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A-level results day – a day you’ve been working towards for at least two years, but probably been thinking about for a lot longer. Maybe you’ve got the results you expected and are off to the University you planned doing the course you wanted. Congratulations – you don’t need to read the rest – go off and enjoy your day! But what about those of you who didn’t? What about those of you who are sat here without the grades you wanted? Or even have no idea what you want to do with your life, and no idea what course to do. Or even what to do if you fail A levels altogether?  This post is for you. A-Level results day was one of the worst of my life. I got much lower grades than I expected-I effectively failed the second year and the first year’s grades carried me through. I was too embarrassed to even call my parents. I felt I had let them down. I knew if I had applied myself I was capable of more, but I had gotten bored during the second year and had done no way near enough work. I even slept through one of my exams as I knew I couldn’t do it, and you weren’t allowed to leave early. I’m not proud of this – I’m just telling you how it is!

It’s not the end of the world

I guess what I’m trying to say is that no matter how bad things seem now, it’s honestly not the end of the world. There will still be amazing career and job opportunities out there for you, and some of the most amazing entrepreneurs in the world struggled at school or even ended up with no qualifications! If you are still adamant that university is for you, check out the UCAS website and see what’s available through clearing. Perhaps your college or school has a careers adviser – arrange an appointment with them. If you didn’t get the grades you needed for a specific course – would resits be an option and you just defer a year? There might be access courses you can do which will bridge the gap and help you get on to the course you want as well. A lot of mature learners take this route after all.

What if university isn’t for you, or you genuinely have no idea. Well, I’m 34 and recently started an apprenticeship. You don’t have to be a 16 year old who wants to be a mechanic to go for such things. I’m a 34 year old data analyst apprentice, being paid a proper salary in a proper job but with training included.

Over the years, I’ve gone from job to job, learning things along the way (I have an NVQ and a diploma as well as loads of on the job training). I’m not likely to be a CEO or senior manager anytime soon – but I don’t want to be so that’s fine by me. I want to be in a job I like with people I get on with and be able to pay the bills. I don’t like being bored and I’ve learned what I do and don’t like along the way (don’t like doing face to face customer service, do like computers and numbers). I think sometimes we put too much pressure on the younger generation to have career goals and not focus on life goals. Friends, family, leisure time – all of that is far more important to me, and although I earn money in order to enjoy that time, I definitely work to live and not the other way around.

Looking back

I cannot believe A-level results day was 15 years ago for me! It was a bad day at the time but I look back now and smile. The path I have taken wasn’t what I had planned or expected, but would I change it? Would I go back in time and do the work and revise more and get better grades? Not for a second! The people I have in my life are almost entirely people I’ve met through jobs I’ve had over the years. I even got my cats through a lady at a job I had at the time. I’m the person I am today because of the journey I’ve had. My life is far from perfect, and yes there are some things I’d change if I could, but I wouldn’t change the journey I’ve had. I wouldn’t choose a degree and student debt over my friends (and my cats), no way! There’s also no guarantees that A-Levels (and a degree) guarantee you a high income in your career so don’t go in to them looking to make lots of money!

5 Replies to “Why A-Level Results day isn’t as important as you think”

  • Hi. This was a really good read because my daughter is going through her A levels at mo and she won’t push herself, even though I know she is intelligent . She could get A and B bits thinks C will get her through things. Which is disheartening to watch . This read has helped me rethink things . I am a one parent family, whuch is also hard, especially moneywise . Thank you . Maxine

    • Hi Maxine, I would never encourage someone to not study, but as someone who didn’t do university and has only ever been out of work by choice when I relocated, I just don’t know if some people are right for it. I hope your daughter gets the grades she needs or wants to continue pursuing her goals, but if not, the world is still her oyster!

  • See in my case, I did do well at school but life happened and the things I had planned to do were no longer an option. I missed out and it makes me sad sometimes but the path I went down has made me into the person I am today so everything has been worth it.

    • I’m pleased to hear you are happy with where you have ended up – even if it wasn’t the original plan! 🙂

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