Dealing with Results Day nerves
With A-Level and GCSE Result Days coming up over the next two weeks, no doubt the majority of you will be feeling anxious over how you did in your exams.
Waiting for results is a very stressful time for anyone – regardless of whether you’ve just sat GCSEs or university exams. Despite others probably reassuring you “everything will be just fine”, it certainly may not feel that way at the time, especially if there’s a lot of things you value that are riding on these results. So if you’re currently anticipating Results Day, here are a few things I’ve learnt from my own share of result-waiting.
Treat yourself before the day
Do something you enjoy that will help you relax – whether that’s watching a TV episode, playing games, sport or spending time with friends or family. Anything that will take your mind off results (for this reason, I’d recommend putting your phone away. Social media probably isn’t the best thing to check at this time).
Have a good breakfast
Alongside switching off properly the night before, take some necessary time in the morning to fuel-up for the big day. You’re probably going to have a lot of nervous energy beforehand so make sure you’re well-prepared in advance!
Don’t expect ‘perfection’.
This can be one of the downsides of being a high-achiever – the persisting voice in your head that constantly wants you to do better than you did before.
This isn’t a bad thing though! It means you’re someone who is motivated towards doing great things. But unfortunately this can lead to perfectionistic tendencies – fearing failure, unnecessary self-pressure and losing self-respect if you miss your high expectations – which can have a drain on your wellbeing if gets too unhealthy.
As someone who struggles with this themselves, I know it isn’t as simple as to suddenly snap out of this way of thinking, especially if you’re worked like this for so long. But bear in mind realistically, does it REALLY matter if you don’t get straight A’s? Are employers REALLY going to turn you away because you didn’t get high marks in every single module?
Especially don’t weigh yourself up against the image of yourself waving a polished results letter, or against your friends and their achievements, because both are unrealistic comparisons. The only target you should be considering is your own entry requirements – anything higher is a bonus!
Everything WILL work out (even if it’s not the results you wanted).
Without wishing to sound dismissive of what you’re feeling right now, everything will not come crashing down if you don’t get the grades you wanted. It doesn’t mean you‘ll be stranded away from having a happy future or good career, nor will future opportunities be permanently taken away from you.
Even if you wanted to take a specific route beforehand, there are always many different paths you can take – so don’t write off options such as Clearing or reaching out to universities/employers directly.
Keeping an open-mind doesn’t mean rejecting any specific goal or career you had previously, but appreciating that the future is uncertain and no-one knows what it holds.
If you’re a hard-working person, people are going to want you. The unexpected may work in your favour.
Your grades don’t define you.
Even if you’re happy with your results – please don’t bind your self-worth to them. A score on a piece of paper doesn’t fully encompass you and your qualities. While you cannot change what you put in your exams, if you know how much effort you put in to them, you should be proud of yourself for that.
Fingers crossed and very best of luck to all of you!