Excited, terrified, eager, agitated, motivated and fraught, I was in turmoil as I drove to my sixth form college for the last time. It was results day.
I had been very surprised at my predicted grades, higher than expected. A-levels were hard. But my tenacity had paid off and I was able to apply to study Broadcasting at universities well regarded by the media industry. I was following my dream of becoming a radio producer.
Shrieks of happiness surrounded me as I tore open my results envelope. I had dropped a grade in French. Despite getting a B and two C’s, my first choice university didn’t accept me. I felt a complete failure.
During results season, the lives of millions of young people will change. For some it will be full steam ahead. For others, dreams will be turned insight out. Wherever you find yourself, don’t panic. As JK Rowling said, “Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.”
If your results are not what you expected, follow these steps:
- Allow yourself time to process your emotions. It’s OK to cry.
- Find people who will be supportive – a relative, friend, teacher, youth leader or coach.
- Actively choose to embrace the change and move forward in a positive manner. Taking a birds’ eye perspective of your whole life, the solution may be better than the door that has just closed.
- Remind yourself of what you want to achieve. If you don’t know, then the change in circumstances could be a blessing in disguise. Find an accredited youth coach or career coach and get professional help to decide on the right path for you. It’s important to not waste time and money on a wrong fit choice of gap year, job, course or apprenticeship.
- Take control. Get an action plan in place. Make a list of your options, who you need to speak to and what you need to find out? Put a date next to each one so you know when it needs to be done by.
- Find someone to hold you accountable.
“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar (motivational speaker)
How did my story end? My second choice university was Falmouth College of Arts. As soon as I arrived I knew that dropping a grade was the best thing that could have happened to me. My degree was far easier than my A-levels because the course was a practical, assessment-based one and something I loved – I spent my days making radio and TV. Three years of fun ended in a degree, 2.1 (Hons), and a radio producer job at the BBC.
Take action in your lowest moment to turn your perceived failure into a success.