Results day is an exciting day, but for many it is equally nerve-wracking, emotional and overwhelming.
Whilst the exams are over and done with and we cannot control the outcome, we can control how we approach results day and how we process the results themselves.
In the lead up to the big day, it’s important to keep two words in mind: perspective and resilience. By keeping perspective and maintaining resilience in the face of uncertainty, we can approach results day with the knowledge that we are strong enough to cope with anything that comes our way.
With that in mind, here are four ways to process exam results.
Whatever your results are, and whatever your emotional response may be, it’s important to approach the situation with a sense of acceptance. Recognising that everything comes in waves, and this is one such wave. Knowing our results – whatever they may be – is helpful information that we can use to prepare us for our next step in life.
Sometimes, when we’re faced with difficult information or an overwhelming emotional response, it can be tempting to repress the feelings or thoughts that arise. This is a protective response, but ultimately unhelpful as the emotions and thoughts continue to bubble under the surface and become harder to ignore.
If we can acknowledge the situation and, with compassion, accept how we are feeling, we can process the emotions and news in a healthy way, and grant ourselves permission to move on with our lives.
Grant yourself time
No matter how defining results may seem, recognise that nothing in this world is permanent.
Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines of Buddhism, it is believed that impermanence permeates all aspects of life and is used as a motivator to improve quality of life. Hold onto the knowledge that emotions will pass and any pain or difficulty will end. As the acronym goes:
Our modern lives are extremely busy and filled with information. As such, it can be very hard to pause and process our lived experience and allow our emotions to pass through us. If we grant ourselves the time to do this, we can recognise just how healing time can be.
Norman Fischer writes that:
“To feel the pain of impermanence and loss can be a profoundly beautiful reminder of what it means to exist.”
More than anything, it’s vitally important to feel: feel your emotions, give emotions expression, allow them to move through your body.
Linking back to the importance of time and acceptance above, it is perfectly okay (and normal!) to be upset or disappointed in the moment if that is how you feel.
Feeling our feelings and remembering that things pass with time supports our emotional growth and resilience. You are allowed to cry, you are allowed to be angry if that is how you feel. It is only through the experience of challenge that we develop resilience, and it is only through allowing our emotional experience that we begin to work with ourselves in the process of healing.
Results day is not a solitary experience, it’s something that most of us experience in life and go on to remember well. As such, you are not alone.
Despite how intense the emotions may be, make sure to keep communicating with your family and friends – those special people that you trust to hold you through difficult times. Your people will want to know how you’re doing and, if you’re having a difficult time, they will want to help you through it.
Naming your emotions and fears can help reduce the intensity of them, as their expression gives them space – the opposite of keeping them repressed and squashed down inside you.
Whatever happens, it’s important to remember that things will be okay. We create our own paths in life, and so if things don’t turn out the way you want them to, there will be another route to go down. Things will work out.