"Humans are creatures of habit. If you quit when things get tough, it gets that much easier to quit the next time. On the other hand, if you force yourself to push through it, the grit begins to grow in you."
- Travis Bradberry
I think that this is going to be a little bit of a tough love post .... mixed with a lot of honesty, and a lot of hope for the future. As I am sure that you know, a lot of students today have received their GCSE results today, and I am sure that it will be the same as it is every year - there are the students that got the marks that they wanted, the students that didn't get the results they were hoping for, and then the students that .... well, that didn't really care any way. I have a message for each and every one of you. So listen up .....
This is for the students that got the marks that they wanted: Well a HUGE congratulations to you, I hope that you are celebrating your successes, eating some cake, and generally living it up today. A question I have for you, for tomorrow, is .... did you put in what you got out of the exam process? And by "put in" I mean how hard did you work for these particular marks? I know that some of you work really hard, day in and day out, to achieve these results .... and I commend you, in fact I applaud you, for showing the grit and determination to follow through with deliberate and focused practice. It is this hard work that will see you go further then you can ever imagine, even when the odds are against you, and this is your admirable academic quality - not the letter on your results transcript .... Now, I know there are some of you that can get these A's without actually having to do much hard work. It seems so easy for you, you know that you test well, and means you are confident and oozing in self belief. I had a friend in High School who was like this, would flick through her school books the night before a test, show up, and ace it! Everyone else probably looks at you with daggers in their eyes, wondering why you can do tests so well, and they have to really work for it. I commend you on your marks, but I have to ask, did you do as well as you possibly could have? Not just for marks, but for yourself? Imagine if you put in the amount of work that your study-hard friends do ... imagine what you could achieve, beyond your natural abilities? Are you striving high enough? Celebrate your successes, but really consider, are you holding yourself back? This isn't to put a dampener on your success, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't show up everyday to do the work .... think about it, your natural talents + deliberate practice = mind-blowing/amazing/awe-inspiring/ successes, not just in school, but in life!
This for the students that didn't get the marks that they wanted: I commiserate .... and I want to tell you a story - I remember the day I received my HSC results (Australia's A-levels equivalent) .... it wasn't good, my marks were middle of the road, and my TER (Tertiary Entrance Rank) was below the bare minimum I needed to get into University. I was disappointed, but I knew that my focus as a teen wasn't school, it was swimming, and I will be the first to say that I didn't really put in the work that I had to at school to get the results I would have liked. And it is disappointing ... but please, oh please don't let this disappointment mean that you will give up. This is a learning opportunity, and whether you felt that you had worked hard, or not, take this moment to reassess, ask for advice, and look at how you can go forward in the future. It isn't the end, you life isn't over, you can turn it all around, you have potential you can fulfil; so commiserate today, vent, cry, rant .... but tomorrow wake up with a clear head and an open heart, and step forward with confidence that you can turn it all around. You have totally got this.
This is for the students that don't care at all: There must a reason that you don't care, and that is okay, and the only advice I will give you is to speak to someone you trust about this. Speak to someone who will let you speak without judgement, who will listen without bias, who will show you acceptance and kindness. I will also leave you with this though - you do have potential inside of you, you might not believe it, or see it, but it is there, and you are worth success and achievement, maybe you just need support and encouragement that you haven't received before. Much love and hope is being sent your way today.