You’ve finished your exams. Results day is a couple of months away. A long summer is ahead. Phew, you can take a well-deserved break. But, before you’ve had chance to read that book you said you were going to read, and tidy Granny J’s garden as promised, results day soon appears on the horizon. T-minus 7 days. Gulp. Bye-bye fun and games; hello stress and anxiety. We meet again.
It’s the night before the biggest day in your academic career. The exams felt like an age ago, the papers have all been marked, universities have made their decisions – only you don’t know your own future. There’s nothing more you can do other than drown in your own nerves for 12 more hours.
You’re placing yourself in different scenarios: what you’ll do if you get the grades and what you’ll do if you don’t. The latter scares you. It’s like Christmas Eve, except you’re scared of unwrapping what AQA has sent you. Hopefully it’s those A grades you’ve been working hard for.
You’ve done it all before – for GCSE and AS level – but all that experience is conveniently superseded by vulnerability and a general feeling of what-the-heck-am-I-going-to-do. It’s like you’re preparing for your first-ever results day. Indeed, this one will be the most important. Not only do you find out the results of exams, but you discover what you’ll be doing for the next (potentially) THREE years of your life.
You suddenly envy your peers who have a care-free attitude and aren’t fazed at all by judgment day, D-day, the-day-that-could-define-the-rest-of-your-life day.
It’s the 11th hour. Quick – message the group chat to double check what time you’re meeting and arrange to be dropped off, because walking would be a very hazardous option, considering the roads and bridges you have to cross…
It’s today. 6a.m. You’re already awake because you never went to sleep. You double-check on your phone that it is the 18th August, give yourself a pep talk, go downstairs to get some breakfast, indulge in the nervous tweets of thousands for some sort of refuge, before deciding which clothes to jump in.
8.a.m. Show time.
THE piece of paper is handed over to you, upside down, by a grinning lady who seems to have misinterpreted the mood in the room. You walk away with the paper still face-down. The floor knows your results. It is judging you. ‘It’s just a piece of paper,’ you think. ‘Yeah, the most important piece of paper you have ever held in your hand’- closely followed by the Domino’s pizza advert that came through your door yesterday.
Gone are the days when you received results in a brown envelope – presumably for environmental reasons – enabling the prolonging of the inevitable by a slow prising of the extra layer.
The paper turns itself over. You take a brief glance. Either in surprise or shock, you take another, much longer glance, as if crystal gazing. But do you see yourself driving home in a white collar to your wife and children after a day with Piers Morgan; or are you walking home from McDonald’s after a day of serving heart disease?
Upon discovering your results, you either: a) want to jump for joy and actually do so because what-the-heck you’ll never see half of the people in the room again; b) have an urge to jump for joy but are conscious of the impracticalities of doing so and want to maintain your reputation among your peers; or c) want to run and hide in the corner.
Hopefully it’s anything but the latter. And if it is the latter, your only job now is to shield yourself from hearing ‘it’ll all work out in the end.’ Perhaps arrange a lift home too because that walk back just got even more dangerous.
In any case – if you’re reading this as a terrified student about to be told their future by a fortune teller – good luck!
It’ll all work out in the end…
By Adam Philpott 11:57:26 on 12/08/16