make the best of whatever gets thrown at you– because trust me, there is no way 16 year old me would ever believe that I could explain how a car engine works!