I Cried at my A-Level Results

On the morning of Results’ Day, I woke up feeling so ill that I couldn’t do much. I say “woke up”, it was more like “got up” because I’d hardly got any sleep the night before. It was a mixture of sheer panic and the inability to quiet my mind; I procrastinated sleeping by wailing about how scared I was to the friends that would put up with it.

My dad, Mum, a friend I call Rapunzel who’s been staying for a few days and I travelled to school by car because I live around 40 minutes away. On the way there, I had to listen to music to shut my brain off. I got into school, after being unable to function in the car, and I could barely breathe. The fear was unbelievable, especially because I was one of the first ones there.

We got into the hall and I just remember hearing this awful ringing in my ears. It was like nothing else mattered and I felt so weak that I had to hold my mum’s arm really tightly. Because we were pretty much first in line, my results were given to us quickly in an envelope (which of course I couldn’t read).

When my parents opened the results, my immediate response was “how bad is it?” For weeks now, I’d been setting myself up for failure, telling myself I’d do terribly. I was so afraid of disappointing people that I told my parents and everyone that I’d done awfully and I believed it myself. I can’t stress how much I thought I’d fucked up.

Turns out, I got amazing results – far better than I ever could have dreamed. When I found out my English result, I screamed so loudly that I felt like the whole hall went silent; Rapunzel picked me up and I was so happy – like I couldn’t believe. My friend Swan also got her results and we ran at each other, shrieking. I’m just so proud of all of my friends because they did fantastically, after having worked so hard. I hugged so many teachers, finally able to congratulate myself, with concrete evidence that my brain couldn’t disprove.

Afterwards, Rapunzel and I went to Swan’s house. There, we watched hilarious videos, relaxed and screamed a lot. The day had such an unreal quality to it, yet everything felt a little more vibrant. We met up with some friends and had lunch; it was so much more chilled than anything I’d done in school because I properly felt – and feel – free.

It’s been almost surreal, these last few days. At the weekend, I went to one of my best friend’s houses to stay and there, I felt lighter than I have in months. I’ve come to terms with a lot these past few weeks and that’s really shown in how I even react to myself. Sure, my mental health has really dipped recently but it feels as if there’s a massive weight off my shoulders. Now I’m not quite sure what to do with myself, though I’m still keeping busy as a distraction.

Whether you got the results you wanted or not, you should be proud of yourself. A-Levels were some of the hardest things we’ll ever do and we got through them: that counts for something. No matter what happens, there are always options and you will always have choices – that might not help right now but just hold onto what you can do rather than what you’ve done. You aren’t a failure.

It’s over now – you’ve done it; all that adrenaline isn’t needed for being afraid. Results Day was the final obstacle and now you can go on to live your life. God, I feel like I need a year-long sleep. Start again, if you want to, because you deserve that.

I’m proud of myself and I can really say that now. When I was going through shit in the middle of the year, my Head of Year told me that I would be and she was right. I bloody well did it, got through, survived, and no-one can take that away from me.

Love from Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s Results Day Tomorrow WHAT

In less than 24 hours, I will have got my results for A-Levels. The very thought of that makes me feel ill. Fuck, oh God, I’m getting my results tomorrow.

If you don’t live in the UK, A-Levels are exams you do at the end of year 13 – the last year of high school, 12th grade, your last finals if you will. They’re the culmination of 2 years of work, in 3-4 subjects. They determine what university you go to, if your placement is dependent on grades (a conditional offer). Because of the new system of education, most of our grade is down to 2-3 exams – only a few subjects had exams that counted for the final grade a year before.

I did 3 subjects – English Lit, History and Psychology. In a way, I’m lucky because I didn’t apply for university this year (I’m applying in my year out) but that just means that whatever grades I get, I’m stuck with. It was certainly less pressurised when I was doing the exams but now it’s approaching results, I’m feeling more than terrified.

