I remember my A-level results day all too well. I was absolutely petrified.
York was my first choice. I’d fallen in love with the city and university at an open day and wanted, more than anything else, to get in. I didn’t mind my insurance choice, but it wasn’t York. York had the campus life I wanted, a beautiful city right beside it and the course of my dreams. They’d interviewed me, they’d offered me a place; I couldn’t fall at the last hurdle!
Results went live on the UCAS website early on the morning of results day. People were checking theirs on their phones around me when I was waiting to go into the building where all the fateful brown envelopes were being laid out. I couldn’t bring myself to check. I wanted to open that envelope myself.
It wasn’t just the idea of results that made me nervous. My grades had wobbled during sixth form and somewhere deep down I was convinced I hadn’t got what I needed. I wanted to sit in a corner and open that envelope without people peering over my shoulder.
I was the first one in when they opened the doors. My heart was racing and time slowed with every footfall.
This was it.
I found it. My envelope. My corner. And opened.
I scanned down the pages looking for those all-important letters that would spell out my future. But as I found them, I was disappointed. I didn’t get what my offer was conditional on (apart from A* for my EPQ, but that wasn’t part of my offer). It was just as I’d feared.
My heart sank into the floor. I could feel my plans slipping away from me.
But there was one last hope. I connected to the school wifi and logged into UCAS. The loading bar crept across my screen agonisingly slowly… but then it popped up.
York had accepted me.
A tidal wave of relief washed over me and I immediately burst into tears.
I’ve never known exactly why York accepted me. Was it to do with my EPQ mark, which was on a topic related to my undergrad course? Was it my interview? Whatever it was, I am eternally grateful that they still took me; it fuelled me to work hard at a subject I love and I’m now coming out the other side with a first.
But the moral of this story is: DO NOT DO WHAT I DID. CHECK UCAS FIRST.
Otherwise, you end up like this:
Mine is a pretty rare case, but results day has enough pressure on it without giving yourself extra like I did. I think part of me wanted to feel the weight of not getting the grades if I hadn’t got them, and I assumed that grades were the final decider – they are most of the time! – which is why I opened my results first, but I would’ve had a much less turbulent day if I had just gone onto the UCAS website straight away.
It’s also important to be surrounded by the right people. I chose to be with friends, who were going through the same thing, and there were teachers around to either celebrate with you or to help if the news wasn’t good (and there are always some people that applies to). If you’re worried you might not have made it, teachers deal with insurance choices and the clearing process every year and will know how to help you take the next step. Read some other blog posts here for advice if you’re going through this.
If you’d rather check the UCAS website with your folks at home, or in your room on your own, there’s more privacy. At school, some of your friends might be so chilled out that it stresses you even more. But it’s all personal choice. You do you, in the most stress-free way possible.
So, in conclusion:
- Don’t put extra pressure on results day. You’ve done all you can by now.
- Decide where you want to be and who you want to be with when you look at your results.
- Whatever happens, don’t lock yourself away all day. Family, friends and teachers are there to support you however you need it. And of course…
- CHECK UCAS FIRST!
[Image credit – Featured image: news.images.itv.com]