In the last few weeks, the annual agony and ecstasy of the dreaded exam results have come around for millions of teenagers in the UK and with it, the more recent tradition of people taking to social media to reassure the youth of today that it's not the end of the world if you don't get the grades you want, because they completely stuffed their exams, yet things have turned out alright for them.
Although there's nothing wrong with a bit of reassurance, I often wonder what the point is of this particular kind. On one hand, who is it really aimed at? Are the students who didn't get the results they wanted really going to be paying much attention to the advice a stranger or celebrity has to offer on Twitter? Probably not at that very moment in time, as they'll be too upset to notice.
On the other hand, as well-meaning as these people may be by retelling their tales of woe and how they still managed to do well, there's a fair chance it might have been easier for them to get by, with more options open to them if they did bugger it up. Times change pretty quickly, along with governments and the impact they have on the economy, which effects the education and career prospects of so many people. That's not to say that anyone who missed out on their desired grades this summer is completely fucked, but there are less options for them now than there were for those in the same situation ten or twenty years ago. Add to that, the increased pressure placed on children and young adults these days in general and it's no wonder opening an envelope one morning in August can potentially be one of the most soul-destroying things a teenager can experience.
It may seem like I'm having a go at everyone who posts such messages online, but that's not the case. Yes, there are some who just do it to jump on the current bandwagon in the same way that they'd probably climb into an industrial tree shredder if some dick on YouTube was telling them to, but on the whole, most people mean well. As nice as it is to see such hope being spread, it's not very realistic.
The truth is that no matter how well or badly you do in exams, there's a fair chance things might not work out anyway, because a lot of the decision-makers are cold-hearted, smug twats who tend to pick people who they know will do whatever they want without asking questions or expecting much in the way of payment (the dreaded "Think of the exposure you'll get!". Yeah, because exposure will pay the rent and buy food...).
I know this is all a bit gloomy and downbeat, but it's realistic. There is hope and there are positives out there for those who didn't get the results they were after this year, but it's harder than ever to find. Don't give up. Things may not have turned out the way you wanted, but it's really not the end of the world. I didn't do too brilliantly in my exams and it's not exactly been the easiest of easy rides to Easytown, but I also know that many of those who sat their exams at the same time as myself and achieved brilliant grades have also struggled to do well.
I'm not saying you shouldn't bother with any kind of studying or revision and that it's all futile, but no-matter how well or badly you do in your exams, there will always be people out there who did sod-all work and got shit grades, yet because someone they knew greased enough palms or licked the right arses, they've ended up in a position from where they can look down on the rest of us and take great pleasure in kicking us down the stairs. The next time a vital service is receiving yet another budget cut, just watch the laughing, plastic bellend responsible for it as they try to justify it on the news.
These are the kind of people we have to keep an eye on.
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