Worried about exam success or failure? Remember you’re in it for the long haul


In this year more than ever, there will be students who have not got the grades they were hoping for, or deserved, and it will be a hugely disappointing and difficult time for them right now.

I know how that feels, as I’ve been there.  And if I could go back and speak to my 18 year old self,  I would tell her this – your worth is not based on one exam or piece of paper.

I have also worked with young adults and employers via employability training and apprenticeship recruitment for a number of years, and am all too familiar with the worries and perceived doubts that young people can have in their abilities, based on their exam grades.

But please remember that an employer will see value in the skills, attributes and achievements that you make throughout your career, not just from one summer.

How you deal with this situation gives a potential employer a pretty good indication of your aptitude to build resilience, handle disappointment and frustration and shows you are able to adapt plans and ideas to get a job done.  Even when, especially when, the original plan goes awry.  Isn’t this what we are required to do all the time at work anyway? These are vital skills in any workplace.

Building this attitude is a far greater lesson than seeking blame or woe.  And will get you to where you ultimately want to be a lot quicker too.

Of course the economic climate will also be a potential hurdle for those entering the job market in the coming months (possibly years?), but remember, there will be numerous setbacks and hurdles to overcome throughout your career.  There will be those who are not so fortunate and businesses that will struggle, but there will also be those which thrive.  It’s been suggested that businesses which start during a recession are far more likely to still be in business after their first 12 months because they have already had to anticipate problems and operate in difficult times.  Did you know that a number of global corporations such as IBM and Microsoft were started during financial downturns?  Success is still possible, if you are prepared to meet the challenges.

Yes, the situation sucks and it might not be what you had planned. But this could be the start of living through one of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn.  This is where you build those strengths. And it will give you a perfect scenario to discuss in your next competency based interview.

So go boldly. You are just getting started.

(Photo credit:  @pickaasbyilse via Unsplash)

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