If you are a student receiving your A-Level results tomorrow, we know you’ve heard it before (okay maybe you’ve heard it a lot) that there are lots of options no matter what results you receive.
The reason you hear this so much is because we know it to be true – whatever news you get tomorrow, everything will be okay. To support this and you, we always try to help by putting out a guide that explains your different options and share some resources (you can watch out for our guide tomorrow here).
This year, though, we wanted to dive a little deeper and give you a real life example of someone who has been through a tough A-Level experience and come out on the other side.
Emma Scott is currently the Mentoring and Training Manager at The Diana Award. She came to us with a magnitude of experience for someone her age (26) and an incredible passion for youth-driven social action. After finishing school at the University of Aberdeen, Emma interned with the United Nations (UN for those who speak abbreviations) where she was present for the Urgent Debate regarding the Syria Crisis in the Human Rights Council and was part of the working group of the UNCRC on behalf of the Legal Liaison office of the Director General. From there, she helped to organise the very first (and second) We Day in the UK, bringing 12,000 young people together to celebrate social action through Free The Children. As a part of Free The Children’s international development project, she took 30 young people from Canada to Asemkow, Ghana for a month to build a school in a rural community. Through her career Emma has met a number of inspirational people and personalities including Malala Yousafzai, HRH Prince Harry, Martine Wright, and Richard Branson. Did we mentioned she also has two masters’ degrees? Emma now runs The Diana Award Mentoring program which supports at risk young people and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have her on our team.
Now…. Would you believe us if we told you Emma failed two of her A-Levels when she was seventeen?
Believe it or not, it’s true. Emma shared with us that she was given conditional offers to universities in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen instead of acceptances because of her results and during her second attempts she managed to secure the grades to get into University. She went on to gain a 2:1 in her undergraduate, studying law, international relations and politics and then gaining MSc in Strategic Studies and LLM Human Rights Law both with Commendation!
Emma told us:
When I failed those two exams when I was seventeen I was devastated. I felt like all my friends had done better than me and that I would be left behind and not be able to achieve anything. But the feeling of failure also made me try so much harder in university exams to make sure I didn’t fail again. I honestly don’t think I would have had the university career that I did if it wasn’t for that feeling of disappointment during the school exams, as it is what drove me to achieve! Sometimes, you have to turn a negative feeling into a positive one, and that’s what got me through my second attempts and motivated me to achieve high grades to get me where I wanted.
So what’s the moral of the story? We know that tomorrow seems like a daunting day. Some of you may even feel like your entire life depends on your results. But hopefully, you are inspired by Emma’s story and can go to bed tonight knowing that whatever tomorrow brings, you’ve got tons of options; whether it be an apprenticeship, school leaver programme, college, the world of work, or university like Emma. There will always be hurdles along the way but one famous quote from Winston Churchill comes to mind: “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”.