Got your results? Now, what? #GSCEs and beyond

It’s results day. I’m going to take a guess that for many of you the day itself and time leading up to it is not what you expected and we have coronavirus to thank for that.

I remember my own results day like it was yesterday. I was a ball of nerves and as it was a time before the internet came out of anything other than a cable, I had to wait until mid-morning to physically go up and collect them from the assembly hall in school. I had been through a tough time at home that year so really didn’t have high hopes for the results that awaited me. My granny had lit a candle, so you know, it was a serious situation, and honestly, I was grateful as I needed all the help I could get.

Getting your GSCE results is like a teenager’s rite of passage in Northern Ireland and one that you think at the time will define the rest of your life (well, I did, but I am slightly dramatic).

I waited in line, opened the results, phoned my mum, chatted with friends and within a matter of minutes that was it. The past two years of hard work (or lack of) at times, the late-night phone calls to friends, the conversations with teachers in the run-up to the exams, flashcards, past papers, revision classes, the coursework, the hundreds of BIC pens – it was all over and I remember thinking – what now?

You might now be in the same position yourself. Maybe you got what you wanted or needed; maybe you didn’t, but the important question to ask yourself is what now? If I could write a letter to my younger-self with any piece of advice it would say to stop being in such a rush and really think about what you want and what life do you want to create from here? On days like today you can begin to question everything, and where your path is headed, and do you know what? That’s OK. Whether or you believe it or not, you have time, you can make mistakes and still achieve everything you want to.

I would tell younger-me to focus on the memories, not the possessions, build your skillset through life experiences as much as qualifications. Yes, qualifications matter but they are not the end or beginning of you and your success. They are merely the building blocks that help you along the way. Build your resilience skills, develop yourself as a person, not as a CV and focus on the things you like doing and not what you think you should be doing.

Good luck to everyone getting results today. I’m thinking of you in these strange times and no matter what the outcome, remember that you have been a part of history. For better or worse, your results do not define you.

If you are thinking of your next step and would like some help, the LifeSkills created with Barclays website has some great resources, tools and tips including content on virtual work experience, a step by step CV builder, interview preparation, money management and more. Have a look for yourself: – I wish I’d had this when I was younger!