A-level results day: what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?


As the country’s sixth formers receive their A-level results today, the Bedford Independent has asked some of the town’s educators, leaders and business people what advice they would give to their 18-year-old selves.

We’d like to wish all of this year’s A-level students good luck with their futures, whether it’s at university, college, as an apprentice or as an employee.

Whatever your results, judging by the advice of these former students, the world is your oyster.

“There are so many pathways to follow now, everyone can get to where they want to be, if may just take some more time.

“Don’t rush into anything if you didn’t do as well as expected, don’t accept the first University offer you are made if you go through clearing, take your time.

“Unleash your motivation and aspiration for your next steps, not anyone else’s. Remember you may have five to seven different career pathways over your lifetime, so every qualification helps.” – Kirsten Bernard, Director of Sixth Form at St Thomas More School

Ian Pryce and Bedford College Charter
Ian Pryce CBE with Bedford College’s Official Charter.

“Listen to the advice of people you trust and admire but do what you want to do, don’t do something to please others or because it is expected.

“It is a very emotional and important day but it only determines where you start the next phase of your life, YOU determine where it goes after that.

“Oh and say thanks to your teachers, you won’t realise how much they are rooting for you (some hide it well) and they are as nervous and excited as you are.” – Ian Pryce, CEO and principal of the Bedford College Group, which includes The Bedford Sixth Form where nearly 600 study for A-levels

Alistair Burt
Alistair Burt MP. Pic credit: Chris McAndrew

“I can still recall the trepidation and the excitement of receiving my A-level results. Well done on all your hard work up until now. Let me tell you that the world is bigger than you think.

“This is a first step, but you have more to do, and be ready for the unexpected. “The career destination you are thinking of today may not be where you end up, so be prepared to be flexible.

“And have a good look round now at paths you might not have thought of, like apprenticeships, as there are new opportunities all the time. Good luck.” – Alistair Burt MP

Hannah Paine
épanoui’s Hannah Paine

“Have a plan to go out and celebrate with your mates come what may because friendships are for life & are just as important as your exam results.

“Try not to put too much pressure based on what happens today, life has a funny way of surprising you.” – Hannah Paine, jewellery designer & founder of épanoui on Mill Street

Mohammad Yasin MP in Parliament
Mohammad Yasin MP in Parliament

“I was educated in my home town of Mirpur in Kashmir, and the qualifications were slightly different, but I would imagine the feelings are much the same.

“I’ve watched my children collect their results, so I know what an important day it is. For students hoping for particular grades to secure a University place it will feel like there is so much riding on those grades.

“Remember though, whatever grades you achieved there are always options. If your results take you down a path you hadn’t expected, be proud and optimistic. It’s still the start of an adventure.” – Mohammed Yasin MP

Mayor Dave Hodgson

“Whatever your results, don’t panic. Look at your options quickly, but remember there are lots of options and opportunities.

“Your A-levels are important, but they are a step on a journey not a destination in itself.” – Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford

Boyds of Bedford
Tom & Jessica Answer

“I got a B, E and D for my A-levels which is poetic as I spent most of the time I should have been working in bed. I was disappointed, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.

“The advice I would give myself is that you have to play the long game and think about where you want to be in 10 or 20 years, not just next year.

“If your results don’t allow you to take the obvious route to you destination, take small, incremental steps in that direction and you will end up there eventually.

“I will follow this advice myself now when I have worked out what I want to do.” – Tom Answer, co-owner of Boyds of Bedford & The Vintage Suit Hire Co.

The Bedford Independent will be reporting on A-Level results throughout the day. If you or your school has any achievements of interest, please email news@BedfordIndependent.co.uk

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