Results Day And Beyond

Friday, August 30, 2019


'I’m just fed up.’
 
It was what I kept thinking when I was out of tears, when I was no longer angry or upset. I was just fed up. Fed up of waiting.

On A Level results day, 15th August, I was up early. My college posted our results online at 6am, so I was on my computer at 6:20, having waited until after the site had crashed and sorted itself out again to have a look. I clicked on my results page to find my grades – 2 As, and 2 Bs. At first I wasn’t particularly surprised; I already knew my art would be a B, and had been worried all summer that I was going to get a B in French. So I wasn’t surprised, until I noticed that my French A-Level was actually an A, miraculously. Instead, it was my English Literature that was a B.

This showed on my face straight away, a mixture of shock and confusion. English Literature was my safe subject. While my teacher would say ‘we can never guarantee an A*’, she knew it was likely, since I had got A*s in English consistently in all the college assessment points, even since early in Year 12. Now this isn’t me having a brag, because my other subjects certainly weren’t a walk in the park, therefore I wouldn’t have had the same confusion if I had got a B in either French or History. I would have been disappointed sure, but not as surprised. But all I could say is ‘it’s wrong, it has to be wrong’.

Since college had uploaded the grades online, I had to tell myself perhaps the algorithm had got it wrong or something. But just over an hour later, when UCAS track updated, it all suddenly became real, as it told me I hadn’t met the conditions of my firm university. This was gutting. I had already been rejected from Oxford in January, but my firm university, UCL, was one I came to love equally as much, maybe even more, and a place I was very excited to study at. 


But I couldn’t let myself think just yet that I wasn’t going to UCL. College was open from 9am, and I planned to go straight to my English teacher and ask for a remark. Fortunately, I didn’t have to ask. The first thing she said was ‘we’ll get a remark’. It was at least reassuring that straight away she knew the grade I had received was unjust, and she was going to help get it sorted.

Being the planner I am, I had a Plan B for what would happen if I didn’t get into UCL. But this involved what I thought would be the likely scenario – being let down by a B in French. I would then go to clearing. You may notice I wasn’t interested in going to my insurance choice – when I got rejected from Oxford, I realised that I was fine with it, because I equally wanted to go to London. So while my insurance university was plenty nice enough, it wasn’t in London, and I was adamant I wasn’t going to settle. But getting my English A-Level remarked was a scenario I never could have predicted. I couldn’t go to clearing, nor even consider my insurance choice, because if the remark came through successfully, I might be able to still go to UCL. 

Which is why, days later, I was fed up of waiting. Again, because I am a person who likes to plan and know exactly what’s going on, the continued question mark about university was beginning to drive me crazy. I had already waited longer than most to know, having had to go through the early Oxford application and spend time waiting to know if I had got in there or not. Then, I had friends who had unconditional offers, and their waiting was out of the way as early as February, so they never even understood how I felt during the wait to results day. The majority of my friends, who had conditional offers, found out they had got in on results day and got to start setting up student accounts, change their Facebook to studying at whatever uni they are going to, and you know, actually be able to see their short-term future. 

Yet I was still waiting. 


I waited and waited until the Tuesday 27th, twelve days after results day, when I finally received a confirmation letter from the exam board, informing me that my result had gone up. It had gone up enough to meet the UCL conditions, but not as much as I had hoped. While my first paper went up by a whopping 19 marks (crazy, right!!), the other paper I had remarked didn’t change at all, which I really doubt should have been the case based on how much my other changed. 

Finally, exactly two weeks after everyone else had received the official unconditional offers, my own appeared from UCL on UCAS. Of course, I still had one little tiny milestone to get through first. I was incredibly stressed about accommodation. I was super worried that I wasn’t going to get the sort of accommodation I wanted, since my application would be processed so much later than everyone else’s and felt like I couldn’t properly say I was going to UCL until I knew where I would be living.

Thankfully, somehow my luck finally struck and as I write this, I have just been offered my first choice accommodation halls at UCL this year. Finally, it feels real, I’ve been able to book my train ticket down and feel ready to post this onto my blog. I can finally say I am going to UCL this year!


