Here’s what people tell you about A-Levels: If you do well, congratulations! You’ll go on to a Russell Group university, take a 2.1 in PPE, then commence a successful career as an Analyst at a global bank. If you really shit them up, you’ll look forward to a failed media course at Bangor and a shallow grave in the putrid waters of whatever river you choose to drown yourself in.
In reality, they don’t really mean shit. You’re just as likely to spend the early half of your twenties playing Street Fighter V in your mum’s house (that she re-mortgaged to pay for your degree, you burden), while the cursor hopelessly blinks on a blank Word doc. titled ‘COVER LETTER, whether you went to Oxford or Oxford Brookes. I don’t remember much about my A-Level results day - beyond the relief felt at learning I’d made it to my first choice uni - but I distinctly recall the tears. The kids crying that day probably thought their lives were over. They weren’t. This incredibly thoughtful guide will learn you why OK???
So You Really Fucked Up
Damn dude, I really feel for you. Spending the whole of Sixth Form smoking weed and skipping General Studies really didn’t pay off, did it? Kidding! Loads of people work really hard and still get shitty grades. I, for one, thought I crushed my AS-level Spanish, but ended up muy driste after receiving my grade. I’m still convinced that bitch Senora Collins had it in for me after I dedicated the oral section of my exam to Harold & Kumar Get The Munchies, but whatever, fuck that puta.
Anyway, I digress. If the results aren’t what you hoped for and that Politics & Media degree is no longer an option, get on the blower and start finding similar courses elsewhere. A lot of the smaller unis may not be high in the league tables, but they’ll still possess many more immeasurable qualities. For a start, the teachers won’t be the crusty old celibates who fester in the halls of top institutions. Instead, they’ll be young and interesting, like you. And like you, they’ll be open to new ideas and excited by what you have to say. The healthy exchanges this sort of dynamic engenders will actually prepare you for life in the real world, not for something totally useless - like a life in academia.
So You Did OK, But Only Got Into Your Second Choice
Not getting into your first choice can be real bummer. Your number 1 pick had a tidy campus when you visited back in March, plus all of the girls you saw dressed like they didn’t know what season it was (ugg boots + tiny skirt + scarf = instant wife). Let it go. Your second choice is probably just as good and, as most of you know, UNIVERSITY IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT LAD.
If you want to spend first year capitalising on the ridiculously fast wifi in student accommodation by wanking your lectures away, go right ahead! It makes no difference what institute of higher education you’ve been assigned to. Similarly, if you want to chain smoke marijuana and listen to rare DMZ cuts with a posse of like-minded souls, while you fan your Norton Anthology of British Poetry in a fruitless attempt to usher the dense fog that’s accumulated in your room out of the tiny window, you can! Even if you end up at your second choice.
And if you want to complete all the required reading, contribute in seminars and breeze your way to a First, you can! I guess.
So You Fucking Crushed It
Good for you. It’s all easy street from here. But heed this warning. If you’ve opened the letter today and all you see is A* A* A* A*, be eternally grateful for the support system that no doubt steered you to this destination. It’s important to remember that they won’t be here forever, and once you get to university you’ll be on your own (sort of).
For many kids I met at uni, the removal of things like ‘parents’, ‘detentions’ and ‘vegetables’ was all it took for them to go from Sixth Form swot to semi-functional alcoholic who puts on an 8-bit night at the local Po Na Na’s. What a fucking disgrace.
You Did Your A-Levels But You’ve Elected To Not Go To Uni
Good for you. You’ll probably own a house by the time you’re 22.
So You’re Going On A Gap Year