Bad Exam Results Are NOT the End of the World

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I am really thinking about those of you picking up your results today. And I did want to tell you something really important. Not got the results that you wanted or needed? Don’t worry, honestly. Bad exam results are not the end of the world.

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Bad Exam Results are NOT the End of the World

I am so pleased if you did get the results you needed. Well done and many congratulations. I remember so clearly being where you are. A long time ago, but it it still very fresh in my memory.

All those years ago I remember going into my school and waiting with so much trepidation as each of us sixth formers went in to be given our results by the headmistress.

I have kept in touch with a lot of those girls from that day, and a lot of their lives have gone down paths that they would not have dreamed of back then. A lot of them ended up doing careers completely different to the ones that they had planned.

How did we do?

My best friend at the time actually failed her French A level. As she was planning to do this at university it is an understatement to say that she was absolutely devastated! But she went on to resit the examination the year after, passed with a top grade and now is a french teacher. Pretty much what she wanted to be.

Another good friend didn’t get the grades she needed to go to her first choice. She ended up going to another university, and studied a degree she hadn’t really thought of doing which was a more applied vocational course in journalism. She ended up travelling the world. In her late 20s, she found a passion for nutrition and did a complete career change to become a consultant nutritionist. She now has her own business and is very successful.

One of my closest friends now did not really know what she wanted to do after A levels. She didn’t want to go to university. Her A level results were not the best, she passed a couple and failed a couple. Not really what she wanted. She ended up going into the workplace and still works in the insurance sector. Over the years she has done courses and examinations to be promoted up the pay scales of the companies that she has worked for. She has moved jobs, been headhunted and now earns a very good wage.

And me?

I remember being so disappointed when I hadn’t quite got the grades I thought I needed to get into my first choice of university. Luckily, they still took me with the grades that I had got. I was pleased because I had wanted to do my degree course in Dentistry since I was about 12. I ended up doing that career for 22 years. But, this brings me onto my other reason why bad exam results are not the end of the world…

Sometimes you just cannot know at 18 what you want to do in Life

I was lucky to have an idea of what career I wanted to do at age 18, but many of my friends and relatives have changed careers in life, like my friend above who found a new passion in her late 20s. Some have changed careers several times.

A good friend of mine did go to university and ended up working in London. She married a man who worked in the City. They need up moving to Spain 10 years ago and have a daughter. In her early 40s she retrained in hair and beauty. I don’t think she would have ever dreamed of doing this at 18!

My other half got a degree in humanities. He became a supermarket store manager, then a pub manager, a recruitment consultant and is now a primary school teacher! He calls his call to teaching part of his midlife crisis, but he loves his job right now.

Find your passion

I think it is very difficult to know how your life will change or the world will change as you get older. Only this year as I have taken a career break I have found new passions in sewing and blogging. I never would have dreamed 10 years ago that I would take this path. It may lead to new careers in those niches for me, who knows?

Find your passion right now, and see if you can get any further experience or training in doing that. The daughter of a friend decided she wanted to travel, and ended up working in Madrid teaching English as a foreign language to Spanish children.

And who knows where your passions will be in 10 years, or 20 years? You will change so much as a person, and the world will change around you. Technology will move on. We don’t even know now what careers will be created by these innovations.

Have you thought about an apprenticeship as being an alternative? Read Katie’s post at Student Skint as to why this may even be a much better route for you!

In conclusion, I hope that you are reassured that bad exam results are not the end of the world. At the end of the day, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and for the best. Maybe it is fates way of telling you to choose a different path?

Suffer with anxiety before exams? Read this post.

Do let me know if this post has helped, or do get in touch to ask me any questions. I would love to hear what you think!

So, have you enjoyed this? why not find out  How Can I Deal With My Jealousy?

bad exam results are not the end of the world


14 Replies to “Bad Exam Results Are NOT the End of the World”

  1. Paula Goude says:

    I completely agree with you! My a levels weren’t the best but I’ve now got a masters degree and am in my second career and I couldn’t be happier.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. And exactly my point. Several of my friends are on second and third careers. And top grades do not always equate to happiness!

  2. Cathy Ulrickson says:

    Solid advice for students! I love it when bloggers share solid advice. I’m sure this will be so helpful to those who read. And, you know I’m a fan!

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Cathy, that means a lot. If it helps just one person then it’s done the job.

  3. Jennifer Cannon says:

    Who came up with the idea that you have to know what you want to do by the time you are 18 or your life is over?

    I am in my 40’s and I still don’t know what I want to do “when I grow up”. Yes, some people seem to automatically know but most do not.


    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I feel a bit like that too right now. My other half became a teacher in his early 40s. Maybe a career change is a great idea?!

  4. Dave Pearson says:

    You are so right! It’s not the end of the world at all. Life has many paths you can go down. I left school at 16 with okay GCSEs, I am now in a successful career and doing very well for myself. Exams and qualification are not the be all and end all. I have done well because I went out and learned on the job and hussled!

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Exactly. It is more about your state of mind and how hard you want to work at what you’re passionate about. Great comment, thank you!

  5. Jaki says:

    Absolutely! This is great advice. I didn’t do brilliantly in my exams, I was always better at coursework and I haven’t done so badly! Thank you for sharing with #TriumphantTales

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      My pleasure. And this is all so true. The older I get the more I realise how we change from being 16. So it really doesn’t matter how well we do in those exams.

  6. chickenruby says:

    I knew what I wanted to do, but my parents pushed me down another road, so I left home at 17 and worked in care, at 27 I started to train as a teacher, but with 5 kids I didn’t finish until 2004. Our 4 boys were made to stay in further education after their GCSE’s they all achieved 5 grade c’s and went onto college for Public Services, Catering, 6th form and Computers. Now aged 29, 26, 23 and 19. They’ve all travelled the world extensively with work and are happy with their lives and jobs. The youngest child is currently in America on a work trip. Who knows what opportunities they’ll chose to explore next. #triumphanttales

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      That is the most important thing, that you are happy with your job and life. School qualification aren’t always the only road there.

  7. Noleen Miller says:

    This is great advice for students. Knowing what I know today, I wish I knew at 18. But you not a failure if you do badly, it is all part of life – a learning curve #TriumphantTales

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I know, it all seemed to be so important at 18. But now it’s easy to see how much things change!


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