15 August 2014

I had a great morning with Alan Beswick yesterday on his radio show, talking about A-level results. It’s really positive that so many callers were providing words of reassurance to young people who are likely to be feeling under pressure. It seemed like the main piece of advice was, “Don’t panic!” Personally, I couldn’t agree more.

great_jobIf you caught the show yesterday, you’ll have heard me talking about my own A-level results, which heavily featured the letter ‘U’. Ironically, I always came out of exams thinking I’d done pretty well, but it turned out that I would have answered the wrong question or in the wrong way as a result of the sheer pressure of the situation and the fear of letting my parents down, as I knew how important it was for them.

The problem with a-level results, or any academic result for that matter, is that it’s only looking at one dimension of your personality. There are so many skills that aren’t measured at school – determination, enthusiasm, resilience and teamwork from taking part in sport – they all stand you in good stead for the future. To put it into perspective, think of all the great people who struggled at school: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, even Richard Branson.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that you don’t have to go to university to be successful. A few years ago we had a shortage of plumbers and joiners, yet these are great trades and they’re needed all over the globe. Ultimately, life is about the experiences you have and the people you meet. It’s short and it’s there to be enjoyed. Don’t let one set of exam results make you feel otherwise.

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