'Don't break yourself over a letter on a piece of paper'


Paige Neal-Holder

Results day can be nerve-wracking. A year on, BBC News apprentice Paige Neal-Holder shares her experience and a few tips for getting through the day.

It’s been a year since I nervously walked into school to receive my A-level results.

I was neither ecstatic nor disappointed. I didn’t quite get what I had hoped for but I was just glad I had passed and somehow got through all the stress without tearing my hair out.

One thing I wish I had done that day was to be proud of myself regardless of my grades.

It was a shame I couldn’t recognise my achievement.

‘Things work out’

A year later, I look back differently at my time doing A-levels.

A-levels are undoubtedly an important, useful and well recognised qualification that can help launch you into the next chapter of your life – be it university or employment.

But at the same time, an individual’s mental health and wellbeing is even more important. I can’t stress that enough.

No-one should break themselves over something that is essentially a letter on a piece of paper.

And my A-level certificates are probably collecting dust – I haven’t even picked them up from my school yet.

It may not seem like it at the time – but if results day doesn’t go to plan, it’s not the end of the world.

You might be screaming: “Yes it is!” at your screen right now.

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Getty Images

Image caption

It’s safe to say I didn’t look like this on results day

But things do have a way of working themselves out.

One year later, I’m not doing too badly.

In fact, I didn’t need A-level grades for this BBC apprenticeship.

The recruiters were looking for a candidate with five GCSEs and some potential.

So, although this is probably not what you want to hear when you have your heart set on one particular option, there may be other options you have not even considered.

For what it’s worth, here are my top pieces of advice for the big day.

Tips for the day

  • Get into school early – if there are any issues you can sort them out as soon as possible
  • Stick close to your friends – this no bad idea if you are celebrating your results or if need a bit of cheering up and extra support
  • Don’t compare and despair
  • Be flexible – remember there are lots of options you may not have thought of yet
  • Pat yourself on the back no matter how you have done. Don’t beat yourself up

And finally, please do not be the annoying kid who goes around asking what grades people got – because your invite to the future school reunion may accidently on purpose get lost in the post.



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