It’s Just a Piece of Paper

It’s been a week since the dreaded results day and during the past 7 days I have been reflecting on my journey over the past few years and my time in sixth form.

It’s just a piece of paper. It’s just a piece of paper with a few letters printed here and there. That piece of paper does not determine the rest of your life or your future. That piece of paper doesn’t stop you from doing what you want as long as you’re willing to work hard. Don’t get me wrong, A-levels are important! But it’s not the be all and end all. I’m tired of schools and teachers and students and everyone making out that if you don’t do well in your A-levels, that means you won’t do well in life, because they are ludicrously wrong.

Once you get past A-levels and onto the next stage of your life, no one is going to care about what you got. No one is going to care about what you got in that chemistry F325 paper. They’re going to care about what you’re doing at uni, what you got in your degree and how much work experience you have. I have spoken to so many of my older friends who tell me that since A2 results day, no one has asked them about their grades.

You just need to do enough to get you onto the next stage of your life and then you can put the stress of A-levels behind you. So what if you didn’t get all A’s and A*’s? If you worked as hard as you could, and you knew yourself that you couldn’t do anymore, then what more could anyone ask of you?

I didn’t do great. I didn’t do awful. This time last week though, I felt like all my hard work was for nothing. During exam leave I was working at least 12 hours a day and revising at every possible minute. I ended up doing a lot of exams as I retook quite a few modules – 13 exams to be exact – however I managed to get through them all doing the best I could.

I was so disappointed and heartbroken when I opened that envelope and saw my grades. It felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach and tears wouldn’t stop falling down my face.

However, after having time to calm down and think clearly about everything that happened, I realised that I hadn’t done badly at all. In fact, I did great. I got into my apprenticeship to do civil engineering (where I’ll be paid and also paid to do a degree – win win!), I coped with moving to a new school and settling in, I recovered from my relapse into anorexia and I managed to reduce my self harming and cope with myself a lot better. On that day I wasn’t thinking about the bigger picture. I was so focused on that one piece of paper in my hand and beating myself up for not doing as well as I wanted to, that I forgot about everything else I have achieved in the past couple of years. Even managing to get A-levels is an incredible achievement in itself. I chose the hardest subjects to study and I still passed them all. I’m learning to not be so harsh on myself and lower my needs to be ‘perfect’.

I did my best and it was good enough.

-K xxx

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