Around three weeks before now, I started getting the obligatory Results Day nightmares. At first, it was fine: I dreamt that I got all B’s in my subjects, which would have been good. Then, it jumped to E’s: I remember in that dream, it felt so incredibly realistic; everyone was disappointed in me and I woke up crying. Next, it was that I’d got all G’s. You can’t actually get G’s in A-Level as far as I know, which just shows how much my fear of failure was manifesting itself. My final dream was a couple of days ago: I’d got A*’s in everything but English, in which I’d got a D. That was kind of a problem because I want to study English at uni. Honestly, at this point I don’t know what to expect. I have no idea if I did alright or terribly.

On GCSE Results Day, I was nervous. I felt really ill and couldn’t sleep as much the night before. However, I knew that it wouldn’t be too bad if I didn’t get the grades I wanted. I also knew that I’d done reasonably well because I was able to put my all into those exams. With A-Levels, I’m not so sure: it means more if I don’t do as well but I also don’t have the certainty that I will have done well, at all. In my exams, my mental health had deteriorated to such a point that I could barely function in the months leading up to it. I did my best, given the circumstances, but is my best good enough?

I don’t know. So many people have said that there’s ‘nothing I can do about it now’ but they’re mostly relatives or much older adults who haven’t gone through this new system. I’m just so afraid that I’ll be a failure – not really to others but mostly to myself. Oh well – I know I’m going to have to deal with the consequences regardless; it’s just the lead-up that makes me want to sob.

To everyone getting results tomorrow, good luck. We’re going to get through this and no matter what results we get, those letters won’t define us. I know it’s scary but in a day, it’ll be over and we can breathe.

If I can’t believe in myself, I can at least try to help others believe in themselves. We got through these 2 years in one piece and we’re nearly there. That counts for something and you should be proud.

Good luck, everyone. We can do this.

Love from Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

Results Day Nerves?

Chances are, if the title of this made your heart speed up and made you feel a bit ill, you’re getting AS or A-Level results tomorrow. That is if you live in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – Scotland got their Highers results beforehand, I think. If you’re not nervous for Results Day tomorrow, I applaud you; can I borrow some of that courage please?

I’m getting AS Results tomorrow. Although that’s scary, they only impact my predicted grades if I really fuck up – for me, it’s nothing compared to what my friends in the year above are getting. They’re getting results that will determine their uni placement if it’s conditional. Yes, it’s scary – more scary than I can imagine because I haven’t gone through it – but I want to try and offer some words of comfort. They might not help but in this situation, I want to try because it’ll be me going through this next year.

At the time of writing this, it’s almost 10 o’clock. We’ll be getting our results around 8-9 o’clock, depending on your school and what procedures they have. You’re probably stressed and so I’d suggest you get an early night. I know that’s rich of me to say because when you’re nervous you can’t sleep but even resting your body will help. Have a bath, shower or just do nothing for 10 minutes – no phone or social media. Nake time for yourself. That means that you can wake up tomorrow feeling a little refreshed and not so panicky. Easier said than done but it won’t do you any harm to try.

You’ve heard the phrase “You’ll be fine!” about a thousand times already and it’s probably getting on your last nerve. It’s reassuring and supportive but it won’t help you because in your mind, something could go wrong. I won’t say that to you. What I will say is that whatever happens, you will be able to move forward.

If you’re doing AS Levels, the majority of them don’t count towards your A-Levels. Whether they do or don’t, you still have another year to improve. It’s going to be upsetting for you if you don’t do as well as you wanted – I understand that – but it’s not the end of the road. That’s the same if you’ ve done A-Levels. You have your first choice and your insurance choice; there’s also UCAS Clearing. There are so many options to consider – and whatever you do, you’ll do it well because you tried so hard in those exams. You know what it is to try your best and you should be so fucking proud of yourself. Never sell yourself short. You deserve so much more than that.

