This is the first of the Letters from Your Sisters Series. Every week for four weeks, you’ll see posts from four different people sharing their after A’level Exam experience and stories. You’ll get to know what they’ve gone through a little bit and hopefully, In sha Allah, gain some beneficial advice and knowledge after reading their stories.
Today’s guest blogger (your very first ‘sister,’ hehehe) is Revienne!
A little something about me: For starters, let’s just call me Revienne. I’m 18, indecisive most of the time, self-diagnosed OCD sufferer (ha!), very talkative at times, a fan of anime, a lover of celestial beauty, Greek Mythology and I love cats (and other animals too of course heheh). I’m a first year scholar at UBD, this is my first semester too! I’m a Unibridge graduate. I plan to major in Biological Science!
A little backstory on my educational journey from a few years ago: Back during my 6th form days, I initially took 3 sciences and Maths. Trust me when I say I had a hard time picking two Science subjects, mainly because I do not know what I was really really interested in and what I wanted to focus on. Even after lessons start, I still pondered over my decision countless of times (and it was torture because there were so much to think of; it was interest vs future vs omgshouldidothisornot). After a week, I found that Physics wasn’t for me, but I thought to myself I need it because I love astronomy. I also thought I might not be able to cope with all three Sciences so my second choice was to drop Biology (I didn’t even think about dropping Chemistry at that time. If I remember correctly, it was because I like Bio and Physics the least). I did Istikharah and believe me I’m grateful I did. I ended up dropping Physics and guess what? I developed an interest for Biology the most after that! I can’t imagine what would have happened if I dropped it. What happened to astronomy you ask? Yes, I’m still interested in it. However, I decided it is not something I would want to focus on for my studies. So for the Muslims, when in doubt, please, Istikharah.
I didn’t get my desired A Level results, the biggest downfall of my life. Tears, regrets, and days filled with ‘I should have…’, ‘If only I…’ and ‘Can we turn back time…’ came after that. I suffered, I really did. I experienced a great mental setback. Over time I lost confidence in all that I do. I doubt myself every time I make a decision. I grew pessimistic each day. I spend more time alone, locked inside my room (I always did too but that time it felt different. It was pure isolation).The worst part: The reaction I get from my family, relatives and teachers. Disappointment was clearly written on their faces. I felt as though I could never see their faces again. I felt as though I failed everyone. I failed myself. I’ve disappointed my parents… The looks on their faces… their reaction… and everything after that was truly painful to bear. How else should they’ve felt? How else should I’ve felt? I was constantly one of the most competitive students since kindergarten up to being one of the best students during O level. Getting bad results for A Level was not something they (and myself) would ever expect from me (also especially when a lot of my friends got outstanding results).
It was not easy, I tell you. I didn’t get enough reassurance from anybody. I could not even push myself back up. It was as if there are these clouds of negativity around me that make me see everything negatively. It was probably the worst time of my life. I only get ‘congratulations’ from a few people, different from during the times I received my result for my previous big exams. It was truly painful, it was frustrating and I could still feel it now. It left something deep inside me, hence I am reminded of it very well. I lost my reputation. I felt so left behind that I thought it was over for me.
At some point, I know I had to move on. To ease me in making post-A level-decisions, I narrowed down my choices to where my interest is at. I ended up choosing the bridging programme because I really want to further my studies in Biology there. It wasn’t an easy choice to be honest (even though it was like… one out of two choices) , because the fee, to me, was quite expensive. However, my parents agreed with me. They were with me no matter what my choice was and that was more than enough to motivate me. In the midst of all the sadness, I decided to retake my A Level (the other choice) because I thought I have to give myself a second chance.
Unfortunately, unforeseen events happened and I failed to study hard. In the end I received the exact same grades like the previous one. I felt guilty beyond words. But at that time, the bridging programme started. Instead of beating myself up and doing the exact same mistake I always do (making myself feel worse), I was determined to do my very best no matter what, and I did.
During the Unibridge Programme semester, I met another person who was in the same condition as I was: someone whose greatest downfall was during A Level. I believe she wasn’t the only one too. It was a relief to find someone who knows how you feel. I thought to myself, I’m not the only one fighting this kind of battle. Knowing I wasn’t all alone, was very reassuring.
