The results are in….
To all A level students out there - well done! You made it to results day!
You have had the weirdest 6th Form experience ever, and I’m sorry if it wasn’t everything you hoped it would be. But you got through it, and you should be mighty proud of yourselves for that!
Human beings find uncertainty stressful, and your A-Levels have been about as uncertain as it was possible to be. No other A level cohort has ever had such an “on again off again” experience of exams. I know from several of the people I have worked with through this last year or two that it has been really hard to keep adapting to all the changing plans and expectations. The goal posts have been moved so many times you are barely even on the same pitch you started on, let alone playing the same game! Well done for finding ways to ride that uncertainty.
I hope your results are everything you want and need them to be. But if they aren’t don’t despair. There are always alternatives and always things that can be done. It may mean you have to work harder or longer than you wanted to, but there are other ways to tell the story of your life that you want to tell. You can do this. If the Covid crisis has taught us oldies anything, it is that your generation have immense resilience and creativity and you find ways to cope and get round things.
Exam results are not everything. They can certainly make life easier if they go the way you want, but they don’t have to be the barrier to everything you are planning. Be creative, ask for advice, talk to people who can help at home or at school and come up with a plan for how you are going to succeed in spite of the exams results.
Good luck out there.
We can’t wait to hear where your story is going to take you next!
- oh and one more thing...
Why I am inspired by your generation.
I wrote this a year ago, mid pandemic, and it still seems appropriate, maybe even more so. Young people have coped with so much in the last 18 months and I am so proud of all of them.
I spend a lot of my working life talking to teenagers and young people. I love it! This is the best part of my work. And over the last few months, it has been what has kept me going. Because, you lot are inspiring, you know that?
Although I am often talking to young people at low points in their lives, I get to hear about the important things you do. At times when young people are feeling sad, anxious, depressed, frightened or lonely, it is my privilege, and sometimes my pain, to hear their stories and to try to join with them to find ways through. But the joy for me comes in what we are finding our way through to. Because that is the key. We are finding our way through to the alternative story that they want to tell. The hopes and dreams and strengths and intentions.
I find it an incredible relief that I have yet to meet a young person who didn’t have something interesting to say. And I also find it brings me enormous hope that you lot, your generation, are so competent and so certain you can change the world! One young woman said to me in the last few months “I know I will change the world, or die trying” and I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her, because she meant it and I believed her. That wasn’t a throw away comment. It wasn’t a statement made for attention on some social media platform, or a copied and pasted status update. It was a quiet, determined statement and I absolutely believed it. I am so grateful that I can.
The last few months have been tough for us all. For those of you who have had school, exams, friendships, relationships and learning interrupted, it has been really tough. But throughout all of this, I have continued to have inspiring co
nversations and I hold a lot of hope that some of the good things that have been learnt will be carried forward by young people.
There was an interesting government audit of political engagement in 2019, which suggested that people aged 18-34 were the most likely to think that getting involved is effective. And that is certainly my personal experience. Your generation believes you can make a difference, and you do! Look at the campaigners who have gained most traction in recent years – Greta Thunberg, the Parkland school gun-law campaigners in the US, Malala Yasafzai etc etc They are all under 25, in fact most of them under 18 when they start. You can’t all be Greta Thunberg, and her passion may not be yours. But all the young people I get to talk to have something they care about, something they are interested in, and something that they value.
I am so grateful that I get to hear what you are striving for. I get to hear what you value and how you are working towards those values. Not everyone gets the chance to have those values noticed or appreciated. But I appreciate your values and I am not the only one. They do count and they do get noticed. Please keep striving for them.
You give me hope that change is possible. You give me hope that good things can come out of difficult situations and that my generation and those above me might not have ruined absolutely everything. We must have done at least some things right because we got you. We must have done something right to give you the tools to go and make the changes that need to happen.
Thank you for inspiring me. I promise to listen to your values and to try and support you to move towards them.
All my best wishes for you in the future.
Dr Helen Care, Clinical Psychologist
A Confident Start - with psychology that works for you