Expectations Vs Reality

For the past couple of hours I've been sat in my bedroom reading through old blog posts, and I have been struck with so many different feelings and emotions it is appearing difficult to even begin to comprehend them. From the very start of my 'blogging' journey I've been completely honest and open about my feelings towards school, and the overpowering sense of self doubt that I have battled through the entirety of my educational journey. For weeks I have been wanting to write a post about results day, and how getting good grades isn't the be all and end all - but, in all honesty, I knew in my heart that I couldn't write that post. Not because I didn't believe in that statement - because, trust me, I completely do - but because I knew that regardless of how strongly I publicised that point and how many people I attempted to comfort by doing so, if my grades weren't 'good' then it would completely destroy me.

I just didn't want to think about it at all, and every time someone mentioned the dreaded 'results day' I would change the subject or simply beg them to talk about something else.

I feel like there's so much pressure nowadays to be top achievers with phenomenal grades - and, if I'm perfectly honest, I believe that a large extent of the blame for this is lenient towards social media. Although I'm extremely passionate about Media Studies, so should therefore (stereotypically) be in awe of the progressions the digital age has enabled society, I can't help but think in situations like this it does more harm than good.

The day before results day was horrific. I couldn't look at my phone without feeling sick to my stomach, and going on Twitter and Facebook to see everyone panicking about the inevitability of 'tomorrow' was setting me off too. (However, this was soon rectified on results day with everyone congratulating each other & showing off how proud they were of both their friends and themselves - something which, of course, I can relate to).

Now that everything has slotted into perspective, without the disastrous '17th August' hovering over us whilst we try and enjoy the longest (and, perhaps, best) summer of our entire lives, I officially feel like I can breathe again, and think about things in a proper and less terrified manner.

Obviously, I'm not going to sit here and pretend like I got phenomenal results because, truth be told, I didn't. A* A* A* was never going to be on the cards, and that's okay! For some people it is, and that's absolutely fantastic - (shoutout to my AMAZING friend Ella, who absolutely NAILED IT!) - but everyone is different and I guess that's what makes life so exciting. I ended up with AABC, which, whilst it didn't allow me to get into my firm choice University, (Newcastle, you'll see me one day I promise) it was still better than I ever hoped and expected I would achieve. (In all honesty, it hasn't quite yet sunk in).

So, the point of this post was definitely not to be me bragging, and I truly do hope that it hasn't come across in that way - I guess it's just a bundle of excitement and disbelieve combined into a complete and utter ramble (how unlike me!). Whilst I want to write about how far I have come - particularly from my post 'What are you good at?' (http://www.gracyviolet.co.uk/2016/11/what-are-you-good-at.html) in which I touched on my struggles with academia - I also wanted to send out a message to people who didn't do as well as they hoped they would.

As most people reading this will be aware, I have a sister called Alice who is the same age as me. She is honestly the most determined person I know, and whilst I could write all day about how much I look up to her, I don't want this post to turn into an entire novel (which, at the rate it's going... perhaps may not be too far off). So, as I'm sure she won't mind me saying, her results weren't quite as good as she was expecting - which meant that she wasn't able to get into her choices of University. Now, whilst for the average person this may have completely destroyed them and left them moping about, unmotivated and miserable, this was not the case for her.

Obviously, she was heartbroken - which, without a doubt, is completely understandable - but I believe her strength of character completely shone through on that horrendous day. Like I said, instead of the expected reaction, she simply got herself up, brushed herself off and proceeded to ring up different Universities and find herself a place - which, of course, she managed to do. To say I'm proud of her would be an understatement - and it truly made me realise just how little the grades you get actually mean in the grand scheme of things. Alice knew that she wanted to get into University, that was her end goal, so she gave it her all and now - here she is!

Without going all philosophical and deep, there truly is more to life than obtaining top grades. Obviously, if you can achieve this without literally destroying yourself then, of course, go for it! But in all seriousness, there is more important things you could be doing than stressing about school. Whenever I used to have my regular meltdowns about school, my dad used to come into my room, sit me down, and tell me that at the end of the day all it boils down to is character. Whilst some people may achieve top grades, that doesn't automatically make them better than you. They may be a horrible person, or they may not be able to present themselves in a way which would make them stand out to employers.

Whilst we must've had this conversation countless times, it was only after experiencing extremely difficult circumstances that I realised just how insignificant grades are, and it truly made me question why I was putting so much pressure on myself. At the end of the day, the impact you make in life and on the people you meet, doesn't boil down to how well you did at school. No one will remember you for getting good grades, they will remember you for the kind of person you were. I guess from a personal viewpoint I've always known exactly what I've wanted, and strived in order to achieve that. Yet, I knew that this time around I wanted to have fun as well as working hard. I wanted to go out and experience life, have fun with my friends, see my family yet still work towards achieving my dreams.

I guess this is also where this 'blogging' thing comes into place. I know I mention it a lot, and please believe me when I say that I don't do it for sympathy - but I do have a hard time in believing in myself, and that is the God honest truth. I can't pinpoint why, and when it started, but it is a constant battle which I'm unsure will ever truly be resolved. However, through doing my blog alongside revision, it truly spurred me on and motivated me. My mind has the most annoying habit of wandering in the most inconvenient of times, and even if I had a text book in front of me - or was reading through revision notes - sometimes I wouldn't even be properly focused on the words, all I could think about was anything BUT what I was supposed to be.

By having this platform, I was able to just release everything onto the page, getting it out there so I didn't have to think about it any longer. And, when people began to express that they enjoyed what I was doing, it encouraged me even more. To be told I was good at something which I genuinely loved and was passionate about acted as the motivation I needed, and the extremely stereotypically (yet one of my all time favourite) quotation 'She believed she could, so she did' began to be incorporated into my life.

I can hand on heart say that you will only achieve success, and get where you want to once you begin to believe in yourself. Your harshest critic will always be yourself, and once you begin to break down those barriers you are capable of just about anything. Whilst I feel like I'm being paid by my school to endorse their 'Dream, Believe, Achieve' statement, I can't help but feel that however cringey it may be, it really is the truth.

"Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts"

I hope you're having a lovely Summer and that, if you got results, everything has worked out well for you. I promise you that everything happens for a reason, and if things haven't ended up in the way that you expected they would, then be patient - things will soon become clear again.

Hopefully see (speak to!) you very soon.

Grace x


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