GCSE results day. What now?

Yesterday was GCSE results day.

The anticipation, as we all know, can be agonising. This year’s grading system has changed. Thrown into the mix for 2018 is a new, numerical grading system, based on a score of 1 -9, which applies to some, but not all, subjects. This will have only served to deepen the tension that students are experienced. Concerns about higher education and employment prospects run parallel with worries about how we compare to (and will be perceived by) others.

So much hangs (or at least feels like it hangs) on that today and the outcome of our exam results. Did we achieve the grades that we wanted? Did we achieve the grades we needed? If we didn’t, what do we do now? What will other people think? Will our parents be disappointed? Or angry? What now?

While yesterday may have been a day of celebration and jubilation for some, it was a day of commiseration for others. For the latter, the world may feel like it’s falling apart. If you fall into that camp, here’s the moral of the story: It’s not over yet. In fact, it’s just the beginning. The retirement age continues to rise and the world of study, work and opportunity is changing. Two or three careers in a lifetime isn’t out of the ordinary, returning to education in later life is commonplace and the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. If things on GCSE results day didn’t go as you had hoped, don’t sweat it. Step back, reflect and recalibrate. Retry, retrain or head off in a different direction. Alan Sugar left school with just one GCSE, but that hasn’t stopped him going on to be one of the UK’s most successful business people.

There’s one further, important point to be made. I recently read a fascinating article in New Statesman, which focuses upon Yale University’s successful course on the ‘science of happiness’. The article touches on many points, but in the context of education and achievement, I wasn’t surprised to read the following: “Good grades and high paying jobs don’t make you happy”.