Whether you got an A, B, C or any other letter, you are still an amazing person with a complex, beautiful mind. You’ve still got hopes and ambitions, whatever is written on that piece of paper. LETTERS DO NOT DEFINE YOU. I will say that so many times until you believe me because your worth is not based on how many words you can write in 3 hours or how this or that character is presented.

People tell you that these exams and results make your life. That’s bullshit. What makes your life is your drive and determination to keep going, to push forward and to not give up. What makes your life is your personality that you show to people. It’s about meeting your own expectations, not the expectations of others and if you don’t, it’s about showing yourself that you will never be a failure.

It’s okay to be scared. Just remember that fear doesn’t rule you. This year has been tough for a lot of us, with new specifications, exams and subject difficulty but we did it. If we managed this, we can do bloody anything.

I’m going to bed soon so that I can prepare myself for tomorrow. If any of you need me, I’m here – I may not understand what you’re going through exactly but I’ll still always listen.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s Okay to be Nervous for Results’ Day

2 years of work, they said.

“You’ve done it!” they shouted, once the last question was finished; you sighed in relief and shook from the knowledge that you’d finished the most difficult exams you’d done so far. That last signing of your name, writing the letters slowly, felt like freedom. 23 of them, and for all your tears at the ones that didn’t go so well, you did it.

And then, you waited. The dread mounted, spiralling, only in the back of your mind; so many other things screamed at you to “Think about me! And me, what about me!” so that the fear only surfaced a few days before. That’s what happens when you block things out.

It’s Result’s Day tomorrow. TOMORROW.

Now I’m thinking about it, I wish I’d done more. If I’d revised so much more, worked harder, realised that my stupid problems were insigmificant, I could have put more effort in. They told me I did my best, that I couldn’t have done more – “You worked SO hard, Elm!” But do I believe them? Only in one corner of my mind.

After this, I’m changing my outlook. I’ll start preparing for A-Levels early, looking over everything after my classes, so that I KNOW where I stand with my work. I’d only wished I’d done that for GCSE.

I’ll try not to dwell on negatives. As much as I KNOW there’s nothing that I, nor anyone else, can do to change the results now, it doesn’t stop me from worrying. I know that I’ll be a nervous wreck tomorrow, crying or similar, before and after the results. For my own piece of mind, I’ll run through what may happen.

I’m planning to wake at 7, and have a shower to feel vaguely more human. Waking up early means that I can mentally prepare myself for the day. Results come in at 10 for our school, but because I live 45 minutes away, I’m leaving the house at 9:ae. #EarlyBird Yaaaaay, I’ll be in the car and totally freaking out! Sounds like fun…

Our school hasn’t told us much. We have to queue up outside (the hall?) and walk in, and get our results in an envelope. We open them, read them, and watch our lives shatter – err, I mean, act very calm about it all. Yeah.

My mum’s bringing me, and so she has to read the results out. I wish they could have it in Braille, but they only get them that morning so it’s not possible. God, I can’t stand that someone has to read them to me; I’d rather be by myself, able to break down if necessary. I’ll hear how well I did by her voice as she says the subject’s name, and I don’t want that. I want to read them on my own terms; they’re MY results. Wow, that makes me sound like a petulent child.

I have no idea when my friends are getting theirs. Some are on holiday – Wren, Cedar, a few others, but Red, Odd and Pine will all be there at some point throughout the day. Even if I’d love to see them, I don’t know if that’ll be possible; Pine invited me to a picnic, but I don’t think I’d be emotionally able to cope with that. That’s sad, because people who I wouldn’t usually speak to would be there.

Apparently, and in Red’s words, there’s a “piss-up party” that starts at 7:cj. With me being me, I don’t know if I want to go to it. I might as well, but I’m nervous, and what if people don’t want me there?! I’m not exactly the get drunk smoke and stay up until 2 AM type, though I may end up proving myself wrong. Not about the smoking, because I have a special dislike for cigarettes. I’d have to depend on Red to get me around, and I don’t want to make him do that.

