Featured Image: poppunklateanight.tumblr.com
Alright so I’ve just had a breakdown and thought I’d share it with you all. I just received some exam results which were nowhere near as well as what I (and my teachers) had thought I would’ve received.
I cried. A lot. My family tried to comfort me but I was honestly a sobbing, snotty, mess that could not be controlled. I was devastated. Not because it would impact on my future but because it was such a disappointment to myself. I had got nowhere near what I had expected and it upset me immensely. To put in all this effort to end up with nothing in return. Okay that’s a bit of a lie I still got an okay score just not as well as I hoped.
I cried for about an hour. No word of a lie, I checked the results at 7am and then could finally see the clock and it read 8:15am. By this point my mum was stressing out trying to comfort me and talk through “strategies” (which in times like this just seem frustrating and irritating. Like let me mourn in peace even though you’re trying to help).
I received the “we’re still really proud of you” and “it doesn’t change who you are” but that didn’t really do much. That’s the sort of “filler” compliments parents use to make you feel better when they actually don’t know what to say.
My dad’s expression as my tried to comfort me
By this point I realised I was becoming an angry and emotional mess who was unnecessarily beginning to take my frustration and anger at myself out on them which is something that I really did not want to do.
So I closed the results window (the result burned into my memory) and sat there for a few minutes, just breathing and crying. It took another few minutes for the tears to stop and then I began to compose myself. Crying and being angry and frustrated and myself and the whole education system was not going to change those stupid numbers that had almost destroyed my hope for university. This little number which seemed so important to me was going to be meaningless in a few years anyway; yet here I was letting it define me as a person.
I think the true measure of character for anyone in these situations is how they handle and move on from the disappointment. I clicked onto VTAC (the website that released my results) and began looking for alternative courses. This really calmed me down; NOT ALL HOPE WAS LOST! It also reminded me that a lot of the courses I applied for accommodated for the score that I got.
Mum was quickly on the phone to my careers counsellor and we set up a meeting for later on today so I could discuss a intermission year as I have decided to call it. This is the first year of a course that I take so I can transfer into another the year after because I didn’t meet its requirements. I’ve been writing down alternative subjects, universities and courses that I can study and it is honestly very reassuring. I thought all hope was lost, that I’d have to settle for not chasing the career that I really wanted. But then I realised that there was hope! I could do what I wanted to do!
I haven’t completely failed at life!
Of course overtime my phone pings with a text from a friend or family member asking what score I got and if I was happy it does sting. But it also allows me to be honest with myself and face the fact that yeah, I’m not happy. I’m honestly very disappointed. But I can’t change it now and can work with it.
For all of you students out there who may also be feeling this hurt and disappointment I thought I’d write this post to show two things. 1) that you are not alone in your disappointment and 2) how I dealt with it so it could hopefully provide you with some advice on how to do it as well.
I’m not getting up on a pedestal saying that I’m the greatest because I am handling this (moderately) okay. I’m just trying to give you guys some reassurance from a person who is also going through the exact same emotional rollercoaster that VCAA had strapped me on and now has finally let me off.
So! After reading this very long recount of my morning so far I will compose my “coping mechanisms” into a list:
1. It is okay to cry and be disappointed; If you don’t it will bottle up until you explode. That could be at yourself, family, friends or even having a breakdown in a public place. Let it out. You will honestly feel so much better.
2. Acknowledge that it was not what you were hoping for but you can’t change it; Unless you want to go through the hell of VCE all over again (which I’m not even sure you can), you can’t change what you got. Bombarding VCAA with emails asking why the scaling was so crap this year or your teachers as to why you didn’t do as well will not change that number. But, you earned that number. Whether it be through doing your best or not enough it was what YOU earned (with the little bonus of shitty scaling). This is where the whole hard love aspect comes in – you have to deal with it. Acknowledge that yeah you’re disappointed but also think “meh, I’ll just take another path to my degree” or whatever it is you want to do. THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES.
3. Look for those alternatives; Right now. Begin looking. Go to course search and scroll through every possible degree that relates to what you want to do. Then do some research on the university website as to whether your score can let you do the course. If not, find a course with the same 6 main elements or subjects and do that for a year then transfer! That is the best word I have heard all day – TRANSFER. Do some research into what you could do for a year before doing something else.
4. Talk to your careers counsellor/advisor; This is their prime time. Dealing with distressed students who are frantic after their results have been released. Use them! They are such a beneficial resource that does not get used enough so ring them and organise a meeting! Whether it be to discuss the result you got (to understand it better), your preferences or alternative courses, just book a meeting! It will help you by talking through this process with someone who was hired to help you in dealing with it. They’re more qualified than anyone to help you right now.
5. Just keep living your life; This sounds so cheesy I cringed whilst writing it, but it’s true. If you let the depressing cloud of your ATAR hang over your head for the next couple of months you’re not going to be enjoying the freedom that you will rarely ever have again. Think about it. You are not studying. You do not have any exams to prep for. You are 18 (most of us anyway). You have your whole life ahead of you. This is just a blip and if you let this blip control your actions for the future than you won’t be living your life, you will be living a life controlled by VCAA (who should be left behind right now). Think of all the positive things you will be looking forward to! Christmas, New Years Eve and your career! If you remain in this bitter and upset stage for long enough it will change you. Don’t let that happen.
6. Feel shitty; Okay this sort of contradicts the positive stereotypical message given above but for at least today feel shitty if you want to. You’re disappointed. You’re allowed to be disappointed. But once you start playing Sims College Life in a depressed state everyday instead of actually going out and living your life, that is when you need to snap out of it. If you hold in your feelings of being upset then they will consume you. But don’t let them get too out of control or else they will also control you. Find that balance, you can do it!
Alright so I’ll end this here; with me still slightly crying because this opened the wound writing down how crap I feel but hopefully you have some advice or at least some moral support. Feel free to comment or message me if you want to talk and have a whinge about the VCAA or anything in general! Hope you feel a little bit better and all the best wishes for your future x