So once again, A-level results day has come and gone. Some of you are at this moment rejoicing the success of your studies and are looking ahead starry-eyed towards the university and course of your dreams. Others have not been so fortunate, and are at this moment crushed with disappointment over missing those vital few extra points that would have resulted in getting into the university they wanted, or possibly not at all (yet!). Others still may fall into the same category as me, wondering “okay, I have my A-levels, what on Earth do I do now?”.

To those that got the results they wanted and are now confidently off to university, a big if slightly envious congratulations to you … truth be told, the mere recollection of how I felt upon gazing at my mediocre results still makes me envious of those that did well. But for those that, like me, didn’t get what they wanted and are now worried for the future – take a breath and wipe those tears away, there’s still hope for you yet!

I doubt there’s anything I could have said prior to results day that could have prepared you for that feeling … 8 years ago, when my own time came, I remember walking to that school feeling like I was walking to the gallows. I left feeling crushed … I had mediocre results and no idea of what to do. If you’d told me that, fast forward 8 years I’d be a university graduate and be working to support others through university, I probably would have looked at you like you’d just said Ramsay Bolton was a nice guy (for Game of Thrones fans). But it’s true, I didn’t get the A-levels I wanted and still made it to university where I had the best years of my life. And to those that left results day feeling disappointed – so can you, no matter who you are.

So for you that didn’t get the results you wanted, you may well be off to your second or maybe third choice of university, in which case I feel for you but don’t be too upset – university is what you make of it after all. If you study hard, take part in the vibrant social life of Uni and take part in volunteering and societies, I can tell you that you will love every moment of it.

But for those of you who now have to explore other options, believe me I know how you feel from personal experience – ironically, DMU wasn’t even one of my choices when I applied, but let that give you hope, because DMU actually turned out better than all 4 of my choices! For those of you who feel like a failure or feel hopeless, know this – there is still great potential in you. The fact that those universities couldn’t see that is their loss, not yours – some other university will be able to brag that you studied there! For those of you thinking that it is the downfall of your intended career path; don’t worry, no career has a straight career path; it may be that it takes you just a little longer to get into your intended field, for example, you may do an undergrad in something relatable to your intended course and then have to do a masters in the course you originally intended – it would take longer sure, but you’d still get there in the end! Also remember, plans change all the time anyway; what you may want now may well seem trivial later. But my point is this; don’t go giving up hope just yet!

ucas_logoNow for some practical advice; the easiest option is Clearing, which is available to you via the UCAS website; I’d like to be able to give you some advice of clearing through experience, but sadly I can’t – because I never did it! (more on my mistake later) Still, most universities have posted comprehensive guides to the clearing process that you can all check out. Alternatively, if you’re willing to wait a bit longer, you can re-sit the final A-level year and try again, although if you do this, make sure it’s worth it at the end this time, because you really don’t want to waste a whole year – or two years actually, like I did!

So if you are unsure of what to do now, as I was – make sure you do what I wish I had done, which is make use of the support available! I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise in advance for how many times you’ll see those words written in my blog, but I literally couldn’t overstate their importance. Speak to careers advisors if you’re not sure of a course, speak to disability advisors or charities – or Access2Learn! – if you suspect or have been diagnosed with a disability and want to know about support available to you. You’ll probably feel a lot more confident afterwards!

Overall, my point is this – Results Day can be either a joyous occasion, or feel like the biggest disappointment of your young lives so far. To those of you who, like me, fall on the wrong side of those two outcomes, don’t give up just yet. If you think it’s the end, just remember – I didn’t get the grades I wanted either. But fast forward 8 years and I have graduated from a university I loved and now I have a job I love! The moral of the story – good things happen so long as you don’t give up!

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