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As you may or may not know if you are living in the UK, today is A-Level results day. Across the country, 17 and 18 year olds have finished college, are getting their final results and learning whether they have got into university or not. For many, it's an exciting and nerve-wracking time.
Social media is littered with commentary on the day, even from those who are not getting results. Besides the jubilant tweets of those who have got great results and the sorrowful tweets of those with disappointing results, there are many tweets from people who have long since had their own A-Level results.
A trend I've been noticing is that many people are trying to reassure those receiving results today that they don't actually matter. I've seen tweets from people who got fantastic results but aren't exactly living a dream life today. I've seen tweets from people that didn't even get A-Levels but are living an amazing life today. "Your results don't matter!" they say.
The thing is, if you're receiving your A-Level results today, they are really damn important.
Typically, you spend two years working towards your A-Levels. That's a long time, a lot of hours, a lot of work, a lot of effort. All the while, you've got your peers, your family, your teachers are telling you how damn important these qualifications are. It's a lot of pressure to be under at such a young age.
So today, yes, your A-Level results really do matter. Whether you're going to university, or going into work, they will have a lot of say in what you can do now. It's always important to see the results of your hard work.
I know that most people mean well when they tell a disappointed teenager that their results won't matter in a few years, it's a way of encouraging them, telling them their future isn't doomed - but I think it's misplaced good intentions. At this very moment, A-Levels do matter. Don't dismiss someone's feelings today. They've likely worked very hard - if they did well, let them be proud. If they didn't get what they wanted, it is genuinely a big deal because it's been such a huge part of their life for the past few years.
For me, personally, my A-Levels and even my degree don't really mean much to me at all. My A-Levels were much, much better than I was predicted but I didn't actually want to go to university at the time and definitely not the one I got into. Thankfully, Aber Uni was the best uni in the world for me and I really enjoyed my time there - but my degree itself was a waste of money. I know when I change jobs, it will be my work experience that gets me it, not my £9000 piece of paper saying I'm good at reading and writing. But the day I got my A-Level results, the day I got my degree, they were so, so, so important to me.
If you are happy with your results today:
- Well done! You should be so proud! I'm sure you worked very hard and I'm sure you're glad it paid off. I bet you're also a little bit relieved it's over, go and celebrate!
- I'm so sorry it didn't work out for you. I fully understand how disappointed you must be. I hope your friends, family etc. aren't being too hard on you.
- You decide how important your results are. Be happy, be sad, be disappointed. You are allowed to be concerned about your future. You are allowed to look forward to it. You don't have to listen to the people trying to tell you it doesn't matter.
- You decide how your future goes. At your age, I didn't believe this but I wish I had. The sooner you realise you are in control, the better.
- OMG it's X amount of years since I got my A-Levels #soold is perfectly acceptable.
- "It was much harder in my day" is not acceptable.
- If someone is pleased with their results don't rain on their parade by saying no one cares in a few years anyway
- If someone is disappointed, don't say it doesn't matter to cheer them up, instead, remind them that at the end of the day, everyone is in control of their lives, they are not defined only by the results they get in school, other opportunities may well come along etc.