Thursday 17th August, 2017.
A-Level results day.
I don’t want any of you to panic. I’m going to tell you my story of how I failed my A-Levels. It’s an interesting one.
This time last year my world got flipped upside down and I genuinely thought my life was over.
I started my A-Levels late. I was 19 when I started, half of my friends where already half way through university and I was just starting my A-Levels, but that’s fine I thought, everyone goes at their own pace. I’m no different, just taking my time.
I started studying English Language and Literature, Psychology, Sociology and Business Studies at AS and don’t get me wrong, I struggled. I couldn’t understand half of it and because my lecturers never showed up and honestly, I wasn’t really that interested. I got so far behind over the year, I didn’t even know my own name.
It didn’t take me long to drop Business Studies and I did it because of health issues. Every day my anxiety flared up, I developed psoriasis because of the stress and I felt like my life was falling apart and that was only the beginning. I ended up failing the Sociology exams abysmally and finished up the year with 2 AS levels and no third subject.
A few months later in September, we went back for A2. I started the year with high hopes. Instead of taking another subject I took the Welsh Baccalaureate. This was the most fun I’d had in a subject for the longest time, I met my current best friend that year and I felt (finally) I was on the right track. Once again, I struggled with the exams, but I know I struggle with exams, I always have and I probably always will – I just hoped with every ounce of my that I’d done well enough to get be into my first choice university – University of South Wales (USW.)
Results day for me came so quickly.
I met up with my best friend and we went in to collect our envelopes. We opened them: and shit.
I’d not gotten what I needed to get in both English and Psychology. I freaked out, I rang my lecturer and she assured me I’d be fine, as long as I’d done well in the Welsh Baccalaureate. But there was nothing in the envelope. So I went back inside and asked the receptionists, “there’s been a problem with the award” oh no.
After a few days of phone calls and emails, I finally found out what went wrong. It turns out, one of my teachers for the award had removed ONLY me from the class register and when you do that at my college, it removes you from the award as well, so, I’d failed Welsh Baccalaureate… My last hope.
I was devastated. I cried on the phone to the people at my college so many times I still wish I could go in and apologise now, I didn’t even know where to put my emotions, I was lost and confused, my future had been taken away from me by a complete stranger. I was angry at the establishment and I was even angrier at my teacher. After email after email and phone call after phone call I finally got in touch with someone at the college who could help, not even the head could be bothered to help me.
For the sake of this story, we’ll call her Racheal. Turns out, the teacher (we’ll call him Dyke) had sent everyones work off but my own, no one could find my work and the college accounts, where my work was saved, had been shut down for the summer (yikes!) It took around 5 hours to get the tech boys to fix the problem (thank you!), and another 2 hours to re-do all the work I’d done months prior. But I completed it. It was verified by Racheal within minutes, sent off to the WJEC and the marks were returned to me within days. I got an A.
Whilst this was happening myself, Rachel and another teacher of mine we’ll call Jessie were contacting USW. Pleading most of the time that I was a good student, with a amazing work-ethic and exam results didn’t show how good I was in the classroom.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it felt sometimes like I was being wrongly offered something I didn’t deserve – after all, I didn’t get the grades they wanted, yes my references were out of this world, but I didn’t get the grades…
And that’s my point. I got into my first choice university with bad exam results and amazing recommendations. And you know what? Throughout my first year of university I averaged a 2.1 in all of my assignments and now I’m going into second year with a whole new found confidence and a future that’s brighter than my teeth.
I’ve proved to everyone in my life and myself that I deserved to be at this university and that my grades don’t define what I can do as a person. So, don’t be disheartened if they’re not what you expected, there’s ALWAYS a way to get around them and there’s always a way to succeed where you have previously failed.
You’ll smash it.