A letter to the 18 year old me on A-Level results day

Dear Jo,

Right now you’re feeling pretty crap. So much was expected of you – and you expected so much of yourself – and although you’re putting a brave face on it I know that inwardly you feel like you’ve failed and let everyone down. You didn’t. You really didn’t. I know you were predicted 4 A Grades and the AABC you got feels horrible but I just want to tell you that you did brilliantly. If I could give you a hug (wouldn’t that be weird?) I would.

You got the best grades of all the girls at school and the second-best grades overall. The local paper took your picture. Everyone is so pleased for you. Cambridge was always going to be tough and with the benefit of twelve years of hindsight I can tell you that your results were meant to be. You’re the first person in your entire family to go to university – that’s awesome! Don’t ever forget that.

You’re going to have a great time at Reading University. You’re going to be so frightened to start with and you’re going to make some great decisions and some terrible ones. I’ll be honest – for the first two years you’re going to make some unbelievably bad choices. I know you find that hard to believe because you think you’re really clever and wise and I don’t want to spoil things for you (because you have to experience this stuff yourself) but just know that however bad it may seem (and it’ll get pretty bloody bad for a time) you will get yourself out of it and do really well.

Not only are you going to get a great degree, you’re also going to do a Masters! Although you think you’re never going to get a boyfriend because no-one could ever possibly want you, you have one or two (or three…). Just when you decide that all men are horrid and that you’re going to stay young, free and single for a good few years you’re going to meet someone totally awesome and fall hopelessly in love with him. (he’s going to wear massive t-shirts with holes in and have terrible hair to start with but stick with it…and ‘guide’ him gently towards a make-over, ok? 😉

Anyway, I’m not going to give away everything but by the time you’re 30 you’ll pretty much have it all. You’re going to be a working Mum (being a Mummy is going to totally blow your mind and there’s a nice little surprise – or two to look forward to) and wife and have a pretty decent career – in a field that might surprise you. That’s probably more than you could ever imagine at this point.

Just a few more things:

  1. Don’t ever drink cider
  2. Don’t eat too many kebabs from the van
  3. Stick to your motto: work hard, play harder
  4. Buy some new clothes – you DO deserve to look nice and you don’t have to look like Saffy from Ab Fab’s uglier sister. You’ve got a lovely figure. Don’t hide it under baggy, shapeless clothes.
  5. Sort your hair out. That fringe really isn’t working for you and the bob makes you look 65.
  6. Get some nice, small glasses. You look like a crazy owl.

That’s all I have to say really. Chin up and have a great time at Reading. You worked so hard to get there and sacrificed so much. Now I want you to go on and do great, interesting things.

Lots of love and hugs,

Jo (19 August 2010)


One thought on “A letter to the 18 year old me on A-Level results day

  1. That’s a lovely post : )
    And makes me reminisce about my 18 year old self in bad glasses and bad clothes, about to embark on the great university journey. It was the making of me… and I suppose I even got a degree out of it as well : )

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