Didn’t get the grades? It’s okay…

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It’s okay if you didn’t get the grades you wanted or needed. You may feel like it is the end of the world but honestly, a few years down the line, you’ll be laughing at how upset it has got you. It really doesn’t matter, despite what society says. Whatever you want to do, you can get there one way or another. You don’t need straight A’s to make it to the top. 

At school, I wasn’t really much of the academic sort. I hated school so much that I hardly ever listened in lessons (doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!). I was the daydreamer type, always in my own little bubble. I remember being so angry at myself because I wasn’t “clever” that I used to hide in the toilets at school and cry my eyes out. I didn’t match up to anyone in my year.

I never ever got an A* in my life – I just didn’t have it in me. Some people don’t and that’s okay. In fact, I was a C/D borderline student at GCSE level. I knew exactly what I wanted to do ever since I was little and in a way, that saved me because I had a goal and was determined to reach it. At school, I was just so consumed with my low self esteem and that did have an effect on how I did. I was a slow learner so things like Maths and Science never really got into my brain. I enjoyed creative arts subjects like Music, Drama and English.

I did do well in my GCSE’s in most Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 21.08.51subjects (only failed Maths) and did get the grades to do A-Levels but I decided from Year 9 that I don’t want to do A-Levels. I hate exams and most A-Level subjects are academic and theoretical. Again, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and knew how to get there so I didn’t mess around. 

In Sixth Form, I did BTEC in Media Production. Yes, a BTEC. That doesn’t mean it’s any less than A-Levels and it doesn’t mean it’s for “dumb” people. BTEC is just as valuable as A-Levels. It’s vocational and I see it as a qualification for people who know exactly what they want to do. I didn’t see the point in doing academic courses for two years if I don’t think it would help me in the future. I would be wasting my time. 

And yes, you can get into university with a BTEC – I did. I got 2:1 in my creative based degree and look where I am now – not to sound like I am boasting but I am a full trained journalist and I learnt more by going out into the world and working (which was part of my degree) than in school. Literally at the end of my degree, I cried my eyes out in happiness because I proved myself to people that you can get to the very top without amazing grades. If I can do it guys, so can you. 

So if you received your A-Level or any other results last week and are getting your GCSE results next week, remember that whatever you got/get, it doesn’t define you or your future. You tried your best and that is all that matters. You don’t have to know what you want to do, but just don’t rely on your grades entirely. If you know what you want to do and didn’t get the grades to do it – trust me, there is always a way to get there – it may take you a different route and may take more time, but there is no rush. You will get there one day. All I can say from my experience is to try your best but don’t let your results define who you are.

Freshers 2013: Starting University

It is A-Level results day today (August 15th) and most of you will already know by now if you got into your chosen university or not. This is a blog post all about starting university and things I wish I had done to make my student life a little less stressful but if you want some information and advice on clearing go to – http://www.ucas.com/clearing

So, you have done it. You have got into university after months of hard work but it has hit you that you will have to (probably) move away, make new friends and live in a complete different environment away from your comfort zone. Sounds exciting yet very scary. My university experience was very different because I did not move away from home but that is another story for another blog post. These are some of my top tips for starting university…

Freshers Week

Freshers week is a chance to make new friends, get settled into your accommodation and get everything sorted for your course such as timetables, registration and sort out any problems you may have before officially starting.

Go to your freshers fair and sign up to any clubs or societies that interests you. Nothing interested me to be honest so I signed up to the Islamic Society which I did not even go to. Oh.

Of course, freshers week is known for going out partying and getting drunk so if that is your thing, go to them and have a good time. This is also a great chance to make new friends. Do be careful of the amount of alcohol you consume though. You do not want to be hungover during your first week of lectures. It will not start off smoothly if you are unwell.

However, if you are like me and do not drink or go clubbing (for religious reasons or not) or just not that much of a social person, then do something else instead. Drinking and going out is not a requirement for freshers week, it is just a stereotype. You do not have to do what everyone else is doing. Do whatever makes you happy and whatever you are comfortable with.


Making friends can be hard (or making the initial approach to make friends is hard) but when you are moving into Halls of Residence, you are almost forced to make friends because you will be living with these people for at least a year. The first set of friends you make will be your flatmates. Introduce yourself to anyone you see walking in the corridor. Similarly, there may even be a Facebook group of your Halls/course so introduce yourself on there and try and meet up with some of them. That way you will already have made friends without even meeting them yet which is a bonus and can give you a bit of confidence in the sense that you know you are not going to be alone. I have seen this happen many times.

Making new friends at university can be a very exciting thing and you may even become really good friends and form a genuine friendship but make sure you do not ditch your old friends at home. Make time for them too. Just because you have made new friends, does not mean you can forget about your old ones. Call them up once in a while and let them know how you are doing.

However, do not feel disheartened if you have not made friends at university yet. It will take time. They say the people you meet at freshers week, you will probably never see again. Making friends at university is something I have struggled with which I will go into more detail about in my blog post about living at home whilst at university so do look out for that.

Go To All Your Lectures/Seminars

Yes, you have an option to skip lectures because you may think you are not in school or college anymore and finally you have the freedom but think about why you are paying all that money for university? You can go out and have a good time but do not let it stop you from waking up to get to your lecture.

One thing I have seen in many people is that they go out clubbing the day before a lecture and either skip the lecture for a lie-in or come into lecture with a hangover. That is not good at all and I would not advise it. I would suggest to go out on nights that you do not have a lecture the next day. Leave the partying to Friday and Saturday nights.

Make Notes

This is something I have trouble with because of my short attention spam but I have realised that making notes is crucial because a few months down the line, you may need to revise for an exam and that note you made could do wonders to your memory. You can take your laptop into the lecture hall if you prefer typing your notes.

Reading List

Read about your modules and around your subject as much as you can. You will find that by doing that it will help you write your essays and it will be very good for referencing. Find your reading list and either buy the books or borrow them from the university library.

Managing Money

You are on your own now and therefore, you will need to learn to manage your own finances. Student Finance will come in and you probably never had that much money in your bank account before therefore making you tempted to spend it all on anything and everything. Resist that urge. Be sensible. Work out how much you can spend in a term including going out, food, rent, travelling etc…and stick to it. If you are struggling with money, get a part-time job or talk to the financial advisors at your university.

Talk To Your Tutor

You may be troubled by something and really struggling with work or you may not understand the work because the transition from school/college to university is a big one or whatever problem you may have, please do talk to your tutor as soon as possible. That is what they are there for. I found that keeping things bottled up will only just makes things worse.


Do not make your university life all work and no play. Do work really hard but make time for socialising and some alone time with yourself. Also, if you have a job, prioritise that around your lectures so your shifts do not clash.

All in all, starting university is a scary concept yet it can open a lot of doors for you and if you let it, you will have an amazing three years of your life.