My very own website!!! Yikes!

GSCE success or failure? I’ve had 20 years to reflect!

Today children (young adults!) across the land are receiving their GCSE results. Some will be elated, others crushed. Parents will be smug or disappointed but hiding both!
It is also the first year of the new grading system so the country waits with baited breath to see if the government has a success on its hands and whether the familiar cry of ‘exams are getting easier’ will finally be silenced. (I would also like to take this moment to wish all of the students in the exams I invigilated good luck and I hope you get the results you deserve!)
Earlier this year I attended my school reunion so it is now 20 years since I collected my own results. I will be completely honest I was a bit gutted not to have got straight As. But I didn’t put in the work so I didn’t deserve them. I obtained a perfectly respectable 1 A*, 6 As, 2 Bs and a C. I have no idea if my parents hoped for better.

Me in 1997

Me front left 2017, yikes 20 years older!

I would describe myself as a lazy perfectionist. I wanted top grades but wasn’t prepared to work for them. I wanted to watch EastEnders. I wanted to read a book.

My sister was the complete opposite when her turn came around 3 years later. She was dedicated and committed to her studies, working extremely hard every night. She got the high grades and I confess I was a little jealous at first but seeing the stress and pressure made me glad I had done enough rather than my best.
Skip on 2 years and my A Level results were a similar story. I got an A, B and 2 Cs. I did NO work at home but squeezed it all into my study sessions during the college day. Forward another 3 years and I was pleased with my 2:1 degree.

So what am I telling you? Be lazy? Don’t work? Accept second best?
Be yourself at all times. Don’t compare yourself to others. If you have a passion, go for it. Weigh up the things that you value most and live your life accordingly.
That is the advice I give to my own children. I want them to do well academically but also socially, emotionally, mentally, physically. I want them to be human beings that I can be proud of and academic achievement is just a small part of that.

Obviously I want them to do well enough to get the career they want. But that is the crucial point: well ENOUGH. Not pushing themselves too far or setting themselves up for disappointment, being realistic about their own potential and having achievable goals in mind. In my opinion, success isn’t how much money you make or what grades you get, but what positive effect you have on other people and the world.

Hallmark Care Homes is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and has been asking its residents and others for letters to their younger selves. Some of the letters are really poignant and beautiful.
I have previously vlogged advice to my younger self at various points in my life but below is the simple advice I would give to 16 year old Laura on the day she got her GSCE results (more of a tweet than a letter in this modern world!):

Be grateful. Be kind. Be brave. Be patient. Be happy. Be yourself.

It is also the advice I would give to those getting their results today and my children in the future. The world is ahead of you, enjoy!

*I was informed of Hallmark’s campaign but have not received payment for mentioning it in my post.


  1. GCSE’s aren’t the be all & end all. I think soon they will cease to exist & it will be replaced. I think examinations make some people physically & mentally ill with how much stress is imposed on them. You did exceptionally well with your results & should be happy.

    I love that you want your children to do well with their learning but also thrive socially! So many people force their children into education to get the highest grades & leave them devoid of all social experience. I won’t push B nor will I be angry if he’s not top of his class.

  2. I know I feel for the kids every year they come out. I have been through it with 2 older step kids. I think as long as they try hard (or as hard as they can!!) and have a good outlook on life they will be fine, I am 40 this year and no one has asked for my GCSE results since I graduated. Although it helps with going to University if that is the route they want to go down (and again they can be resat!) it makes no difference in the real world. Being a nice human being, with good manners is much more important 🙂

  3. I worked really hard at school and also got some good grades but was always very disciplined which is what I’m trying to get our eldest into as it definitely makes life easier if you get into good habits early on. That said I’m not sure I could have the patience or concentration to study now!! #thatfridaylinky

  4. I think it is really hard to get the balance between not putting too much pressure and stress on children, whilst encouraging them to do their best. Looking back, I would have liked to have seen what I could have achieved if I had really pushed myself. Don’t get me wrong – I was very happy with 8 As and 2 Bs. I just think I could have done better. Having said that – there are plenty of opportunities in life to push ourselves and GCSEs are not the be all and end all. I think children should be children for as long as possible. #ABloggingGoodTime

  5. It’s been 20 years since I got my results too. I will be forever grateful to my parents for not heaping me with pressure, and always just encouraging me in a supportive, helpful, loving and totally non-pushy way. They probably knew what I only discovered in my twenties, that I am perfectly capable of heaping more than enough pressure on myself without anyone adding to it! I hope that I can successfully emulate their nurturing guidance when my boys get round to GCSE level. #Blogstravaganza

  6. Aww we’re the same age! Where the hell did 20 years go hey?! Fond memories of the Class of 97! That was a great Summer! PS. You got better grades than me! 🙂 #AnythingGoes

  7. Mt attitude to school was I’ll do enough to get into college I needed 5 Cs and actually got an A, 6 Bs and 4 Cs. And that’s the first time since college I’ve ever mentioned them. They really aren’t the big deal they are made out to be once you have A levels and/or work experience
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂

  8. OOO look at you miss smarty pants! Im the kind of person that has to revise otherwise I get shocking marks (I realised that with my AS Levels!) But Hubby doesn’t have to do anything and always gets top marks!
    I just don’t get the new marking system and don’t like the idea of numbers!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week

  9. Pingback: Quotes #Blogtober17 day 17 | Musings of a tired mummy…zzz…

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