UCAS’ Clearing system was always an option. I don’t think I’m close minded towards other universities, but going through and eventually spending three years and at least £27,000 on something I’m not 100% into, is not appealing to me. I think there’s also a small amount of pride there – I know I am very capable of getting into Warwick (still my dream uni) and I think I’m a little stubborn about getting there. I wouldn’t feel satisfied getting into university with the grades I got, and that was it.
Upon initial reflection, I’m not quite sure why I did so badly. I was sure that I had at least done ‘okay’ but what I did get was ‘disastrous’. From my point of view, I worked my butt off last year, I know I did. I also know that what I really wished for was to be able to pace myself and not have always be cramming in a bunch of material at once and just take it slow by myself. Now, I have basically granted myself a year of such self-pacing and self-management, but I’m not sure which is scarier. I will have a tiny fraction of the support that I got over this past year, yet I will be expected to do a lot better.
But whilst I’m obviously quite disappointed, I also now have the entirety of the year ahead to plan for. A whole year, besides studying, all to myself. This is where the pacing begins. This is where I start pulling my socks together. Also strange, because I have found that things turn out okay if I make myself flexible but here I really will have to plan wisely.
I mean, now I can’t do anything about my horrendous grades apart from working on them again to make them better. It doesn’t seem quite as scary as it thought it was earlier this year, now the dust has settled a bit, although it would really really help if my mother didn’t suddenly decide to hint at me that just getting a vocational qualification or directly getting a job is better. Months ago, she did tell me she was okay with me taking a gap year, now she’s saying instead of studying and wasting time I may as well work and earn money. I think she really meant back then ‘I’m okay with you taking a gap year if you get decent grades’.
There are a lot of things I do want to do and goals to complete. I don’t intend to just study this year – I don’t think I could cope with that at all, I mean I need to get out of the house!
Of course, I am retaking a number of exams this year. It’s probably not uncommon to retake one or two units, but… I’m talking resits of resits. I am basically going to have to re-live my year 13 all over again. Not looking forward to it, but… we’ll see how this goes. I’m going to have to make the dreaded Chem4 module my bestest friend.
I am going to keep shooting arrows at the archery club, and aim to work my way up to my first competition. That means working my way up from shooting 28lb bows to beyond 30, and probably actually working out to be able to handle a bow that’s bigger than myself.
I am going to carry on working so I at least have some financial freedom in what I do in the next year. I have to pay for all of my exam retakes, plus any archery stuff my club isn’t providing, plus transport fares, study materials and the occasional treat(!). It’s probably wise to keep a job that’s so convenient to me, and hopefully if I do make it into uni I’ll have more money to spare.
I am going to carry on writing. I mean, writing this blog post, writing that poem I have to do for Verve’s competition, working on pieces for literary magazine submissions, working on pieces to display on my writing blog – all of them are things that help me to vent some creative energy into something good, and all of them are helping to keep me sane.
I want to do new things, and have a backup plan in case this year flunks too. I know that my knowledge (however basic) of two languages is really advantageous considering the demand for related services and stuff, and I’m hoping this might open some opportunities in the future. Therefore, I want to strengthen my Vietnamese language skills as well as pick up the languages that I have always wanted to at least begin learning – Korean and Japanese – since I was little.
In the end, I have to take this year in my stride. I mean, I’ll be living the uni life vicariously through my friends and so have insisted they share everything with me! I can’t deny that I’m really REALLY jealous of them but I’m also really damn proud of them for making through what was a real hellish year and coming out on top.
Here’s to the academic year of 2016-17, whatever we’re doing.
P.S. If you’re also in gap-year purgatory and feel like needing company, I need it too. So do get in touch, even if it is just a rant about writing a personal statement for the second time!