Something caught my attention recently and it was this particular video by Riyadh K, which I found out about through reading this article. If only my 16-18 year old self had seen a video like this or was told something like this ten years ago. The things that he said in this video about why you shouldn’t worry about your exam results hit the nail on the head perfectly. It’s something that really resonated with me…
Watching this video allowed me to reflect on my own personal experiences when I was sitting my exams and studying. Academically, I did okay. I wasn’t the straight-A, top-performing, overachieving student who belonged to numerous clubs or anything like that but I always put the work in and did my best.
Rewind back to ten years ago, when I walked into the school to collect my results. Then there was the dreaded moment of opening THAT envelope. I did okay, but it wasn’t the grades I was hoping for or the grades that I was predicted to get, proving exam predictions are absolutely full of shit by the way.
The following year, when I went to collect the results after sitting my AS Levels, I kind of saw it coming because I know how much if a struggle and how turbulent my first year of sixth form was, but it was still hard-hitting. (I got E’s in all my subjects by the way.)
My parents’ reaction never helped either as it was if I had murdered someone or done something completely irredeemable. All of a sudden, it all got on top of me and I ended up feeling extremely suicidal and considered talking my own life. After I had a meeting with the then-headteacher about it and she was very reassuring.
I realised that the main downfalls were being completely ill-equipped for A-Levels, lack of confidence and self-belief, low self-esteem and lots of personal issues. As well as being belittled by a couple of my teachers in sixth form.
A year later, when I went to collect my A-Level results, I remember walking in feeling really apprehensive about it. I opened the envelope and when I saw the results, my heart sank as I found out I dropped a grade in a couple of the subjects that I’d taken, meaning there was the possibility I hadn’t gotten into my chosen university.
But as soon as I logged into UCAS, I found out that I actually did get a place at university and within a matter of seconds, I didn’t give a shit about my results anymore and forgot about them just like that. My exam results no longer mattered as I was finally able to have a new beginning…
As I’ve gotten older and have had a chance to look back and reflect, I wanted to let you know why you shouldn’t worry about your exam results or let them define you.
There’s a part of me who looks back now wishing I hadn’t invested so much time and energy into studying and did lots more travelling, having incredible experiences and focused on finding my own identity and making sure I was better equipped for the real world.
I know that it’ll fill some people with rage and will raise lots of eyebrows, but I can’t help but strongly agree with what’s being said in this video.
So here’s why you shouldn’t worry about your exam results…
1. In years to come, they won’t matter for shit….
As you start applying for jobs, going out into the workplace and getting experience within the workplace environment, your grades and academic qualifications will decrease in value.
Instead, you have to think about how saturated and competitive the job market is and figure out what’ll make YOU stand out from numerous job applicants going for the same role. Because one things for sure, your exam results will be inadequate. When you go into job interviews, employers will be more interested in what you’ve learnt outside the classroom and exam halls and how that makes you a strong candidate for the job role you’ve applied for.
Yes, I get that for specific job roles that you’ll need a specific set of qualifications and exam results and they will be lots of employers who require you to have certain exam results. But if you don’t get the exam results you were hoping for, then don’t fret. You can find a sideways move in and another way to build up the skillset you’ll need for that particular career path and something else you can bring to the table. You may have to play the long game, but it’ll all be worth it.
2. They don’t define you…
Singer-songwriter James Morrison got a U in A-Level music, but later went onto be commercially successful. This goes to show that academic achievements don’t mean everything. You shouldn’t let a few bad exam results stop you from pursuing your passions and carving out the career you want.
3. It’s not the end of the world…
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Getting the grades you weren’t hoping for isn’t going to kill you. But, trust me, it does make you stronger.
At least now you can go back and figure out how to get to where you want and see if resits are a possible option. Don’t see it as a failure, but use it as a learning curve.
4. Mental health is most important…
Another reason as to why you shouldn’t worry about your exam results is because no exams or qualifications are worth neglecting your mental health for. After all, regardless what the results eventually turn out to be, they’ll offer no defence against mental health issues.
5. Failure can be the biggest catalyst for success…
It’s definitely not the end of the world if you fail your exams. In fact, you can learn so much more from failure than you can from success. Each lesson you learn will be a step closer to getting to where you really want to be and it makes you a better person. Failure doesn’t mean the end, it means the beginning.
Had I not failed my AS Levels the year before, I wouldn’t have been motivated to get better results the following years and get into university.
For example, JK Rowling was fired from her secretarial job for working on Harry Potter during office hours and subsequently went on to become one of the most successful authors of all time. Not to mention having a lasting impact on children’s literature. Anna Wintour was fired from her magazine job as a Junior Fashion Editor at Haper’s Bazaar only to eventually become the most powerful figure in magazine publishing. Of her setback, she said, ‘I recommend you all get fired. It’s a great experience.’
“Failure is a great teacher and, if you are open to it, every mistake has a lesson to offer” – Oprah Winfrey
Just remember, there IS light at the end of the tunnel, regardless of what happens, no matter what level you’re studying at. So, on that note, good luck with your life, NOT your exams…