Lifestyle Editorials

The Last Sprint- “A-Level Exams”

Today I have made my last sprint.

British students, although not all, today are patting themselves on the back and screaming hallelujah to the heavens. Yes today is an amazing day where most of the British youth, aged averagely at 18, have finally done the final spurt to crossing the finish line of a marathon called A-Levels.

This marathon for myself began nearly 2 years ago, when an earnest 16 year old decided after gaining her GCSE results, filled with hope and endless expectations, to step on the starting line for preparation to University.

Of course, little did 16 year old me realise that this marathon would be a far more difficult process than I ever could’ve anticipated. It wasn’t just a change in education, a leap into a higher realm of learning, but also there was change in environment and in mentality. Through this Marathon I have gone through a journey of self-discovery and growth.

When I started My A-levels I had gotten decent-enough GCSE grades and was able to attend a grammar school that was my top choice to continue my higher studies. When I had gone to the open evening for the institution I was dumbfounded by the energy of the students, the passion of the teachers and the challenges of the subjects. So without a second thought I had excitedly grabbed my father’s arm and yelled ‘I am attending this sixthform/college.’

I had the option of picking four subjects, so I chose, Government and Politics (which I knew nothing about at the time), English (because I always had a passion for writing), Business Studies (because I liked it and did well in the subject at GCSE), and Physics (because I was obviously out of my freaking mind.)

And when the cool breeze of September came I rushed there in my neat uniform filled with endless enthusiasm, however Sixth-form was more difficult. Meeting new people and trying to make new friends (only 1 of the friends I already knew attended the same institution). Trying to keep up with the classes in general became a great difficulty for me.

I admit that there were times in this marathon that I have fallen over and cried bloody tears, felt isolated and all alone.

The marathon called A-levels had all kinds of competitors. There were the people that are so naturally intelligent that they would leave you behind in their dust, choking on their fumes; there were those that ran in groups and supported each-other and had known each other long before the race started, there were some that used their money to buy expenses cars and just drove down the race like it was nothing. I felt jealous of all these competitors.

Then it struck me. Why give up and be walked over now? These types of competitors in the marathon called A-levels are everywhere in the race called life. If I couldn’t get through this finish line I might spend eternity defeated.

So after I fell over the first time, after I cried, after I became frustrated. I picked myself back up and I decided I was going to cross that finish line with them, using my passion. I’m not the smartest person, but I make up for what I lack in buckets of effort. When I didn’t understand, couldn’t answer a question, and generally made a fool of myself, I kept trying. I kept putting the effort in.

When I got my AS level results they were the product of when I had nearly given up into defeat and depression. When I saw them I cheered, because I was a survivor, because I had gotten those not-brilliant-but-still-passable grades in a moment of defeat. And it motivated me to do even better the next year in the A2 of my A-level.

In the summer I paced myself again, I got my equipment with my pens at the ready and my folders on standby. When I began running again it was so much smoother, so much more brilliant. I was determined to get to the end of this race. Along the journey I met some of the loveliest people, I had unforgettable experiences, I ran with a smile.

Today I can tell you that I have finished this race. I have had my last sprint and ran across that finish line.

I had my last A-level business exam at 1:30 pm today. I don’t know my grades yet until August. But, I can promise you that this year I didn’t give up, I tried my hardest, that every step was filled with sweat and gritty determination. I am satisfied with myself.

The moral of this article is to never let yourself be defeated. There will always be people better than you, smarter than you, and wealthier than you. But as long as you never give up, never let the pressure get to your heart, smile until the end when you give your last sprint and cross that finishing line, then you have won.

I am glad that I have done my A levels because they have taught me life lessons that I will take into University and beyond to greater improve myself.

For the non-British reader A-levels are, as stated by Wikipedia, a  “subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education, as well as a school leaving qualification offered by the educational bodies in the United Kingdom and the educational authorities of British Crown dependencies to students completing secondary or pre- university education.”

Thank you for reading my rant about my A-level experience.



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