Sixteen At Last
In August 1986, the last year of O level/CSE exams in the UK, I was one of the 16-year-olds expecting results. We were supposed to either give a self-addressed envelope to the school or go in to collect our results. I did neither. I went to Cornwall to stay with a friend. I had hated school and the final year in particular. My vision had deteriorated and I had become short-sighted over a year – but I refused to start wearing glasses at 16, so I walked around in a blur. My best friend (the one in Cornwall) had left the year before, and I suffered bullying from other girls and what I can only describe as misunderstanding from teachers. I spent every day in a constant state of worry. It had not been cool to study or do well in our year so I tried to be unimpressive and simply waited for it to be over. To confuse all that, I came from a household where studying and doing well were assumed. At one point, I sat in front of a bottle of paracetamol and a sixth-form college application form, and considered taking an overdose. In fact I took 8 pills, gave up, and went to sleep for 2 hours. I never told my parents.
I knew I hadn’t done well and – in a sense, ran away. That feeling of apathy and being unconnected to my own destiny continued throughout my disastrous A levels.
Twenty-five years on, our eldest daughter is waiting for results at the end of this month. We know she has a better idea of who she is and has more confidence in her talents than I ever did, and I hope she is looking forward to her results day as much as we are. Whatever her results, though, she is a success.
I am also waiting for results. At 41, I’m waiting to pick up (online) the grade for a diploma in Literature & Creative Writing. After many years, I finally felt brave enough to attempt education again. Right now, I’m sat on the floor, half-dressed checking again and again and again like a little kid.
I have literally just found the result as I’m writing this: A Grade 2 pass. I now have my diploma. I’m still waiting for the actual mark for my final assignment, but I know it’s at least 70% now.
Please excuse me while I act like the excited 16-year-old and 18-year-old I never got to be all those years ago!
YAY!!! WOOT!!!! and stuff like that… 🙂
Now to finish my degree so I can act like a 21-year-old! 😉