This week you’ve gone over every scenario possible in your head about what can happen tomorrow. Today you’ve checked the grade boundaries and done the maths in your mind about how realistic it is to get an A. Tomorrow, you’ll wake up and check UCAS persistently until the e-mail that has ability to change a heartbeat finds home in your inbox: ‘something has changed on your UCAS application’. Results Day, a day that feels bigger that your 18th birthday and first day at primary school combined. It feels as though all the other results days you’ve experienced have been leading up to this one, and when you’re an aspiring Rory Gilmore and bookish kind of girl who didn’t really leave the library all year like myself, it’s as if you’ve been waiting for this day all year.
It doesn’t help with social media. In the decade of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram it it’s been impossible this week to avoid #ResultsDay tweets and that text from your high achieving friend agonising over how nervous she is to see just how badly she messed up her exams – she’ll do amazingly. Articles pop up on your Facebook news feed about leading exam boards ‘estimating grades’ and, like every year, how this is to be the most ‘competitive year ever’ for students wanting university places. Your parents have discreetly left the ‘Guardian guide to clearing’ on the kitchen table, poking underneath a pile of papers so that you will be tempted enough to take a look, and UCAS have been sending you emails since May asking ‘Are You Ready For Results Day?’.
Then, as if the world of media drilling into you the idea that results day is around the corner, everyone you meet seems to be just as possessed by the idea of your results as your Twitter feed. Grandparents are aware (mine called me up this morning to tell me ‘I won’t sleep tonight’ – no pressure Rosie), neighbours are aware, and they corner you in the street to ask if you’ve received your results yet. When when you tell them no and wonder to yourself ‘HOW have you avoided the newspapers and not realised it’s on Thursday’, they go on to say they’ll be sure to ‘pop in and find out’. Your parents’ friends are aware – and will no doubt be texting messaging your mum – and your closest friends are all aware of the University you’ve been dreaming of and where you want to be come September or October. There is pressure and there is expectation, and all you want to do is forget.
People will tell you ‘it’s not the end of the world’ and ‘it doesn’t determine your life’. And that’s true. It really, really doesn’t. There’s more to life than grades on a piece of paper, and university places are no defining feature of who you are and who you become. That’s not to deny that it might feel like a major part of your life right now. All year has been spent with this day as a focal point. In October, my UCAS application was submitted and a week in December was spent at interview. In January I found out of my University offer that, to be quite truthful, I never expected and never thought I was capable or clever enough to receive. Then, January to March was spent perfecting coursework that I knew would be an essential part of my final grade and, from April onwards I was revising for my final exams. I’d come so far to get even an offer, that these grades I receive tomorrow are the final hurdle of a long, tiring process, as is the case for pretty much every A Level student in the country.
Tomorrow will come, and go, like any other day. The only difference is the newspapers will be plastered with images of pretty girls jumping up and down clutching their results, instead of a picture of Jeremy Corbyn on the tube. Not knowing where you’re going to live for the next three years (but knowing someone out there does) is a horrible feeling, and the overthinking only makes everything worse. But, it will be over soon. Then come September a cycle of Upper Sixth Formers enter the world of UCAS and the process only begins again.