So after reading @missaudsley ‘s blog about A level results day I was inspired to write about my own experiences of both GCSE and A level.
Lets start 18 years ago with my GCSEs. I remember mum driving me up to school (no direct bus route so not teenage enough to turn down a lift!) and seeing lots of my friends all heading for the entrance. Going in to the old part of the school made me think about all those who had gone before me in the previous 400 years. Then back to reality as my classic’s teacher called my name and waved a brown envelope at me. Inside were the thin pieces of paper from the different examination board. The next few seconds seemed to take an age. Thankfully all my results were good, though I remember being annoyed that I had got C for maths and double C for science and surpised and chuffed with my 2 As in French and sociology and pleased with my B for music as I had done that in my dinner times as an extra. After a few, oooo what did you get conversations with friends that was it and I walked back to the car and mum. I remember her hugging me and then we drove home.
My A level results 2 years later were a little more solitary.
My parents and brother were on holiday. Mum had made a mistake with the dates so I made the lonely 2 bus journey to college at the other side of town. A few other familiar faces but no friends were on that bus to colleve so I sat and looked out of the window.
The long driveway up to college seemed to take an age. My chance of university and my teaching degree were at stake. 12 points including a C in performing arts was what I needed. A D in PA would mean my second choice.
I don’t have clear memories of what happened next other than some of the performing arts staff being there and telling us there had been a problem with the results and we had to wait for a fax to come through from the exam board. I collected my other results and to be honest I was gutted. A D in general studies was fine. The 2 Es for classics and geography were not. I loved both those subjects and felt angry at myself.
Then the results were in. A D. D. I was upset. My other grades in previous modules meant I must have really messed up the last few parts. I headed straight for the bus stop and the 2 bus journeys home. I had some phone calls to make.
I got home to find the builders were at the house. We were having an extension done at the time. I said hello then went inside to get on to the unis. This was of course before mobile phones so I had no way of phoning my parents. So I started the calls. First to MMU, my first choice. I told them my results and they said someone would phone me back to let me know if I could get in. So while I waited I phoned my second choice. They had a spot if MMU didn’t take me so I knew I had at least got somewhere. The phone rang and it was MMU. I WAS IN! I’d got my place. I must have screamed as I put the phone down as the builders called out to check I was ok! I told them my news and ran out of the door and to the local shop. Cake was needed to celebrate with the only people around! So I brewed up on my return and made tea and cake for me and the builders. A couple of hours later and I was able to fill my parents in as they rang from somewhere.
This story is not over though. Several months later while at uni mu mum told me I had a letter from college. She opened it and it was telling me that there had been a mix up with all the performing arts results and I had in fact got my C. I was thrilled. But I couldn’t help but think that that mix up could have changed my whole life. I could have been living in a different town leading a different life.
These memories are still pretty strong and I remember on both occasions the press being full of 2 kinds of stories. The first lots of photos of happy, pretty/good looking students jumping around waving their amazing results and the other bringing us down saying how the exams were getting easier. Sadly these two types of stories are what I gave seen every year since.