A-Levels: If it is Anything Below an ‘A’ Do We Really Care?

Jacqueline's picture

We often discuss the stress and anxiety that comes with A-levels, but today I beg the question: what is their real purpose in everyday teenagers' lives? And why do we fail as a society to see the true meaning that each brown paper envelope holds to each individual?

Take Tom Daley for instance. He is young, talented, sporty and good looking- his rise to fame through his Olympic bronze last summer would suggest his astonishing A* A A, outcome on Thursday was simply a stroke of luck and means nothing to the young star. This argument in retrospect seems quite likely, so why on earth would heart throb Tom Daley need three A-levels at Russell group level to succeed in life? Quite simply, he doesn't.

Now we travel to the other end of the spectrum and in fact the other side of the world when we think of Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup. Two incredible 18-year-old girls not known due to Olympic stardom, but instead as victims in the horrific acid attack that happened last week as the girls continued their charity work at an orphanage in Tanzania. Their results and acceptance to the universities of their choice means the world to these girls, so I again suggest that we as a society fail to see the true meaning of each brown paper envelope to each student.

Success Judged Individually

As youth unemployment is on the rise, surely our biggest focus as a country should be on our younger generation- as Margaret Thatcher would call us, the next work force of this era. Young people however, seem to be last on every journalist's, news reporter's and politician's lips. Within the last decade, we have seen the removal of EMA, a tripling rise in tuition fees and of course the riots that were blamed on us teens.

For me, Thursday 15th August could not have come sooner. The anxiety, the terror and the stress associated with the results of course was magnified in those first two weeks of August, but the true meaning of those results to the everyday student is forgotten. We see images all over the BBC of the A* students opening their results as they travel to Oxbridge, but what about the average Joe who has worked, revised and drawn as many spider diagrams as they possibly can to reach their limit?

There are the students who fight to get the grades they need to gain a better future and who got the best grades they could, to get into the greatest university they can. Do they really matter? I didn't get the greatest grades, I got a comfortable BBC, but I did get into the best university I could for my degree. I may not have achieved perfection, but for me that brown envelope contained the key to my successful future. So in the grand schemes of things, surely success is not measured by grades, but in fact personal achievement.

By student writer Jacqueline Gordon. See more of Jacqueline's pieces here.

Share with friends