Yesterday, my Twitter feed was full of screenshots of the UCAS website, pictures of celebratory dinners and memes like this guy who drank straight from his hip flask live on morning TV (don’t worry, he was actually celebrating!).

I got my A level results last year. I was so nervous I thought I might pass out on the tube. It was at least my eighth results day, thanks to early entry and countless retakes, but my first time going alone. At least three quarters of my year was pacing the library on the clearing hotline or desperately emailing their potential universities negotiating the terms of their conditional offers.

Once getting over the dread and actually opening the little brown envelope, I wasn’t too bothered by any of it. I had already drafted my university withdrawal email, and I’d interviewed for my dream job just the day before (luckily I also got offered it the day after results- happy one year anniversary to me!).

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Despite not having the most typical results day, or first year since leaving my secondary school for the last time, I feel like I’ve learnt some important things that might come in handy, regardless of whether you take a gap year, do an apprenticeship, go off to university or retake your A levels.

  • Regardless of how many promises are made, you won’t stay in touch with everyone. Apart from the odd response to an Instagram story or a retweet, I only speak regularly to three people I was at school with for seven whole years. It felt like the end of the world at first- the prospect of having to make new friends gave me seriously sweaty palms- but you kind of realise you’re only friends with these people because you spend more time with them than you do your own family…
  • You will have to start doing things for yourself. Not only are you an official, actual, real-life adult now, but you’ll realise just how much teachers did for you. As soon as I went on study leave, I forgot to eat lunch most days, wore exclusively leggings and stopped picking up books. I eventually worked out that a sandwich-less life was not a life I wanted to live, I found my own routine.
  • Money is a big deal. When I was in sixth form, I was paying for my Zip card and that was about it. Luckily, I had a job for the most part of Year 13 so I sort of eased myself into financial independence, even if I was only doing two shifts on a good week… It’s worth having a spreadsheet of sorts- especially if you’re going to uni and you’ll be living/cooking/travelling alone!
  • Not having a uniform/dress code actually sucks. I couldn’t wait for sixth form, so I could finally transition from a tie and blazer to something ‘smart casual’. Now, I almost wish I had someone telling me what I could and couldn’t wear. I totally understand why Steve Jobs wore the same thing every day…
  • It’s important to try and keep your brain alive. Obviously, if you’re going into university or work, you’d think that you were keeping your brain active, but I’ve definitely noticed I’m terrible at maths because I haven’t done it since 2014. Read even though no one is forcing you, and maybe think about downloading one of those brain exercise apps like Peak.

Moving on from school is huge, but it’s important to remember that results and grades really are just letters on a piece of paper. There are so many options so keep calm, download Excel and make some lunch. 

Have you got any tips or post-school life lessons? 

Till next time…

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