When I think about results day, I remember… Well, not a lot.
It was a long time ago since I was heading into school to pick up the scary brown envelope, with a sheet of paper which was meant to define my life and tell me which path to take. At the time I’m sure I was anxious, excited, overthinking pretty much every piece of coursework or exam… But hindsight is a wonderful thing. I can now sit here as a 28-year-old and say it that the day is just a dot on the timeline.
You’re probably thinking ‘she must’ve done really well’, and actually I didn’t. I scraped through my A-levels to get into the uni I wanted. Some of my friends absolutely smashed it, others didn’t. But we all survived, thrived and are now (argh sorry about the rhyme) living our best lives.
Before we carry on with the tips and tricks to managing the rollercoaster of results day… Remember that you are worth so much more than any score or test result.
It’s okay to feel as though this is a big day. It’s important. Maybe it’s helping you figure out what comes next, which university or career path will you take. There is a lot to think about, and once you get your results, there’s even more to think about.
And with all that comes mixed emotions and stress, perhaps on levels you haven’t felt before. But hey, there are ways we can cope during this time… And any difficult situations which feel like they require a lot of overthinking, stress and intense emotion.
Communication is a vital part of our mental health and wellbeing, and key to managing results day. There’ll be over a quarter of a million students collecting A-level results this month, and it’s an experience many of us will live through in our late adolescence. It might not be a number you care about, but it shows that you are not alone in the apprehension or anxiety you’re feeling both before or after collecting the results.
It’s not something you need to go through alone. The days leading up might feel intense, your emotions all over the place and you might just want to be alone – but try to keep those communication channels open with family and friends. They’re your team, and the people that can motivate you through difficult times.
It will also help you to process those fears or feelings an recognise that if things don’t turn out how we want them, we can just wait for the next wave.
Speaking of waves… Life seems to come in them. We know the wave is coming, regardless of how we choose to live and we even get a little bit of time between before the next one rolls in. What matters though, is how we manage the waves.
We can approach results day with fear and anxiety, or we can approach the situation with an air of acceptance and compassion. A more mindful approach to results day will help you process the emotions you’re feeling, and assess the news in a healthy way – no matter what that little piece of paper might say.
We don’t always see our difficult moments as opportunities, so if you didn’t get the results you wanted then maybe that’s the world offering you a different map. Give yourself permission to take the cue to move on.
Don’t take it personally
I’ve said it before, you are worth so much more than any grade or mark you’re given on results day – and it does not define your future.
You only have to put a quick search into Google to see that disappointing grades doesn’t mean disappointing life. School isn’t for everyone; exams aren’t always the best measure of your ability and you don’t need to know what direction to take at 18.
Find a distraction
It’s okay to feel things on results day. You can be sad, angry or disappointed if that’s the way the cookie crumbles. And if that’s the case, distractions can be a great tool to pull you out of your funk. At the moment, I’m really into illustrating… I grab my iPad and doodle the first thing that comes to mind.
Some other good stuff;
- A nice long walk, or a short one – whatever works for you.
- Invite your friends over for lunch, or a coffee.
- Read a book, magazine… Anything except social media today.
You can also be happy, excited and hopeful for the future. It’s great to be positive about what comes next – just make sure that if your friends are feeling a little blue, you are mindful of their emotions.
Avoid the temptation to hide away
Don’t isolate yourself, no matter how tempting that might be. As above, spending time with people can lift your mood and make you feel more connected to life – even when life feels a little difficult. Show resilience, and listen to your friends when they say that there is more to life than results day.
Don’t give up!
Come on, dust yourself off. We all stumble from time-to-time and often our strength comes from how we learn from challenging situations.
At the end of the day, whilst we can’t change the outcome of our coursework and exams, we can control how we process the results. Congratulations on making it here, revision and exam season was tough, but you got through it. You are strong and capable of great things, so whatever that little piece of paper is telling you, know that you define what comes next.
Let’s do this.