I secretly dread A-level results day, even after all these years.
I remember rushing home, envelopes in hand, keen to get it over. I knew I didn’t want to go to university, but I wanted this period of my life done with. And I still needed some sort of A-levels to get my foot in the door of journalism college, and to populate my CV – which was pretty sparse back then.
Nothing prepared me for the shock of my results. The subjects I hated and struggled with – Geography – had yielded a C, while the subjects I was passionate about and kind of wanted – English and Politics – were rubbish results. In fact, in one case, no result at all.
Now, I’d be happy if my children came home with A-level passes, regardless of grade. I would be sad if they felt these grades were the be all and end all as I did back then, for a short while.
I had been up front with my tutors for two years that I had no intention of going to university. They didn’t really know what to do with me, because it was assumed that A-levels equals university. Those big sessions on how to fill out your UCAS form, how to navigate clearing (heaven forbid!) all became free, and lonely, periods for me. In hindsight I should not have been there at all.
This isn’t another blog along the lines of ‘it all turns out OK’. But it is a hope that Sixth Form colleges and other institutions around the country will have improved since my day, and be genuinely more accepting of those that choose to take different paths.