A level results day of 1999….

I’ve been reading about the  A level results of friends (Ok, mostly children of friends, because I am *that* old) today and reminiscing on getting my own back in the summer of 1999. Back when we didn’t own a mobile or laptop between us, when the height of cool was having an extension of your parents’ landline in your room and The Latin Explosion was a thing muscially (Mambo No 5, Ricky Martin, whatever the fuck was going on with Geri Halliwell…..ask your parents, kids).


denim, christina before she discovered slutty, ricky before (debatably) he discovered he liked penis. standard 1990s album cover.

A friend picked me up and as she was at a different college to me we went to get hers first. Mostly because she’d spent some of the previous two years going to classes and learning stuff so, unlike me, had a decent stab at getting good grades.

Me, I’d not even applied to uni, I’d had a shit couple of years for various reasons, my mental health wasn’t great and I’d more or less fucked college off completely by midway through the second year, so I was fully aware my grades weren’t going to be great. I had NO IDEA what I was doing with my life, what I wanted to do, who I was, none of it. So I’d mostly just decided to ignore it all. Because that always solves a problem, right?

So, anyway, friend got her grades (AAA I believe, enough to get her onto the course she wanted anyway, and well deserving she was of it.) and off we went to get mine. I remember sitting in a massive traffic jam near my college for ages getting more and more stressy. Got there, found some friends who’d all done decently. Then came my grades….

C in Psychology- That was ok.

D in Sociology- not amazing, but fair and given the work I’d not done, fine with me.

U in Law- U for those of you who don’t know means ‘unclassified’. As in, not even good enough to grade. Useless. Unworthy of our time. U loser.

Huh. I mean, given I’d written 1 essay in 2 years, been to about 3 classes in a year and generally hated the subject with a passion, I don’t know why I was surprised, but that was a hard one to swallow.

So, I cried. Like a girl.

But, and this is my point I think, then  I went home. and thought about it. I looked at clearing places in the paper (yes, in the paper, again, i’m *that* old) and gave some universities a ring. and to my surprised a couple were willing to take me, even with that dismal showing. And suddenly my life wasn’t that shit anymore and I had a purpose again and I knew where I was going.

(obviously, that all went tits up again a year later when life got complicated and I was needed back home, I left uni. then went to work, met a guy, had some kids, got some diseases, went back to college, and went back to uni again at the age of 34. but that’s a different story for a different day.)

So, whatever your grades were today, don’t worry about it. Life has a way of working itself out. You can fail and still win, you can win and still fail. You can think you want to do something, but then change your mind. You can resit, you can do something different, in a different place, you don’t have to do uni at all, there are ALWAYS options. Always ways round stuff.

What no one told me when I was 18, and I really wish that they had was that LIFE DOESN’T END IF YOU DON’T DO WELL IN SCHOOL. It doesn’t. The world keeps turning, shit things still happen, good things still happen. Same as it ever did.

Still don’t reckon I deserved that U though. I wrote loads of stuff in that exam. loads.


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