5 years ago (almost to the day, cheers Timehop) I received my A Level results. I've lied about what I got for years, and right now I can't believe I did. I understand why, I was ashamed at the time, but then here, in 2016, at 23, I really don't care. I own it. 

I got 3 Cs. CCC.
Sociology C (only just off a B, my best grade, which is odd because I only took that subject to fill timetable space), English Lit C (and I had to retake my AS exam to get that), Drama C (B on the hideous 2.5 hour exam, C on coursework. I was stunned). 
I was devastated when I received these grades, these bold typed capital letters printed on thick paper, because it meant I wouldn't be going to uni

I'd received a conditional offer from the University of Winchester a few months before, and I'd visited not long after applying. It was the only uni open day I attended that gave me THAT FEEL. The feeling I needed, the buzz. I was at home there. I walked down the main street of West Downs Student Village and I knew, I knew I had to be there. I couldn't not be.
Winchester required BBC from me, which was very generous of them, according to all my super-academic and generally genius friends. I, however, found that daunting. I was great at essays, at coursework, at Drama performances, at contributing in classes – but exams? No. I couldn't do exams. I'd choke and crumble and cry. The enormous clock would stare at me as I sat at that teeny wobbly desk in the local church where we took our exams; the papers in front of me would slip and shriek under my hands, knowing I was useless and would cover them in mindless rambles and messy thoughts. I maintain that that's why I did as poorly as I did. Well, I thought I did poorly, when in fact 3 Cs is decent and I shouldn't have been upset. I should have been proud of myself. 

Anyway, I am actually a little grateful that I had a minor breakdown on Results Day. Yes, I did. I broke right down. I cried and cried, while my clever friends cheered and hugged, having got everything they needed – I felt them slipping away from me, no, pulled, I felt them racing away, fleeing, to their new homes and new lives
I wailed down the phone to the university while frantically refreshing the infernally frozen UCAS web page in the college computer suite. 
'I'm sorry, I dropped grades, I failed, is my place gone? I didn't meet the offer!'
Then the kind fella on the phone in Winchester said the magic words, after I finally got my panicked words out: 'Oh, don't worry. We're still having you! Yeah, don't worry. Just a formality. We always wanted you. Welcome to Winchester! See you in September.' 
Y'know why I'm happy I broke down like that? Because it made me see. I realised just how badly I wanted it. I wanted to go to university. I'd been doubting it for some time before Results Day, considering apprenticeships and low-level work-up jobs...but when it came down to it, uni was something I desperately wanted. I wanted – needed – that phase of my life to happen.

Having said that, remember my darling younger readers: it's not everything. That was just my experience, that was what I wanted to do with my life at that point. 
Your results are not you. They don't define you. They don't have a say in what you do with your life. Just remember a) the Clearing process, if you desperately want that uni life, b) retakes, apprenticeships, jobs, travelling OPTIONS ALL OF THE OPTIONS, and c) there's no rush. There's no rush to get anywhere, to do anything; just do you, be you. You can't go wrong. 


- Oh, quick shout-out to the future Creative Writing students at the University of Winchester – in October 2016, for just one day (at present), you will be taught about professional writing, specifically blogging, by ME. I cannot wait to meet you all and rock out in some seminars with you. I'll bring the snacks. Whoever brings me a coffee gets an instant First*.

*I have no power to give Firsts or grades of any description. I will just love you a lot. 


  1. Great post about your results. So many of the people around me this year were worried before I reminded them about clearing, unis are more inclined to take students because they may blitz it on their results but giving them that chance to study a course can help them shine too.

    I'm so happy you got in in the end :D

    Mel ★ www.meleaglestone.co.uk


Post a Comment

posts you've really liked.