I was searching through various bits of writing I’d done a few years ago, and found this particularly interesting passage from around two years ago-

“I am clever.  I read and write well, and I pick up concepts and theories quickly. I am clever. But I’m not clever. I’m a solid grade B. I’m an average student. Teachers don’t have to worry about me, but I’m not particularly exciting. I get given work, I complete it, done.”

Oh dear. I wonder what spurred me to write this? Luckily, 16 year old Megan provides context-

“When I was picking my GCSE’s I picked Performing Arts as an option. Bear in mind my other options were Double Science, Geography, and History. Good subjects. Surely one so called ‘soft’ subject I actually cared about wouldn’t be a problem? Ah, not so. ‘We expect good things from you Megan. I think you’re a bit above a BTEC… take French instead.’ And that was it. It was done. The only subject I was excited about was deemed not good enough because they expected more from me.

They were wrong. I got C’s in History, Geography, and French. I was predicted A’s. Had I been allowed to take a subject I enjoyed, where I could express myself, I think I would have achieved better grades all round. Instead, I panicked to the point of apathy about a bunch of subjects I was average at, but didn’t enjoy. Well, I did enjoy History. I wanted an A* in that. But guess what? I spent every hour revising French. I spent every hour stressing and crying about a subject I hated, that I had been forced to take. I had all the balance taken away from me which made me topple and fall.”

I wrote this shortly after dropping out of sixth form a few weeks into my AS levels. It’s pretty clear how disappointed I was with my GCSE results- I still kind of am. I studied damn hard for those exams, and received multiple assurances of my own intellect and how I’d pass with ‘flying colours’. Not achieving my predicted grades plagued my perception of my education up until a few months ago. When I returned to my AS levels, I was predicted low grades, based on my GCSE results. I, of little faith in predicted grades at that point, was sure I’d fail. I tried my best at my GCSE’s and failed. At AS, this was a surety.

Then I remembered. Rose tinted glasses had made me forget the most important detail in my final year of secondary school- I was suffering with depression, unaided by counselling or medication. While I revised a LOT, it wasn’t translating properly into my less-than-ideally functioning brain. My school, though I loved it, had no clue how to support or help me- if I felt sad I was sent home and given a massive pile of work to immediately finish upon my return. In short, I was emotionally stuck up a creek without a paddle.

Looking back, I’m pretty proud of my results considering the circumstances. Forgetting the high expectations I had of myself, my results were pretty great- I passed all my subjects! Even Welsh!

This year, despite it being extremely tough, and living in a new and unfamiliar area, with the help of supportive teachers, a wonderful psychiatrist, and more hard work, I managed to earn all As at AS Level and an offer to all 4 universities I applied to. 

No matter came behind you, or your own self doubt, you can achieve things you’d never expect. There are so many resources available to you- seek them out. But most importantly, be kind to yourself- and give yourself a chance.