When I began this endeavour of writing newspaper articles, I was still in secondary school. The prospect of receiving my GCSE grades, the stress of revision and the ever contradicting educational system lead me to feel rather overwhelmed. I recall almost a year ago I released an article reminding students (and frankly myself) that we are more than any number on a page could ever describe. I still wholeheartedly believe in that article’s message, but today I’m here to shed some advice and light on lessons I have learned after that chapter of my life has closed…
GCSE’s are hard, but in the grand scheme of things you will end up discovering that they aren’t the worst thing you will face; further study or future job prospects will come along and force you to once again learn to cope with that stress and manage your time in order to stay sane. What do I mean by that? Well as I am writing this it is currently 10 o’clock in the evening, this week is full to the brim and I’ll take you on a small journey through it. I’ve been participating in volunteer work with the National Citizen Service, gaining useful and valuable skills as well as useful information on things such as performing CPR, understanding mental health after Coronavirus and giving back to my community. On top of that, I have been doing at least 2 hours of revision for my medical entry exam… as well as a-level revision.
College or further progression is going to push you, no one ever said life was easy or fair but there are ways to combat the stress and challenges we face. You are capable of more than you could ever possibly dream, life wasn’t paved with one direction but instead contains a plethora of branches and stems that could drive you the opposite direction from what you first intended to compete!
To all my year eleven’s, I will be honest with you… results day can be quite underwhelming once the shock and anxiety has worn off however, I suspect you might have a different experience. I’m sorry you couldn’t demonstrate your full potential, I hope your summer brought you time to reflect and gear up for the next step of your studies. You aren’t alone no matter what grades you are given, they will never equate your self-worth or hard work because frankly, they are just a stepping stone to your future. I will tell you, get ready for college because it can hit you like a freight train if you aren’t prepared… just because there are less subjects doesn’t mean it’s easier. I remember my first term after GCSE’s and it felt like I went from learning how to swim to having to emulate Tom Daley’s Olympic dive! It does get easier, you will make new friends, you will drop grades at first and you will succeed no matter what. I’m so proud of you already.
To all my year twelve’s, I know it’s incredibly hard for us right now. I never truly grasped how difficult it would be teaching myself half a years’ worth of content… and having no change to my exams next year. I have shed many tears over this situation and I’m sure there will be many many, more, but I can tell you that all this hard work will pay off and after all is said and done I can sleep knowing I survived a pandemic when many lost their lives.
Lastly, to my future self – this time has shown me that I am more dedicated than I could have ever imagined; no matter what we face next August, I can confidently say I did all I could to achieve my dreams. Sadly I can’t peer into the crystal ball and see my hard work come into fruition, but I am learning to enjoy the journey. I appreciate my friends, the skills I’ve gained and just smile. Stop caring so much about others opinions and just value your growth because you’ve come so far.
I can’t wait to see where we go next. Until then!
Article by Young Reporter Alex Greenwood
First published in Grimsby Telegraph 18th August 2020