Four Results Days, Four Realisations.

I’ve had four A level result days.

2014 was the first. Having been incredibly ill all year I knew I had failed. Everyone told me I hadn’t, but I knew I had. I hadn’t been eating properly or sleeping for weeks and had fallen asleep for part of two of my exams. The day before the results, my psychiatrist told me down the phone that I was having a major depressive episode and needed an ambulance immediately.

2015 was the results day where I had no results. I had been in psychiatric units for the entire year and was reflecting on the year before’s experience. I wrote a blog about it ‘FACED BUG – Some Results Day Rationale’, and ultimately realised that no exam result was worth being suicidal for.

In 2016 I worked hard on my AS levels all year and, despite still acclimatising to the outside world, I did well in English. I also got a very unwelcome ‘U’ in French. Obviously, being me, I internalised it and declared to myself that I was stupid. It was a couple of weeks later when my paper was sent back that my tutor realised that the awarding body had managed to lose the majority of my A3, neon yellow, exam paper. Instead of noticing that things were amiss the board merrily awarded me their lowest mark, a U. After a complaint I got a C grade based on the one questions they did manage to keep hold of.

This year I was incredibly nervous. I didn’t know what was going to happen. This year was different in that I had been in touch with my dream university and had asked about applying for 2018. I had accesss problems in one of my exams, which as always I worried would affect my grade. I arrived at college clinging to my Dad and softly hyperventilating. We went to the desk and got the envelope. The exam officer, a complete star, appeared at my side. “I want to be here when you open this!” She said.

‘Oh boy’ I thought. ‘She’s making sure she’s here to pick up the pieces. It must be bad.’

She smiled and opened the envelope. I got an A* in English and a C in a very hard French paper. I’d even got an A in my French AS resit. I couldn’t believe it. It’s the first year that anyone from college has been there when my results were opened, it’s the first time people smiled and the first time my Dad cried with happiness. It’s the first time I’ve been in disbelief because the news is good and the first time the conversations about ‘next steps’ have been positive.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that once I decided that my mental health was worth more than exams I was actually able to do better academically for it. That first year I stayed up all night studying for weeks on end. I was ill but wouldn’t stop. It did me no favours at all. Okay, my friends from high school are well into their degrees by now, but I now realise that I do things in my own time and in my own way. I’ve got my own beat and my own drum and I definitely dance to it. Your mental health is so important. Years of being mentally unwell can’t be retaken and they are so much more regrettable than a disappointing brown paper envelope. Look after yourself and take your time, good things do come to those who wait.

My dad and I hugging just after opening the envelope

Jim Poyner Photography

 

‘FACED BUG’ Some Results Day Rationale

This post is just a quick reminder that results are not the be all and end all of everything. Your life is not measured in single letters. Your friends will stop talking results surprisingly soon and start worrying about the next thing instead. The whole point of a goal is that it isn’t easy. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO A LEVELS IN TWO YEARS. It didn’t work this time- slow it down, try again. You will get there if you have your heart set on it.

‘Faced bug’. ‘FACED BUG’ is the only useful phrase I can make out of the all powerful grades: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, U. So many have been given compartmentalised tentacles of FACED BUG as they opened the envelope on results day. But my friends, you have in fact FACED BUG. The bug being two years of bloody hard work, with a ton of stress and all when you are trying to bash in some fun and celebrate being 18. I ask you to look at the bug in question- mine has the face of Michael Gove- and ask “Have I beaten you yet?!”. If the answer is yes, picture yourself stamping on said bug. If the answer is no then get on UCAS of phone college and find a strategy for getting around it. FACED THE BUG. With PESTICIDE.

On a slightly more sane (ha!) note:

August the 13th marked a year since I was bundled off in an ambulance in Southampton; a year since my hospital journey began. I had no results to open but I worked hard at getting healthy and I am finally breaking out of *Cheery Lodge. I’m finally housed. Finally escaping. That’s enough for me! I’ll keep you updated. 

FACED BUG FRIENDS. FACED BUG.

A slightly strange but very happy photo of me.