You didn't get the results you wanted [Part One]

This post was initially for a brother from another mother who, after 13 years of school, received his final results today, which were slightly lower than he’d hoped. His marks will help to determine the next step in his academic life. He worked his arse off and I think he’s feeling apprehensive and down about it now.

It’s also for you, if you are having a tough time digesting your score.

Dear Year 12 Student, 

Here’s what I wish I could tell my 17 year old self. I can’t go back in time but I hope it helps you:

  1. Make a mental list of the people who are proud of you and love you regardless of your score. In fact, they probably don’t even feel inclined to ask you what your score was.

  2. Make a decision right now that you’re only going to talk to them about it. Sit down and figure out a generic response you will give people who are outside your ‘circle of trust.’ This is particularly important if you come from an ethnic or tightly-knit community where everybody wants to know.

    Rehearse your response if you need to, especially if you’re not comfortable being assertive. Try, “I’m not sharing my score with anyone at this point, thanks for your concern.”

    Be polite and change the subject quickly. If they insist, just repeat exactly what you said like a broken record. Receptionists are great at this. It makes the other person feel silly for continuing to ask. And so they should.

  3. Allow yourself to feel. It’s more than okay to feel down about it. Be authentic. Talk to someone in your circle of trust who is just happy to listen without feeling the need to give you advice.

    You don't really need advice yet. You’ve been through a whirlwind. Be with someone who will simply let you be. Talk and talk as much as you need. Those feelings aren’t going to go away until you process them. Be disappointed. Be frustrated. Be angry. Be sad. Get it out of your system.

  4. Realise that you’re not at the end of your life. You’re at the beginning of something new. The score is not the thing that is worrying. What’s worrying is the people in our families or communities who believe that it is the be all and end all.

    You are more than an academic score. You have a purpose on this Earth. And that purpose is beyond the knowledge and grasp of all these folks who idiotically make a mountain out of this molehill.

    Is your score important? Yes. Is it going to determine your future? No.

For the rest of the letter, read part two.