While I was waiting to find out if everything would work out, I decided to go radio silent on my Twitter and Instagram feed. I gave a little update on my insta story but I didn’t feel comfortable acting like everything was okay this time when it wasn’t, everything was all over the place. I only thought it would last a couple of days but annoyingly time went on! Eventually I decided I wasn’t going to post anything until everything was sorted and I was posting this to my blog, to properly explain everything that has gone on – I couldn’t condense it into a Tweet, that’s for sure. I have been keeping up writing blog posts so while I wasn’t posting, there are lots of fun things to come over here. 

I really want to say a huge thank you to everyone has been there for me over the past couple of weeks, you know who you are and I am incredibly grateful. It is so reassuring to know I have people looking out for me, even some I have never met. But sometimes it takes disaster to strike to realise those who are there and those who unfortunately are not. To those supposedly best friends who haven’t supported me, you have only added to my disappointment, but also made those people who have provided love and support shine even brighter. 


I suppose I’m writing this to let you all know what’s been going on, but also as reassurance to anyone who is going through something similar or may do in the future. Sometimes everything isn’t simple, and something results day goes in a way that you never even considered you would need a plan for. 

A study published just before results day showed that in English Literature and History, up to 48% of exams may be marked wrong. While at the time, before results day, I thought the media was stirring up attention, now I realise how true this is and how much it has affected me. This statistic is crazy and needs fixing. Personally I don’t know how, but somehow this needs attention bringing to and someone has to accept responsibility. Errors like these will put even more people off studying humanities subjects, which are plummeting each year as it is, and are likely to also alter and damage many young people’s futures. It certainly ruined my results day and could have potentially ruined a lot more.

If this sort of thing happens to you, which I imagine may be the case for some with the statistics showing how many exams are marked wrong, my main advice in this situation is to trust your heart. While my head at times thought ‘maybe settling for my insurance is the most sensible thing to do’, I knew I would be betraying myself and everything that I wanted. I didn’t settle, even when through the self-doubt I didn’t see myself getting to UCL, and it was the best choice I made. I have always felt that UCL was meant to be, and I certainly wasn’t going to let someone else’s error get in my way. 


Good luck to everyone starting uni this year along with myself, and I am just realising now I can finally say – get excited for all the uni & London related blog posts over here on Everything Erin, I certainly can’t wait to write them! 

EG x 


Photos from this post were taken on a trip to London a week before results day - I never ended up getting round to writing about my trip so I still wanted to share a few of my favourite photos, I felt like they tied in very well with this post.

9 comments

  1. Congratulations, I'm honestly over the moon for you that it all worked out and you're going to UCL! I can't even begin to imagine how hard these last 2 weeks must've been but you'll appreciate the uni and accommodation and everything so much more after going through all of this! I can't wait for all of your uni posts, now go and celebrate 2 weeks late cause you deserve to!! x

    Daisy - By Daisy Bradbury

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    1. Thank you so much Daisy!! Your support over the past two weeks has meant so much to me! I certainly think I will appreciate everything so much more now, just so glad I've got there! x

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  2. That marking is so incredibly unfair - I can’t believe 48% of English lit exams are marked wrong!! I’m sorry yours had to be one of them, but I’m glad it worked out for you in the end! And congrats on the accommodation!

    -Amanda

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  3. I am so so proud of you Erin and am so happy you’re going to the university you deserve! I can’t wait uni posts and to hopefully visit you at UCL - you’re going to have the best time there xxxx

    Eleanorclaudie.com

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    1. Thank you so much Eleanor!! I can't wait to read uni related posts from you too - and I've already had a look, Bristol is pretty easy to get to from London so I will be making sure to pay you a visit too! xxx

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  4. These are some great photos


    Candice || natalyaammour.com

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  5. I'm so sorry you didn't get to celebrate your grades with the rest of your peers! I think UCAS makes receiving your grades such a stressful experience for Sixth Form students when it should be a celebration of your hard work throughout the last 2-3 years!

    I'm glad you were able to make it into your dream uni! I hope you have the best time settling in!

    All my love, Minae || minaeshi.blogspot.com

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  6. Wow that sounds like it was a stressful time for you lovely, but congratulations! So glad to hear your grade went up enough for you to get into UCL, amazing stuff - good luck on your new adventure!

    Lucy | Forever September

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