It’s A-level results day and hordes of young people and their parents will be anxiously awaiting their marks. Here writer Lauren Windle explains that she didn’t get the grades the hoped for - but that’s actually more than ok.
Every year on A-level results day Jeremy Clarkson sends out the same tweet. Well, they vary slightly but the theme is very much the same. In 2020 the former Top Gear presenter said: “A level results not great? Don’t worry, I got a C and two Us and I’m currently building a large house with far reaching views of the Cotswolds.”
In 2021 he flagged up that despite his A-level results, he drove a Bentley. Other tweets have boasted he was preparing truffles for breakfast, he was on holiday in St Tropez and he was picking which of his Range Rovers to drive that day. Now I’m not saying a agree with his notion of “success” but I am saying that I agree with the sentiment.
I didn’t get the A-level results I wanted but I was still accepted onto the degree I chose because I badgered them relentlessly to make sure they would let me in. I’m now in my 30s and no one has mentioned my A-levels since I was in my first year at uni. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter – for some careers and training programmes those marks are important. But I can say with absolute certainty that there are many different roads to success and every single one will involve some level of failure. If it’s not your (or your child’s) turn to fail now, they will in the future and that’s not only ok – in fact it’s great. Failure is character building and creates in us vital resilience that we would be awful people without.
I can say with absolute certainty that there are many different roads to success and every single one will involve some level of failure.
We have this notion that success is: good grades at school -> university -> great job -> marriage -> buy a house -> have kids -> retire wealthy -> go on cruises. This is setting every single one of us up for disappointment – not least because cruises are nowhere near as glamorous as you’d imagine. If you look at the Bible, God didn’t work to a cookie-cutter schedule. The most spectacularly influential and fulfilled people were on wildly unexpected timetables. Some had children far later than expected, some started their ministry when they were just teenagers and others didn’t have families or “successful” jobs. Moses only went to Pharaoh when he was in his 80s. And Jesus – our Jesus – who died for us, did so at the age of 33 without being offered any senior career or formal status.
Make sure you remember the non-academic intelligence you have as well; social, emotional, spiritual etc.
Fullness of life and achieving God’s purpose is not contingent on your education levels and will not be inhibited by low A-level results. Not everyone is supposed to go to university and A-levels only measure one, very specific, type of intelligence. So, if you’re disappointed by what you or your child gets today, take a moment to pray about God’s call on your/their life and ask that he opens up the right doors to get there. Make sure you remember the non-academic intelligence you have as well; social, emotional, spiritual etc. These are all just as important – and in some cases more so. And you never know, you could have a Jeremy Clarkson-style garage full of fancy cars one day too – although trust me, that shouldn’t be the aim.