Well kids, 18 years of compulsory education are over.
18 years of being told to sit down and shut up.
18 years of being told to speak when you’re spoken to.
18 years of being intellectually measured and placing your value and self-worth on a series of arbitrary and meaningless tests.
18 years of government ideologies being implemented through textbooks and subliminal curriculum changes; I bet you can tell me how many apples Kumar Rajesh The Third bought, but I bet
you can’t tell me who Mary Seacole was. Without Googling her.
18 years of conformity, take off the suit or the shit school jumper
or the blouse or the knee-length skirt, ain’t no pervy teacher
gonna get all offended; even though it’s their lack of self-control
and inability to control their sexual desires and the bullshit belief
that the victims are the ones responsible for all sex crimes performed on them. (Here’s something they don’t teach you at school: there are no excuses for raping someone. None. Zero. Nada. Don’t fucking do it. No means no means no means no means no.)
18 years of useless bullshit, goodbye Golgi Apparatus, hello money!
Time for loans and jobs and bills and I bet they never taught you
about exchange rates and how to get the most out of changing
your money. At least you can work out a Triangle’s hypotenuse…
18 years, trying to get you to behave, get you in a nice little line
so you’ll be a dutiful employee, a simpleton, normal, the same,
a cardboard cut-out of everyone else, a follower of the status quo.
Well kids, after all of that, all 18 years, I hope you’re still you.
I hope you’ve found joy in your own company and the company of others. I hope you have a dream, a vision, a belief, something to stand for. I hope you’re happy; well, happy enough after being mentally tortured for 18 years by the most flawed institution ever created.
I also hope you know just how goddamn beautiful you are, and I fucking mean it. I hope you realize there’s more to life than fly-by-night popularity and that crushes are little more than dust in the wind and that you are not defined by any of the tests that you take.
18 years now, wipe the slate. Start over. This is not the end, failure is not fatal and success is not final. This is only the beginning. It’s a big beautiful world out there. Trust me, I didn’t believe in it either.
Well kids, that’s the bell; your 18 years of hell are now finally over. Breathe in. Relax. And remember; this is only Chapter 1…
You Are Not Defined By Exam Results (Spoken Word)
By Ryan Havers
(If you want to read this and record it and post it, do. And also please send it to me or direct me to it!)
IF YOU ARE BRITISH AND AWAITING AS/A LEVEL RESULTS I WANT YOU TO KNOW YOU ARE SPECIAL AND WORTHY AND YOU DID YOUR BEST NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. I HOPE YOU GET THE GRADES YOU NEED FOR YOUR ASPIRATIONS AND YOU ALL WILL BE OKAY
So it’s the night before results day and I know just how nervous you are, I went through it myself 2 years ago and I remember all to well just how terrifying tonight is going to be. The night before my results came out I watched Cinderella at 3 in the morning crying and refreshing UCAS because sometimes the acceptance notification comes out before 9am.
This is going to be focused on helping those of you who are applying to university because that’s the thing that I know the most about. I don’t want to advise anyone about apprenticeships or other things like that because I just don’t know enough.
So here are a few things you need to remember about tomorrow:
The world won’t end if you don’t get the results you want. Less than half of my class got the results they needed to get into their 1st choice Uni. 2 years on every single one of them is happy where they are now. It worked out, they kept their heads, stayed calm and made it work.
You don’t ask you don’t get. Call up the uni that you planned to attend and see if you can still go ahead with the results you’ve got, you’d be surprised how often they say yes.
Don’t panic if you have to go through clearing. If you feel like everything has gone wrong and you’re panicking it’s very easy to go onto clearing and apply for the first vaguely relevant course you see which is how you end up doing Modern European History in some tiny university town miles from anywhere when you wanted to do medieval British history and be in a big city. Go through the whole list, find ones you really like the look of before you do anything, this is ¾ years of your life it can’t be a panicked decision.
You don’t have to make a decision now. If you didn’t get the grades you wanted and need time to think things over or you got what you wanted but have changed your mind about what you want to do now that is okay. You can take a year and travel or work or resit something and make your decision next year. That is allowed, loads of people do it.
Just because you got in doesn’t mean you have to go. So at some point between applying in October and results day tomorrow you realised that the only reason you applied to Hull/York/Aberdeen/etc. is because your dad went there and he wants you to go there too. Or you’ve just fallen out of love with your firm choice, you are allowed to change your mind. Call up the place you’d rather go now and see if they have places on the course you want. If you got the grade they’re probably going to say yes.