I passed the exams with a GPA of 4.17. I didn’t know how the results work but I was told it was quite high. I was satisfied with my grades too! Though I didn’t get the reaction I thought I would from people, it’s fine. I thought to myself ‘this is like… something to make up for the last failure’. But I believe it wasn’t enough. In my mind it was… not that much of something to make even myself very proud. But I was, a little. So yes, I will study really well from now on. Perhaps one day… I would make my parents and myself really proud again.
University life is far different than how it was back during A Level. Beside the general changes like no uniforms, having the timetable to be decided by us (because we choose our modules) and not having to be at campus all day, there is one difference that I can truly feel. My friends, especially my tiny circle of best friends, they are not around me. All of us went our separate ways. Some remain though, I do still see familiar faces around but it FEELS different. It’s hard to put it into words but I feel a bit lost at times. It’s usual to walk in the hallways and say hi to almost everyone and feel like you actually belong there back during 6th form. However now, I don’t really experience that. Everyone and everything feels… foreign (?) to me. I miss the feeling I get back in 6th form. That feeling where you just feel like ‘yes, this is my place’. I did make friends and I do feel more comfortable with them each day, but it’s just… different. I keep in contact with my best friends. I think it is really important to do so.
The types of assignments are different too. Some modules rely only on coursework, while for others, there are examinations. Lectures can feel like they last all day sometimes (always have something to keep you awake and focused). The library was my nest during my previous semester but now I’ve found somewhere else to do my work. I feel like I have to have a familiar place to go to at all times. Also, the assignment due dates can be quite far away, but don’t try to slack or else you will have a load of work waiting for you. Remember to avoid doing anything, be it assignments/revisions at the last minute (although I believe a lot of us do that). I admit sometimes I do that too, but I’m trying to do things earlier. I always keep in mind that unexpected events can happen anytime. It might be hard to do everything the way I want because there are certain assignments that require me to be in groups and it can be a challenge to match my schedule with the other students but I always try to avoid last-minute work. Because not only it affects the quality of our work, it also affects us in a way. (Important note: seriously, avoid last minute work. It’s difficult but still, try. Organization is very important. It can play a huge part in determining your success. Doing things at the last-minute can mean putting your success on the line).
Life never went exactly the way I wanted. There are always changes (LOTS OF THEM I TELL YOU), but that’s okay. It’s a redirection, whether it is towards the same goal or not. I believe that Allah’s plan, is far better than my desires and my dreams. But that does not mean I should not do my best in everything. There is always hikmah behind everything that has happened, that is happening now and that will be happening. That, I strongly believe. Things happen for reasons. Reasons we might not be able to comprehend now. But always, always believe in Allah. And no matter what happens, be the best you can be, pray and let Allah handle the rest. That is what I’ve learned.
To everyone that has finished their A Levels, congratulations to all of you. You’ve fought well! Special note to those who didn’t get their desired results: A Level is not easy, your efforts are worth being proud of. Congratulations to all of you! You managed to face a really huge challenge. Take it slow. Don’t blame yourself but rather acknowledge where you did wrong, improve from there and try to not repeat the same mistake. It might feel like everything is falling apart now, it might feel like you can’t go on but remember, do not ever stop taking even the tiniest step forward (even retaking the exam is considered a step forward too!). Do something but don’t rush yourselves. You might feel left behind but remember, everyone has their own unique journey. Yours do not necessarily have to be exactly the same as those you are with. Keep in mind that failure is a part of your journey. Failure helps you to learn. I understand how devastated you feel but never ever let anything, especially your mind, chain you from taking even the tiniest step forward. Talk to someone. That might help too. Eventually you will realize that you’re not in a race, you’re on a journey, your own journey. To those who got their desired results: Well done! Keep up your effort and don’t stop improving yourself every single day.
I wish you all the best. Never give up, all of you!
I’m on the road to become a better person each day, to become someone who thinks positive regardless the obstacle I face. I’m trying to find myself again.
At the end of the day, if we don’t believe we can do it, we won’t be able to. May Allah ease everything that we do.
And there you go, the first ever post for Letters From Your Sisters Series! Many thank yous to Revienne for taking the time to write this post. In sha Allah, her story comes with a strong message that failing is part of life, everyone has their own journey and Allah’s plan is the best above all plans. Hehe.
Do come by next week for the second letter for this series, hehe!
Much love, Iween. xo. ♡