So today is A level results day in the UK, the day when teenagers all over the country receive the results of their final exams of secondary school which dictate whether they get into the university of their choice. I’ve been sat reflecting on my own “results day”, this day two years ago, and this is what I wish I had understood back then…
A note on why comparison doesn’t work:
How can we say someone has done better than someone else in a race,
Simply based on what position they placed?
For no one has, at any point in time, to carry the same weight,
Of life’s brief case,
And the thing is, the hard exterior of this case,
Conceals the weight of the troubles which inside of it are placed,
So please don’t blame yourself for not winning an unfair race,
And instead take pride in knowing that,
When taking into account the load you had to carry,
You did ace,
And take hope in knowing that the contents of your case,
Will soon be replaced,
By contents of half the weight,
So that in a future race,
In outer space.
Basically, as I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, during the final year of completing my A levels I struggled a lot with poor mental health which ended up impacting my physical health too. I ended up getting decent grades, but lower than my teachers had predicted. Initially, I was over the moon with my results considering the number of times I had been very close to dropping out. But then, when I went up to school to collect my maths result which wasn’t posted online, I obviously met all my friends and heard their results and immediately began comparing my results to theirs, so that even though I’d gone into the school being happy with my grades, I went home feeling like my grades weren’t actually anything special or anything to be proud of, and this feeling stayed with me for the remainder of the day.
This was the day I had dreamed of getting to all year. I had pulled myself out of mental breakdowns weekly to keep trudging on through the school year in order to get to this point. It should have been the best day of my life. I should have been on such a high.
I made it all even worse by immediately watching all of my favourite StudyTubers’ (YouTubers who post videos about studying and academic life) results videos, who had been receiving their A level results on the same day as me. They were getting top grades, and even though watching each “Opening my A level Results: Live Reaction” video made me sink lower and lower into self-hatred, I kept watching them. I remember wishing that I could have been as happy and proud as they were with their results. But really, I should have been as happy and proud. My year had been very rocky and I had been in a constant battle with my thoughts and so to even get through all of the exams was a tremendous achievement for me. But I let comparison take this joy away from me and skew my perception of my results. I was completely disregarding how difficult the year had been for me.
So this post is just a note to remind you that success is relative! Judge your results based on your individual journey to receiving those results. You’re doing yourself a great injustice by judging them otherwise.
Be proud of yourself and take into account the terrain of your path when judging how far you’ve travelled compared to anyone else,