I have been off on an adventure recently, which is what I originally intended to blog about. However, after a day of serving trembling, nervous teenagers (Honestly, a welcome change. Usually we have rowdy kids who have nowhere else to go) I decided I’d blog about something more topical.
It is GCSE results day here in the UK – for those outside the UK they’re those pointless exams you have to take when you’re 16 to determine whether you’re going to be a rocket scientist.
Teenagers across the country are flocking to their schools, possibly seeing their friends for the last time and collecting the pieces of paper they’ve been studying for the last two years.
But here’s the thing: It literally doesn’t matter what results you get.
You will never use most your GCSE’s. Most jobs just ask that you can read and write in English and can do basic maths.
Unless you want to be an astronaut, or an archaeologist you don’t need that A in Science or History. And if you do want to do those things, you can still get a degree.
I failed most of my GCSE’s. I think I have a total of 6, though I’ve never really looked at that piece of paper since results day. (I tend to ignore problems until they become a bigger problem.)
I struggled academically because I had so much going on in my personal life (Caring for my mum, my Dad dying, becoming homeless) that my brain could not pick up any new information.
At the time, it was the end of the world that I hadn’t got many GCSE’s. I was devastated. The pressure put on you to perform well and learn things that will never be useful. Not once have I told people that I go to a swimming pool in French. Or had to measure the circumference of a circle, or know why certain chemicals react to eachother.
I remember once in Science we got the results for a mock test. My teacher took me out of the classroom and ‘had a word’ with me, basically having a go at me because my results weren’t good enough. Obviously, I was trying my very best and to hear that I was a failure broke me.
Then, I got my proper results. I had failed most things – but I was ecstatic because I got my C in Maths. I had kept getting 1 mark off so I was put through a ‘last resort’ exam, where the highest I could have got was a C but the questions were easier. I had always struggled with Maths, I just couldn’t get my head around it.
I went home pleased with that one minor victory, I was pretty happy until I got ‘dumped.’
I say ‘dumped’ because it was never a relationship to start with, really. One of my childhood friends had got in touch and we talked through the internet everyday. I told him my results, and his only response was: ‘How could you get an F in art?’ and then ‘dumped’ me.
Now, I don’t know if that was the reason he did it, but back then, it felt like it was. I was heartbroken, destroyed and felt so incredibly stupid. The words ‘How could you get an F in art?’ haunted me for weeks.
I was so upset that Mum adopted a rescue kitten for me. I mean, obviously that cheered me up, who doesn’t want a kitten?
But everything happened for a reason.
I was stuck doing A-Levels at my school because it was legal to be in education until you were 17, and since I hadn’t got the grades I couldn’t go to college they had to keep me.
I studied the 2 subjects I’d passed and enjoyed – English and IT. (Little did I know that IT basically stood for ‘Internal Trauma.’ Honestly, I hated every moment of it.) And then we had the option to travel 30 minutes on our lunch break to do Drama. The joys living in the middle of nowhere.
So, that’s what I did. I studied extra hard for all of my exams because at this point, I just wanted to prove everyone wrong. I scraped through them, and passed them all, just. Not only that, but I had got into university! With only 6 GCSE’s and 4 A-levels, I was going to study what I actually enjoyed doing – writing.
Fast forward three years, an alcohol addiction and pasta addiction later, I have a First Class Bachelors degree in Creative Writing. Once I got to do what I loved, it turned out that I was academic, I just didn’t have the freedom that allowed me to express myself and be celebrated for my individuality.
My point is, school is nowhere near real life. The people I knew there all have such different lives. Some have babies, some are engaged and some are working in their dream job. It’s not up to us, or your teachers, or your parents to tell you what success is.
You find that out for yourself.