It is one of those days which we all remember, for good or bad. But how much do GCSE results really matter?
You can be forgiven for thinking the grades you receive one Thursday morning will determine the rest of your life. After all, it is what we are taught to believe. However in his video, Why GCSEs are NOT THE END OF THE ROAD Ibrahim Mohammed breaks down why it is all about your mind-set and how you tackle the aftermath that matters more than the result itself.
He starts off the video by saying “I do understand why GCSEs are so important and why we all find them important”, however he goes on to explain why “GCSE’s were the worst years of my life.” He chats about how those years were riddled with confusion as he was trying to come to terms with the complications of being a teenager, something we all go through growing up.
Coming from an ethnic minority background can be tough regardless of what generation immigrant you are but being the first child in his family to go through the education system meant Ibz did not have the support from his parents that others may have had. It wasn’t because they didn’t care but because they didn’t have experience with the system.
This, along with the difficulties he faced during his teenage years, meant he was a little behind. “I didn’t know what the hell GCSEs were and they started in Year 10”. His attitude at the time was very different to the attitude he had towards his A levels and degree. He says he didn’t revise and his focus wasn’t on his studies but rather on “how do I not get harassed today?” It is not easy trying to focus on your studies when you are being subjected to bullying and harassment.
It turned out he has a natural aptitude for learning. It was then that he noticed the impact those letters had. He was advised by his sixth form he wouldn’t be able to take A Levels and would have to consider alternatives.
Luckily, through the support of friends’ parents, he was given a shot at taking his A Levels but left to take “half a gap year” to do an internship. This is when his mindset changed. He worked hard and he found the harder he worked the higher his predicted grades became.
Even with this knowledge, there will still something at the back of his mind telling him he would not be accepted to university. Then, in what is probably our favourite part of the video, displaying his trademark Ibz Mo sass, he looked around the room and said, “Am I not at Cambridge University now?” Damn right!
His story is not unique and shows how GCSE results, although important, are not the be all and end all of your academic career. What is more important is your reaction to those letters and how you move on from them. As Ibz said “remember it is not over. Now, I would say, the journey begins.”