This blog post as originally writter on the 13th of August preceding A level results day, but still makes a good read on cancer changing perceptions and interrupting studies.
A change in focus. A change in priorities. A change in what matters most. Something I've experienced and heard so much in the past few months. Cancer really has a way of throwing everything up in the air, with it landing in different places than thrown.
As I imagine everyone reading this knows, tomorrow is A level results day, regardless of how they know. It could be a son/daughter of yours, a friend, or even you just know because of the news. For some reading this, it will be their own results day tomorrow, and they are reading this blog to distract themselves from the butterflies of (what they think will be) impending DOOM. I've been in that place before, last year I picked up GCSE results, and really I should be chewing my nails, waiting in dreaded anticipation. But I'm not, not quite.
Some of you won't know that I was an AS student before I got diagnosed, and because I did have 3 full months in school (sept-Dec) last year, I did sit some exams. Nowhere near as many as I should of, only 2. So instead of getting four AS's tomorrow, I'll be getting two unit one exam marks. So of COURSE I am nervous for the results. I want to have done well in them. The significance just isn't as great as before.
Just to be in the position to be getting results at all tomorrow is an achievement, no matter how much I sometimes feel of lesser significance to my classmates who'll be getting full results sheets. I do feel like that, partially because I feel that should be me, partially down to insane jealousy, partially down to the awful feeling that I should have made it happen regardless of my diagnosis.
Thinking I should have learnt my course in hospital is ludicrous, and I know that. Feeling inadequate is ridiculous as well, but it's something that I just can't help. Envy is horrible, yet the most natural of all. Education wise, cancer puts you in a pickle!
At the end of it all though, I know I'm lucky. Lucky to have sat those two unit ones (against my Dr's advice! She recommended a year's rest). Lucky to have beaten cancer, and be able to return to school in September. Lucky that cancer swept in and messed up my AS levels, something people take at any age, rather than coming in a year earlier and messing up my GCSE's. I am SO SO SO thankful I got diagnosed after GCSE's. I know from experience how that has messed people up.
To say my experience hasn't changed me would be a lie. Same girl, changed outlook. I always was a fan of school, and appreciated it, yet I would complain about it on occasion. I think I can firmly say now, that won't be happening again at least not in my heart of hearts. Some of the most upsetting things, most offensive things to read during treatment weren't nasty comments, or remarks about cancer were posts on social media like-
"Hate sixth form" "f**k A levels" "can't wait to drop out of school"
Sure, they were just fly away comments, and would never hold anything against anyone who said something similar, but it was awful to read. I would be sat, in hospital, ill, thinking about what would give to be able to take a seat in the class for them. Something to think about- if that's me, a girl who still had massive prospects, knew she would be going back to school felt that such comments were a stab in the heart, imagine what a girl who has never been able to go to school, or a girl who is no longer allowed to go to school due to oppression feels? At the end of the day I am lucky. Blessed. I will never stop saying, and being thankful.
Me on my GCSE results day!
So, the night before the big results day, a change of perspective. The camera of my mind switched focus, looking more at the right now, and my dreams as opposed to grades, figures and league tables. I now just want to get to university, though I want good grades still, I wanted to have the best grades possible before. Like I said I would have been fretting so much over results right now. Though I will be devastated to fail tomorrow, I have so many options. Exams are a means to an end.
That's just what I want to hit home to people. Though passing is so important, not doing well isn't the end of the world. Exactly the same as getting cancer- not the end of the world. It's how to take to that news that matters, how you continue on. Continuing on, for if I'd known I would be picking up grades tomorrow back in January, it would have been some of the best news I could have heard!!!
So, I urge you all, enjoy tomorrow! No matter what the day brings, think 'I did it!' no matter what the 'it' is.
You can read more of Emily's blogs about the life of a teen coming out of cancer, find out more about her and get involved with her campaigns by visiting www.remissionpossible.org.uk