This year’s A Level and GCSE results are the result of overcoming enormous challenges for many.
All young people have been through huge challenges over the last year and this results week we are remembering all of that. We have GCSE and A Level results to contend with in our house and our kids have faced additional challenges as the world stopped just after their sister died and they had to motivate themselves to study in their bedrooms while grieving and then suffered panic attacks over the return to school exams in September. Just getting into the exam hall was an achievement all in itself.
It took so much to get to the end of the school year this year, past all the lockdowns, the uncertainty about exams, the fears about continuous assessment and more, that I had almost forgotten about the results. Daughter two was playing them down in any event. Daughter three, who has GCSE results this week, has been very up and down about them, mainly down.
We were emailed first thing that the results were in, but daughter two didn’t even move from her bed where she is currently quarantining. “I don’t care,” she said a little too vehemently. By around midday she came downstairs and told me the results, which were extremely impressive. “I want you to appeal that I should have had an A*,” she said. No-one over the age of 25 checks the stars, I said. An A is an A is an A and an A after that year is an A*************** to me.
Now we anticipate the GCSE results, which daughter three is very nervous about, mainly because she missed a lot of certain classes due to counselling sessions and the need for extra support to simply get through the school day. She needs to get certain results to get into sixth form college – her sister’s old school, which her brother will also be attending. It is all wrapped up in layers of different emotions. Everything is these days.
Just getting the results and thinking about university, talking to people about buying cutlery to go to university and the like, is so hard. It feels like yesterday that we were doing the same for daughter one. We use all that cutlery and the dishes now. We brought back all the bedding from her university and it is on her bed now. Everything is a reminder of the past and a worry for the future – letting daughter two go, for instance, not knowing what will happen to her. Will she reach 21, unlike her sister? How will that feel to be older than her big sister? Nothing is certain or ever will be again. Anything can happen and, of course, you can’t stop time, even if the last year has felt a bit like you can.
In the end, exam results are built up to be something so big and important. And they do open doors and possibilities and they are certainly an achievement, particularly this past year. But there are always ways to reshape your life if you are lucky enough to have it.