You are allowed to trade up. You really wanted to go to Uni A but your teacher said that you’d never get the 2 As and a B they were asking for so you went with Uni B which only wanted 3 Bs. But look at that you got 2 As and a B!. Suck on that Mrs Curtis! Who’s inconsistent and easily distracted now huh? You call up Uni A and see if they’ll take you in. The same applies for if you decided to look at unis based on your predicted grades and now you’ve done better you want to see what your options are. Get your butt on UCAS and see what options have opened up to you.
You are going to be okay. It’s one day in the rest of your life. No matter what is in that envelope tomorrow you still have the same worth as you do right now, your family and friends will still love you just as much as they do now. Your A level results are not the most important thing that will ever happen to you (I hate that teachers tell that lie to try and get you to work harder, it’s bullshit) they’re just results like any other test you’ve done.
So take a deep breath, have something to eat, watch a film, go to bed early and be damn proud of yourself for getting through the most stressful 2 years of your life so far.
Remember that these letters on a piece of paper do NOT define you as a person, they only measure how well you performed in a certain 2 hours (or so) of you life, and how well you fit the criteria of exam boards. They do NOT measure your compassion, kindness, thoughtfulness, creativity (to an extent) and certainly do not predict how far/what you will achieve in the rest of your life.
Which ever letters are on your page, I love and appreciate you as a human, not as a graded statistic.
Why British Youth Have More to Worry About Than Americans
I’ve never realised how good American kids have it when it comes to the stress of being accepted into a university. Americans take what is basically the entrance tests– the ACTs/SATs– during their junior year (Year 12 for the Brits), and can pretty much gauge where they can get into and with how much effort they can get in with, especially since almost every school has a range of scores that accurately reflect the middle 50% of the student body. The tests themselves are pretty easy to prepare for, seeing as they always have the same subjects (English, Math, Reading, and Science for ACT; Math, Critical Reading, and Writing for SAT) and they are MULTIPLE CHOICE. Oh, and it’s not uncommon for a student to take the ACTs/SATs anywhere from 2 to 6 times.
British students have it SOOO much worse. They have to prepare for their “entrance exams,” aka A Levels, for two years in a single, dedicated subject, like Economics or History. It’s nowhere near practical for a student to retake the exam, especially if they took the A Levels and the AS Levels in one session at the end of their final year in school. And JESUS CHRIST the exams are no where close to being as easy as a multiple choice test. Those exams are written. Entire pages of my exam answer document have been dedicated to a single question. Then, just to add insult to injury, while us Americans are packing and prepping for the university we got accepted to in APRIL, British kids are just waiting to see if they made the grades to GET IN!!! It gets even worse when you mention that some Americans start their University courses before British kids EVEN KNOW IF THEY’RE GOING TO UNIVERSITY!!! And God forbid the horror that befalls those who don’t get the grades they need for their choice university and have to go through clearing…
In all, I have so much respect for British students. They have far more strenuous testing conditions and far more stress to deal with. I wish you the best on your results!
• As most of you know (in England anyway), A Level results day was yesterday. After 2 years of consistent hard work and study I came out with final grades of A*AA! And I’m attending the University of Leeds in September to study BSc Psychology.
• I hope everyone studying A Levels also achieved the grades you deserved📃
I’m sure a bunch of you are starting to worry, it’s results day tomorrow, and for a lot of people these results have a reasonable impact to what you’re going to do for the next few years / rest of your life.
Just remember that whatever happens, it’s okay.
Some people have no plans to go to uni, and that’s okay.
Some people have plans to go to uni, and they will find out it’s not what they expected, they’ll hate the social side, and it’ll be a means to an end, and that’s okay.
Some people will go to uni, and everything will be great, and that’s okay.
Some people will go to uni and struggle through every second, maybe retake a year, and doubt themselves each step of the way, they might continue or they might drop out, and that’s okay.
Some people had plans to go to uni, but didn’t get the grades, there’s a lot of options still open to you. There are retakes, or clearing, or different methods of study, and that’s okay.
Uni isn’t for everybody, all three admins have been to / are attending uni, we all have had very different experiences, and we’re all happy to talk about them / answer any questions to the best of our abilities.
Regardless of the outcome, you’ve all done fantastically. I’m incredibly proud of you all for getting where you are, and whichever decision you make is the right one. There is no wrong way to go about planning for the next few years, or rest of your life. Sometimes people take a detour for a few years, sometimes people finish their degree and realise that’s not what they want, sometimes people don’t go to uni and realise a degree is what they want.
As long as you’re happy, everything is fine. Do what you think will make you happy, because that’s the most important thing.