Saturday, 18 August 2012

It's Now or Never - Results Day

A delayed Greenpatch here; I've been pondering this one on and off since Thursday - the dreaded A and As Level results day here in the UK. Even though my two are through with all of this, I still feel so much for  those students who may be struggling;  I've a couple of friends whose daughters are at the   post-results stage. And failure, or as SueM says, perceived failure cuts deep.

For myself, more than thirty years on,  I'm able to look back at that It's Now or Never moment and put it in perspective. (Not for nothing was results day 1977 the same day that the death of Elvis was announced and the two have forever after become inextricably linked in my mind!) No passes at all (though I managed to scrape one  subsequently on retake) and the longed for place at college  - more a means of getting away from an unsettled household than a vocational call - became an impossible dream.  And that at one of the most high-flying schools in the country - terminal embarrassment at best, the end of The World As I Knew It at worst. I could have done with Sue's quote that Failure is simply an event not a person. Who knows - maybe somebody said as much to me, but I doubt I'd have been listening!

I could also have done with broadcaster Jon Snow's advice:

There is life after A-levels
there are different way of doing what you want to do…
play to your strengths
want to do what you want to do very badly

(note to self - does your average 18 year old listen to the Today Programme?)

I might have had mixed feelings about the current Head's motivational quoting of Dr Benjamin May on low expectation though I appreciate the sentiment from where I am now:

“The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not disgrace to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. "

Heigh ho...The joke of it is that in a weird, roundabout way I am doing what I want to do, though not in quite the way I'd envisaged way back then, A Levels seem a thousand years away. The pressure is off. Yes, the old 'Internal Parrot,' still gets a look in every now and then - well - rather more than that, but on  good days (when I tell him to get knotted! ) I've learnt  that discovering...and using my strengths can be fun!  Scarey, but fun.

Self-acceptance, that's the answer.  Though my 'stars,' might not shine as brilliantly as some, yet. every star is different, and there's plenty room in this world for all of us. Remind me of that the next time I have a fit of the wobblies.  And, as Sue M says, please do give a thought for those hard-working students for whom the news last Thursday wasn't what they'd hoped and longed for.


  1. You're so right, there are so many different ways to succeed. I think its sad though that schools and many parents 9at least back in the day when i was a student) were so focussed on pushing us all through exams and judging us by our exam results and dictatign to us our future careers. I got good grades but didn't have enough confidence to make a fully informed choice in my college career

  2. Agreed - where I was there was very little information available other than what was university related!

  3. This is an annual tense time for me as a sixth form college teacher. This year it was my daughter, my eldest child, who got A*s and off to medical school. My eldest son meanwhile was struggling with scrapped AS grades and had to be consoled and reminded he was equally worthwhile etc as a person (At least he does feel loved!)

    In 1979 I was one of the lucky ones with A grades and a place at Oxford - but my comp had difficulty in celebrating and people kept asking my Mum if she would not prefer it if her son was the clever one.

    But really exam results are so much less important than growing up with integrity and compassion, and healthy and whole. Only a small part.

  4. So, so true. 'Integrity, compassion, healthy, whole,' I'd settle for those any day.


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