Results day. It’s just a day right? The sun rises and sets, but in this celestial passage of time there’s so much loaded expectation and anxiety, it can feel like a momentous 24 hours. Especially, if you don’t get the results you were hoping for. The reality; good results or bad, is that the letters on the exam board paper don’t predict the rest of your life. It’s your ambition, attitude and resilience which play an equal, if not more powerful role in navigating your life.
Before NCS Grad Joe shares his Results Day experience, we've got a nugget of wisdom from Jermain Jackman, the 2011 winner of The Voice (and NCS grad himself!) for everyone picking up their GCSE Results:
Results day isn’t (repeat: IS NOT) the making or breaking point for your life trajectory. Loads of really successful people didn’t do so great at school (or even dropped out all together). For example;
- Richard Branson left school at 16
- Simon Cowell passed barely any exams
- Drew Barrymore quit school after rehab
- Jon Snow (Channel 4 News, not Game of Thrones king) got 1 A-level
- Lord Alan Sugar has 1 GCSE
- Cheryl Cole was a terrible student
The pressure mounting up on you to perform to the level you’re capable of can be tough to manage. NCS grad Joe shared,
“With final exams finishing well over a month before results day, the gap gave me time to reflect and consider, realistically, what the likely outcome of these grades would be. Luckily, I wasn’t under any great stress over this, with the boundaries for my chosen sixth form being significantly below my predicted grades. Although, thanks to education reforms, I was well aware these grades would be far more influential when applying to highly sought-after places on competitive university courses.
I was unsure if I was happy with my performance, both in general academically over the last year, and especially during the exam period. On the positive, my results turned out to be satisfactory by the standards I set myself, thanks to natural ability and an absence of total complacency. I knew I had the capability to perform at the highest level – but I was fully aware this would not be what I would achieve.
When the grades were published, I took my laptop containing the grades upstairs to open the results privately, before showing my parents the outcome and discussing how I felt I’d done. Luckily, I was happy with my results, having achieved a good set of grades. My parents agreed and just like that I moved on with my day, heading over to Week Three of NCS to continue planning my social action project, and discuss other's grades with them. Of course, it was none of my business how anyone else had performed, but out of sheer curiosity I did enjoy some of the conversations about the results of my friends.”
Looking back now, it’s very much a mixed bag of feelings. I was disappointed in some grades which I poured huge amounts of effort into and was therefore sure would convert on results day. I’d also managed to fluke some grades, achieving a great result in Chemistry despite it being by far my worst science subject, following a worrying D in the mock just a few months earlier.
There were areas where I still felt I had something to prove, but these grades did a good job of painting a picture of me. I put emphasis on certain subjects during the exam period, and where there was passion, the results shone through. Where there wasn’t, I was able to scrape the grades I wanted; all without, what I considered to be, ‘wasting’ too much time, and I still had the chance to get out, have a good time, and continue pursuing what I really cared about as a result.”
So Remember. Stay calm! You're an NCS'er and you've got this. Results are all about options, whether you got sweet grades or messed up. Don’t despair if you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped, or feel somehow you’re a failure compared to your mates. You can always re-take exams, and if they’re not for you there’s always an alternative way for you to get to where you want to be. Whatever your grades, this is just one step in your journey... time to explore what's next!
If you really are in need of somebody to talk to though, The Mix are on hand to speak to anyone requiring a confidential and informative chat about your options by other young people who've been there - done that. Ring on 0808 100 8000 or visit their website