Our reporters’ memories of their A-level results day

A-level results day was a mixed affair for our reporters when they were 18. Here they look back on their memories of picking up the envelope.

•Richard Wood, senior reporter

'I can't believe it has been a decade since I took the long walk to school to open the results envelope. My friends and I decided to wait to go to the school until the early rush quietened down. This gave us a chance to quietly take a moment to see how we'd all got on, away from all of the hullabaloo.

'I was lucky enough to get my university choice but the important thing to remember is that if you haven't quite got the results you were hoping for there are options out there for you, and that often those other courses can be the perfect fit for you.'


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•Donna-Louise Bishop, junior reporter

'I was at an archaeological dig in Sedgeford gaining some work experience the day my results came out. I was happy waiting to get them in the post the following week but then after hearing a lot of success stories I decided to drive back to Paston to meet with my friends and open our results together.

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'I already had a fair idea of the results I was getting so I didn't have any nasty shocks and it was nice to see the efforts of my hard work pay off.

'One thing I would say is don't feel you have to open your results with your friends. Although I was happy with the results I got, others in our group were upset with their results and probably would have liked to open them in private.

'Another thing I would say is don't give up hope if the grades aren't what you were expecting. I missed out on a grade I needed to get into uni but after a quick call to the course leader she still accepted me on the same course I wanted to do.'

•Chris Hill, rural affairs correspondent

'I certainly remember feeling a sense of excitement at picking up my A-level results from Sprowston High School, but not the overwhelming tension which I knew a lot of my friends were feeling.

'At that point, I had chosen to find employment rather than go to university, so my points score didn't really have that 'make-or-break' importance.

'So while I was relatively disappointed with my results (having frittered away much of my sixth form study time by joining a rock band) it was not the end of the world, and I still managed to eventually find my way into the journalism career which I had hoped for – although it took more than 10 years to get there.

'In the meantime, I worked in several jobs, but always took every opportunity to learn new things at work and take college courses in my own time. There was a certain degree of trial and error to it, but I found the range of experiences made me quite employable.

'So my advice to all those who may not get the results they need for university is not to panic, and don't be disheartened. There is plenty of time to find the right job, even if you don't get it straight away. And there are plenty of routes to follow, as long as you are prepared to work hard and continue to learn, whether it is in the class-room or in the workplace.'

•Lucy Clapham, senior reporter

'I was excited to get my results to find out how my work had paid off in different subjects. I was very pleased to get a B in AS-level media and pretty chuffed with my AB in GNVQ performing arts, but the only A-level I got was actually my lowest grade – a C in ICT.

'I was happy with my all my grades but they were not counting towards a place at university for me so I did not have the nerve-wracking moment of having to check whether I'd done well enough to get in anywhere.

'Instead I had set my sights on drama school, which relied on my ability in auditions and interviews.

'Considering my current job title I think it's obvious that dream never worked out and after two years of failed auditions I still did not feel compelled to go to university and further my studies.

'By then I had changed tack and I instead hunted down a six-month journalism course and within a year was working at my first local paper.

'My advice to any students would be not to panic if you don't get the grades you were after. University is not the only route and clearing is always an option, and I would highly recommend a gap year.'

•David Blackmore, senior reporter

'I can remember the walk into school to pick up my results like it was yesterday. I wasn't particularly nervous - just excited about getting my results and starting a new chapter in my life. I also wasn't worrying about grades or UCAS points, because there was nothing I could do about them and I wasn't going to university, so I was more relaxed than everyone else.

'It was more a case of me wanting to get my envelope, rip it open, read my results, say goodbye to my school friends and get back to work. However, when I opened my results and saw how well I had done, I completely changed. I was hugging friends, fellow students and teachers and didn't want to leave. I was ringing any member of my family who would pick up the phone to me to tell them the good news. Looking back, people must've thought I had gone crazy.

'My advice for students opening their results today is to try and stay as calm as possible. There isn't anything you can do about the results today - you've already put in countless hours of hard work and dedication to your chosen subjects.

'If you've not done as well as you'd hoped, take a deep breath, and think about your next steps. Try talking to one of your teachers and get their advice. If, however, you've done really well, I can recommend doing what I did and go to McDonalds with a few friends to enjoy a celebratory McFlurry!'

•Stephen Berry, journalism student at the University of Lincoln

'Results day is a strange day for students all over the land. Only half awake, after a night of stomach churning insomnia, I remember finding people being either unable to keep quiet because of the nervousness, absolutely deathly silent, frozen with fear, or just very embarrassed because their mum had gone into the school hall with them. I was somewhere in between, a squirmy agitated mess, contemplating if I actually hadn't done too badly or if I'd be spending the rest of my life living on my parents sofa, the only highlight of my day being when Bargain Hunt came on the telly.

'In the end I did pretty well. I got a B, C and a D in English, which was upsetting at the time but after a re-sit, I bumped it up to a C, which was enough for me to go to University. So I was pretty chuffed.

'While I was lucky enough to get some decent results, not everyone I knew was. However, this is not the end of the world. While it may be gut wrenchingly horrible at first as you realise, 'perhaps I shouldn't have spent most my time looking at funny pictures of cats or Facebook stalking when I was meant to be revising', you can still bring your marks up if you want to.

'My main bit of advice would probably be, don't accept a result if you're unhappy with it. I've heard so many people saying: 'Oh I wish I'd re-done my Maths A-Level' or whatever it is, because it really is worth it if you honestly think you could have done a bit better.

'It sounds cheesy but the worst feeling afterwards is if you know you didn't try your best and didn't do anything about it anyway. It's better to redo as soon as possible as well, while the many theories of Sigmund Freud or whoever, are still fresh in the memory.

'The other thing I'd advise is don't go to university if you really don't want to. When I was at sixth form there was a hell of a lot of pressure to get a degree afterwards, when quite a lot of people really didn't want to. While university is an amazing experience, it's not for everyone.

'Contrary to belief you do have to do quite a lot of work and isn't all parties and drinking (although a lot of it is.) I took a gap year and just worked at Marks and Spencer during it, going to a few festivals long the way, and this helped me immensely just to gain a bit of confidence and realise what I wanted to do.

'Finally, and at the time probably most importantly, don't close yourself away in your room after you get your results. Meet up with some mates and either celebrate or commiserate with them as most of them are probably in the same boat as you, and remember whatever happens you'll be alright.'

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