I felt inspired to write to you because I've seen lots of teenagers just like you who are getting stressed and anxious about sitting exams.
I get it.
You're feeling pressure to achieve certain grades from teachers and parents. You're putting pressure on yourself.
You know the importance of GCSEs and A levels, but you're getting the message that your results are tied to your worth.
That's not true.
Yes, everyone wants you to do well, but your results do not show the world who you are as a person.
They show us which subjects you've recalled information in. Even then, you could have been having a 'bad day' and not remembered what you knew you had somewhere in your brain.
Your results don't show us your unique talents and gifts, your compassion, your sense of humour, your caring nature, or your passions.
I've spent the last few months coaching teenage girls, helping them stay calm during this manic time. Just this week some of them told me they feel like a failure and they are letting everyone down. The marks they've got back in their mocks so far were all A*.
I too was an A* student, but it's only now, at the ripe old age of 39 that I've started to feel 'enough' - good enough and worthy enough.
Please don't do what I did.
I achieved grade after grade and still felt empty. Each achievement, I wondered if I could've done better. Even when I got 100% in my nutrition exam, it felt too easy. Yes, I'd done the work, but it felt like I needed to work harder to justify my mark.
If you fall into this mindset you'll never feel good enough.
So, whatever grade you get, celebrate your effort. Celebrate everything you achieve. It doesn't matter if others don't think it's a 'success' - it is because you've tried.
You're telling me that teachers and parents have been trying to motivate you to 'do your best'. Others may have told you 'there's no way you'll get a pass in their subject'. Some parents have offered money as a reward, others have already shown you dismay about the grades you've got so far.
It's up to you to take on board what helps you and to forget the rest. In life you'll always get people who support you and people who don't.
Know that your parents and your teachers have their own reasons for acting how they are. Their behaviour is tied up with their past, their beliefs and their expectations. What they say to you and how they act is more about them than you. If it helps you, then just know that they're hopefully doing it out of love, even if they have a funny way of showing it.
You don't have to get down by what they say, or use what they say to put even more pressure on yourself.
It's your life. Do what works for you.
Stay true to you. Believe in yourself and know that, if for any reason you don't get the grades that you'd like to, it doesn't mean that you can't go for your dreams. It doesn't mean that you're a 'failure'. There are many different roads you can take to get to your destination.
Image thanks to canstockphoto
Success to me is belief in yourself. It's the ability to pick yourself up over and over again.
Have a think about what success means to you.
Once you can define success on your terms, I'm sure you'll have lots of success in your life.
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