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How to Cope with Disappointment

It happens. You aim high, but the reality falls below expectations for various reasons. It’s not easy and it's definitely not enjoyable.

You have people constantly asking you about your results; not telling them almost immediately suggests you didn’t do so well, whilst the sympathetic or sometimes pitying looks you receive after disclosing your results just aren’t helpful.

However, try not to let others and their judgements affect you. Don’t worry about how you might appear, or if your reputation has changed based on your results. If anything, you do not need to share your results with everyone, whether they are what you were hoping for or not.

Allow yourself to feel disappointed. Whether this is through talking to someone, writing down your feelings, or crying waterfalls, it is natural to feel emotions, especially when there is such a big build-up. Being disappointed initially, no matter what your results are, is okay.

Accept your results. The exams have happened, and apart from remarks, there is little you can do. So best accept what you have (not necessarily easy), and think about how to adapt and move forward. What other courses/universities/schools are available? There will be more than one way to get to where you want, even if it does take more time than originally planned. Plus these disappointments will make you stronger, and help you bounce back.

Value your hard work or be realistic. There’s the saying ‘Aim for the moon, and even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars’, which I think is often apt. Even if your grades weren’t necessarily what you expected, appreciate your time and dedication and don’t let yourself think it was all wasted. Knowing how to work hard and accept bumpy rides in life is a good lesson. Plus sometimes exams just don’t go your way, despite all your efforts, and it can’t be helped. (Trust me on this one!)

Go for a walk/distract yourself/keep busy to help move on. Dwelling on things often leads to downwards spirals, so I find exercising, reading, watching films, music, going out with friends/family etc. are all enjoyable ways of taking my mind off things. Even chores and deep-cleaning your room may help distract you, as obsessing over results is not ideal. I know that those results mean a lot, but they are done and there is not much you can do to change them.

Importantly, remember that these results do not define you or the rest of your life! Despite the great importance placed on these results, and the potential consequences, such as school or university places, always remember: you are so much more than these letters on the page.

T xx

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