Your Grades Do Not Dictate Your Worth

Today I had an exam which means I am officially exam free for the first time in months, woohoo! I can finally get on with exciting new projects, volunteering things and all that jazz…

Anyway, moving on, what I really wanted to write about is tomorrow. For those of you who don’t know, tomorrow is A-Level results day, aka the worst/best day in many 18-year-olds lives.

I can clearly remember picking up my A-Level results. All of my friends were really bothered because their results determined whether they’d got into the uni they wanted. I wasn’t bothered about getting into the uni I’d applied to, because it was a deferred application and in all honesty, I didn’t really want to go anyway. I was bothered about my grades, though. I’d had a slightly rocky sixth form for one reason or another, but I’d worked incredibly hard for my exams and just wanted to know my grades.

I got my grades and they were good, really good by most people’s standards; but they were not good enough by my standards. I was disappointed, felt like a failure and basically just thought I was rubbish. I felt like I’d let my family and teachers down and that I was never going to get anywhere in life – you know the kind of thoughts ‘bad’ grades can lead to!

So, I started my gap year with no self-confidence, living in a tiny village, and feeling pretty hopeless.

Fast forward a year and I was happier, more confident and had some hope for the future. I was looking forward to starting uni, on a different course from the one I’d originally applied for. I had a vague idea of what I might like to do with my life and a whole load of volunteering experience under my belt; I actually had some self-belief.

My gap year taught me that I am not my grades, I am not a grade-producing factory and I am worth more than my grades. And you are too.

Whatever grades you get tomorrow, whether they’re what you want or not, whether they get you the uni place you want or not, they do not define you and they do not define your future. If you don’t get the uni spot you want, it is not the end of your career. If you don’t get the grades you want, it does not mean that you, as a person, are worth any less than you were before you picked those grades up.

I know it’s a stressful day and that some people will be elated and others will be gutted, but it doesn’t mean that your future is decided by those letters on a sheet of paper. There are ways and means of achieving your goal whatever your grades may be.

Additionally, some of you will have gone through some really difficult times during your sixth form years. I know a lot of people who went through some horrendous things during sixth form and of course it affected their grades. If you are one of those people, be proud of your achievements, because sticking with sixth form when facing adversity is pretty damn awesome. Yes, it might have affected your grades, but achieving anything when you’ve got stuff going on in the background is amazing, and you should be proud.

If you’re someone who is disappointed tomorrow and hasn’t got into uni, or hasn’t got into the uni they wanted, take a gap year (if you’re able to) and go and have fun. Volunteer, get work experience, get a job, go travelling. Do something that’s not books, exams and essays, because you will get to know yourself so much better and you might find a different course you’d like to apply to, or discover a different path altogether.

Tomorrow is not make or break. It does not define you and it does not define your future. It’s okay to be happy, it’s okay to be disappointed, but try to remember that your grades do not dictate your value as a person.

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