I woke up on A level results day knowing the year had not gone exactly to plan. However, there was some hope and I thought that maybe things would be okay. It had been a rough year (we can cover the issue of how to manage extenuating circumstances on another blog). I had two fairly high conditional offers one from Cambridge University and another from London School of Economics (LSE). On results day things most certainly did not go to plan.
Not getting the grades
In short one of my A level results was particularly low and a far cry from my star studded predicted grades. Probably in an act of concern, disappointment and mercy my teacher had phoned my mum early in the morning. Saving me the trip in to collect my results. My teacher explained that he had checked directly with the admissions teams and neither University would be offering me a place to start that year.
The 'clearing process' was explained and it was highlighted that I still had some good options. My teacher also mentioned that the tutors who had interviewed me at Cambridge were disappointed by my results and had considered accepting me anyway. An allowance that I am glad in hindsight they did not make.
Deciding to retake
Considering all my options I decided to take the risk of reapplying to Cambridge. I retook my A-levels and even picked up another subject along the way. During my second Oxbridge application, I definitely felt like I was under a magnifying glass. There were countless interviews but the only question I remember was from the senior tutor. The tutor had a kind face and piercing dark eyes. He commented that it was not his first time re-interviewing a candidate but sadly they normally returned with their lights a bit dimmed. He said it was the first time that a candidate had breezed back into his office happy, confident and sharper than before. He wanted to know how I had achieved this. Although his observation and question was unexpected I responded that life happens and that although I really wanted to be accepted neither my exam results or a place on this particular course defined me . He smiled and frowned and that was the end of the interview. I received a second offer and got great results the second time around.
Results day is not make and break day
I was 18 years old when I got those results and it is now 18 years later! I now know lots of very successful people where their results day did not go to plan. I also know some people where their results days have always gone well but their careers have not worked out as they would have liked. So you see your exam results are not the only factor.
Keep a clear head
It is harder to open doors, achieve your dreams and push forward if you don't believe in yourself and keep a clear head. If exam results today or any other day don't go to plan do not panic, drown yourself in self-pity or shrink your goals. Rather take a breath, recognise how awesome you are. Then decide on next best steps. Create the life you want.
We are offering stand-alone 45-minute coaching sessions until the 1st September 2016 to help students and their support networks decide what is the next best step. contact us