Oh shit, it’s just sinking in that I’m GETTING MY RESULTS. I keep on having moments where I experience utter terror, where my blood feels like it’s freezing to ice in my veins, and I second guess everything I’ve thought about how well I did.

Because really, I don’t think I did as well as I could have. Yes, I may say that a lot, but with uncertainty creefing like in a persistent fog, I’m becoming more and more sure that I never took those exams seriously. I’ve had several nightmares where I’ve failed one exam or another, the worst one being where I dreampt that I got a D in my Maths exam. Hopefully, I’ll do alright, and prove to myself that I can actually do something. Positive attitude, Elm! POSITIVITY!

My friends tell me that I’ll do great – you all have – and I’ll try and have faith in you. It’s the least I can do, to stay as optimistic as I can.

They are just insignificant letters, on one piece of paper. I’m just one student among hundreds of thousands. GCSEs aren’t important when you think about it; A-Levels are the ones that truly matter. That doesn’t stop me from worrying, clenching my hands into fists, and trawling through Twitter to find out if everyone else is terrified, too.

Good luck, guys. For all my negativity, I just want to tell you one thing.

Stay positive, as much as you can. We haven’t got long to go, until we know and until the wait is over. You have so many people around you that understand, that are JUST as scared as you are.

Last year, some of my blogging friends were getting their results. I fully understand what they were going through, how they felt when they wrote their posts about their fear.

You are going to do amazingly. I say that, no matter what result you get, because the fact that you got through those exams in the first place shows your strength. There are ALWAYS alternative pathways if you didn’t get what you wanted, but once you get those results, DO NOT beat yourself up.

It’s okay. People are always going to support you, because we know what it’s like.

I could have spent this entire post encouraging you, telling you all of these things, but that seems fake to me. I needed to show the raw, terrified side of me, because it’s part of who I am. You needed to know that you’re not alone, that every single person is allowed to show these emotions.

I’ll be making a few calls on Results Day, perhaps to some Internet friends too. If you want to skype that day, just let me know; if you need to talk about how you feel after getting them, I’m here.

We’ll be alright.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

To anyone getting results today

Dear you,

Imagine you’re a bird. Bare with me here. Imagine your wings spreading, air filling the feathers as you climb higher and higher. Imagine that freeing feeling you’ll get, knowing that you have the whole sky at your wingtips. You breathe in, letting the breeze fill your lungs.

Have you got that picture in your head?

I want you to know that WHATEVER happens later today, you are still you. You’re still that bird, in the sky, who can chirp and have the world answer back.

You’re more than a letter. You’re more than an E, D, C, B, A, A star. Imagine you’re a cat; imagine you’re a lion; imagine you’re a tree with your branches fanned out and your leaves rustling.

You’re more than a letter because you CAN imagine those things. You HAVE an imagination, and you’re using it, right now; nothing on a piece of paper can define you.

Only you can define you.

I want you to know that you are a wonderful human being. I may not know you – you’re probably thinking, ‘she has NO idea what she’s talking about!’ – but I already know you are because you have that imagination, and you were strong enough to get through those exams. You were strong enough to keep going, and you’re strong enough to tell those people who think you’re a failure to piss off.

I don’t know what it’s like. I won’t be getting my results until next year. What I do know is that so many people I care about WILL be getting results today.

This is my message to them, and to you. Once you know what you have – if you’re disappointed or happy – imagine yourself as that bird, and that cat, and that tree. Imagine yourself as anything you WANT to be, because you aren’t confined to a piece of paper.

Once you’ve got your results, I’d love to know how you did.

Because however you did, you did amazingly.

I hope this helps, in some way. By the time you read this, you will probably already have those results. I wish you all the best of luck. If you feel crap, please email me, and we can talk it out. I’m happy to help, in any way I can.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