Monday 31 August 2015

Your results do not define you

With A-Level and GCSE results coming out over the past few weeks, lots of people will be processing their results and thinking about what comes next - take a look at Olivia's brilliant blog on getting perspective and remembering that your results do not define you...

- Olivia Niblock

So your results have sunk in and maybe you’re disappointed…

Your results do not define you.

I thought I might just start with that because a) it’s true, b) not a lot of people believe it and c) neither did I until I got my A level results 3 and a bit years ago.

When I was doing my GCSEs, everything went pretty well. I worked really hard and managed to get 13 A*-Bs and I was fairly happy. I convinced myself I wanted to study medicine at university and become a doctor. Trouble was that I didn’t really want to do that at all. I wanted to help people – certainly! I still do. But there are other ways of helping people other than being a doctor and being stressed to the point of implosion.

So I chose my A Levels and unlike many, I chose to carry on with 5 A levels to A2, because I wanted to make my choices for universities and subjects as diverse as possible. I applied to UCAS (I truly feel for you guys that still have to do it!) and I applied to a handful of Medical schools and one course I truly wanted to do – Medical Genetics.

I didn’t do as well in my A level results as I wanted to – and I threw all my toys out of the pram because I thought that was the thing to do. I thought I was a failure. And then Queen Mary, University of London got back to me on Track. I had been happily accepted onto the Medical Genetics course and was expected in September.

It was then that I allowed myself to accept that I didn’t want to study medicine. I wanted to be a researcher - to help people out in a different way. My ‘failure’ in A-Levels turned out to be the biggest success I’ve ever had.

University was great. I had family and medical circumstances that weren’t great, like 6 family deaths and the diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), but university itself was so good, and so supportive. They (the university and my friends) completely embraced the fact that I had GAD, the fact that I may need a bit more time to process things and the fact that I was grieving for 4 close relatives.

I didn’t graduate with a first, but to be honest, I don’t measure my success by the grades anymore – I made it through incredible adversity, and it was like I had won the lottery. I am a proud Medical Genetics graduate, interning at a place that helps people in need.

Just remember: your results do not define you!

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