Hello, My name is Marnie Bain, I am currently in my last year of 6th form, Year 13.
School has never been one of my favourite things. Teachers would describe me as the loud and chatty one in the class. It started to become my label and in most lessons I would mess about. I thought I was being “cool” and “funny” about it, but when I got my grades back in Year 11 after my GCSE exams the joke then wasn’t so funny. I hardly did any revision for my exams, I thought I could just wing it.
I did early entry Maths in the December of Year 11, which I was determined to pass so that I knew if I failed it in the real thing it would be okay because I would already have my C. I worked the most I think I ever had for any exam. When finally I did the exam and felt like I had done it, but no – when my result came through I got a D.
When I got my actual results came back I thought they were fine, no need to worry… I ended up getting 2 B’s 4 C’s and 4 Ds, one of the Ds being Maths again.
This is when my attitude changed, when I realized how badly I did do and how much I wished I could go back and put effort into my exam and change my grades.
I decided that I was going to go back to school and start Sixth Form and pass my A-levels, as well as having to resist my Maths.
Before going back to school we had a meeting to make sure that we could still do the A-levels which we wanted to do, my second hurdle then came around when I was told I couldn’t do RS as I did not get a B in GCSE. I then felt really disappointed in myself and that was the final straw. I knew that I had to pick up my game, as I never wanted to get that feeling again of failing.
Things were changing at home too – my mum got engaged, we moved to Dorking where I live in a house with my mum, older brother and two younger sisters, as well as my mum’s husband and his four children! Yes.. I am now a part of a family of 10!
We moved schools and houses. When I started my new school I was told I could do RS if I wanted to! I was over the moon, however since the course was already 6 weeks in, it took a lot of time to catch up on the work. However, I was determined to take it.
We also moved churches. Our church became a big help to us, people made friends with us and supported my family. I had people I knew I could go to if I needed help. Church is a family – a community – and I realised this when moving. People who were strangers were offering to help us, I never witnessed this kind of help until now. When things get tough, I’m not the type of person to ask for help. I never like to rely on people, but school got tough catching up on work so I used to ask God for help, for some kind of strength and motivation to carry on when I thought I couldn’t. I thought he didn’t listen to me at first but once I had caught up on work I missed I realised he was listening which gave me motivation to carry on!
In this time I had my first Maths retake coming up. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t do as much work as I should have for this exam either. Maths I didn’t like so I didn’t want to do it, so when my results came through, I had again failed my Maths… It was the biggest kick in the stomach and simply made me dislike Maths more. My parents decided it was a good idea to get me a tutor, and I felt some improvement for it. I decided I was going to try again for my next exam, which was coming up in June. This time I revised so much for it (as much as I couldn’t stand Maths the idea of having to redo another 6 months of it made me even more determined to pass). So along with my AS Levels I was revising Maths again.
On top of all of this I was trying to make time to make new friendships and learn how to live in a house of 10 people, so as you can guess there weren’t many places for quiet to get on with work. So most nights I stayed after school with teachers helping to sort it all out.
Working at home and revising became a part of day to day life, which in Year 11 I had never dreamed of doing. I started feeling a sense of achievement in the fact I would understand and feel more confident about my work and thinking I would be able to pass these exams.
Anyway exam season came around and on study leave I never left my kitchen table from about 9am- 10pm I would revise, make notes in the day then about 9pm would make a hot chocolate, sit on my sofa and go over all my notes and I found that would stick in my head long enough ready for the exam the next day.
Personally I would find it easier to remember a topic before the exam if I spent the whole day previously revising so it was fresh in my head, and that that seemed to have worked, for the first time I came out of my exams feeling good about them and proud of myself, as well as retaking for the 4th time my Maths GCSE.
After my exams had finished those weeks waiting for my results were so terrifying, trying desperately to not think about them and have a good summer was tough with it always being in the back of your head.
I was away on holiday when the results came out and decided that I didn’t want to know my results, because if they were bad like my GSCEs were, it was going to ruin my holiday and break me.
However the day came up and I was so nervous and I just needed to know. My head of Sixth Form emailed me my results. When I saw his email my stomach dropped, when I opened it and saw all my work had paid off and I had done better than I thought, I started tearing up because it made me think if I put more work into my GCSEs I know I could have done better. My mum looked at me and I could tell she was proud, making all my hard work worth it!
I was now only waiting for my Maths, they were coming out two days later, and again I just needed to know. Finally my email came through and after 4 times of trying I had finally passed my Maths! The weight lifted off my shoulders was enormous.
Two years ago I felt like I failed my mum, my teachers and myself, I didn’t know what to do and I was sooo embarrassed…
Now I am in my last year of Sixth Form looking for University, and I know that my results for my AS’s I couldn’t have worked harder on, so I have no regrets like still do with my GCSEs.
I have now applied for my universities and have 5 offers, including one being an unconditional, an unconditional for the university I want to go to. So many people ask me: “why are you doing work when you have an unconditional?” My answer is: if I don’t like uni or it’s just not for me, and I decide to leave… then have rubbish A-levels, it will not help me to find something else to do. So no matter if I have an easy answer or way out, I’m determined to still achieve the best I can, because it will show not just everyone else but me too, exactly how far and well I can do something.
Therefore, if there is any advice I can give you and that I have experienced first hand it is this: the feeling of disappointment is nothing I’d like to experience anytime soon if I can help it, and neither should you. School is one of the best experiences of our lives and as much as I dislike the early mornings and homework, the thought that my school years are coming to an end does upset me, so my advice to you is to have fun! And don’t have regrets!