How do you get over disappointment?

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violqte
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#1
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#1
Hi TSR. This is my first post, I've seen a lot of people give some awesome advice on here, and I am making this post with the impression I may receive some wisdom.

I go to a pretty competitive private school. My close friends are all high-achievers, we're talking all 9's at GSCE. All of them. All A* at A1 level, too.

During Year 10/11 I was facing a long period of bereavement after bereavement. An awful mental state too, where I was constantly faced with panic attacks. Not to mention the global pandemic wasn't kind to any of us either back then.

Yet, I can't help but beat myself up about achieving lower than my friend group despite everything I went through. I know some of you will roll your eyes at the fact I achieved 7A*s yet i'm whining. (Also doesn't help the fact I didn't appeal one of my grades in which I received a 7 but had a 90% overall in the examination).
I'm constantly struggling with this inner voice telling me that I should've done better, that I should've matched their grades, that everyone is disappointed in me. I've tried to tell myself over, and over that there was nothing I could've done and I did my best. (For both GSCE and UCAS predictions)

Another of my friends, who constantly achieved significantly lower than me in every test recently told me she got 9A*s, along with 4A*s UCAS predictions and I was instantly super proud of her. However, I just can't get myself to feel any happier - seeing someone who I was constantly ahead of achieve so much better (Still incredibly happy for HER, though). It makes me feel as though I've failed myself. I really want to believe I did and AM doing well and I WANT to be proud of myself. But I don't know what I can tell myself that would help me rid this awful cloud of disappointment.

I know there are definitely people out there, furrowing their eyebrows at this post - but I would please ask that you put yourself in my shoes, in my competitive situation.

Any advice would be super helpful. Just one of these things that keeps me awake at night.
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tinyperson
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#2
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#2
Perhaps a hobby can help.
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jenny07
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#3
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#3
(Original post by violqte)
Any advice would be super helpful. Just one of these things that keeps me awake at night.
I think it's important to remind yourself that you did the best you could with what you had and that's all any of us can do really. We can't stop life events from happening. It'll kind of always be that way whether it be uni, work, a relationship, family etc. Life just gets in the way sometimes and you try to make it through with everything happening at the same time.

I understand these grades are important to you as it most likely is important for every person your age, but as time passes, your perspective will change and you won't feel as strongly as you do about it. When you get to uni (if you decide on doing that) or when you work a job, no one even really asks about GCSEs unless they may require you to have a grade C (or equivalent). Other things become way more important than grades and you'll most likely forget about how you're feeling right now.

I think the passage of time will help. I'm sure you will feel differently as the years go on, but rest assured, you did do your best and you did very well
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hyacinth77
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#4
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#4
(Original post by violqte)
Hi TSR. This is my first post, I've seen a lot of people give some awesome advice on here, and I am making this post with the impression I may receive some wisdom.

I go to a pretty competitive private school. My close friends are all high-achievers, we're talking all 9's at GSCE. All of them. All A* at A1 level, too.

During Year 10/11 I was facing a long period of bereavement after bereavement. An awful mental state too, where I was constantly faced with panic attacks. Not to mention the global pandemic wasn't kind to any of us either back then.

Yet, I can't help but beat myself up about achieving lower than my friend group despite everything I went through. I know some of you will roll your eyes at the fact I achieved 7A*s yet i'm whining. (Also doesn't help the fact I didn't appeal one of my grades in which I received a 7 but had a 90% overall in the examination).
I'm constantly struggling with this inner voice telling me that I should've done better, that I should've matched their grades, that everyone is disappointed in me. I've tried to tell myself over, and over that there was nothing I could've done and I did my best. (For both GSCE and UCAS predictions)

Another of my friends, who constantly achieved significantly lower than me in every test recently told me she got 9A*s, along with 4A*s UCAS predictions and I was instantly super proud of her. However, I just can't get myself to feel any happier - seeing someone who I was constantly ahead of achieve so much better (Still incredibly happy for HER, though). It makes me feel as though I've failed myself. I really want to believe I did and AM doing well and I WANT to be proud of myself. But I don't know what I can tell myself that would help me rid this awful cloud of disappointment.

I know there are definitely people out there, furrowing their eyebrows at this post - but I would please ask that you put yourself in my shoes, in my competitive situation.

Any advice would be super helpful. Just one of these things that keeps me awake at night.
Firstly, I'd like to commend you for carrying on despite your loss. Sometimes life can get messy and unpredictable but it's how we react to these events that reflect our character the most. You've managed to achieve good grades in your GCSEs (and trust me they're good!) I can understand why you feel like this- you look at your friends, and although you're happy and proud of them, you wonder why that also couldn't be you as well. The best advice I can give is to focus on yourself. Compare yourself from a year ago until now and I can guarantee that you've must've improved in some aspect in that year, no matter how small it is.

This is something that I've struggled with all my life; never feeling like I was good or worthy enough. The school I went to was an ordinary comprehensive single sex school, but the competition was still fierce! There were girls in my year that were able to achieve 11 Grade 9's. Meanwhile, I was only able to get 2 Grade 7's at the most (keep in mind this was the abysmal year of 2020 but it's something that I still think about it from time to time). I've been criticised for my choice of degree, and my lack of certainty in terms of what career I want to go into. I've also been criticised for the A Levels I ended up choosing (Spanish, Classics and Philosophy). Although my experience will differ from yours, I hope that you can see where I'm coming from. If you had asked me two years ago if I felt good about myself, I'd say "No, of course not, I was only able to get 2 7's at most.". Yet, now over the past two years I've developed a sense of inner peace with myself. Don't get me wrong, it's still in the works, but now I can more or less go about my day without torturing myself with awful thoughts about how much I disliked myself. I loved my subjects, and I ended up meeting lovely people who are now some of my closest friends.

Please give it time. Time can be a great healer, and it'll give you the chance to reflect, ponder and then gradually work towards feeling better about yourself.


I wish you all the best
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violqte
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#5
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#5
(Original post by hyacinth77)
Firstly, I'd like to commend you for carrying on despite your loss. Sometimes life can get messy and unpredictable but it's how we react to these events that reflect our character the most. You've managed to achieve good grades in your GCSEs (and trust me they're good!) I can understand why you feel like this- you look at your friends, and although you're happy and proud of them, you wonder why that also couldn't be you as well. The best advice I can give is to focus on yourself. Compare yourself from a year ago until now and I can guarantee that you've must've improved in some aspect in that year, no matter how small it is.

This is something that I've struggled with all my life; never feeling like I was good or worthy enough. The school I went to was an ordinary comprehensive single sex school, but the competition was still fierce! There were girls in my year that were able to achieve 11 Grade 9's. Meanwhile, I was only able to get 2 Grade 7's at the most (keep in mind this was the abysmal year of 2020 but it's something that I still think about it from time to time). I've been criticised for my choice of degree, and my lack of certainty in terms of what career I want to go into. I've also been criticised for the A Levels I ended up choosing (Spanish, Classics and Philosophy). Although my experience will differ from yours, I hope that you can see where I'm coming from. If you had asked me two years ago if I felt good about myself, I'd say "No, of course not, I was only able to get 2 7's at most.". Yet, now over the past two years I've developed a sense of inner peace with myself. Don't get me wrong, it's still in the works, but now I can more or less go about my day without torturing myself with awful thoughts about how much I disliked myself. I loved my subjects, and I ended up meeting lovely people who are now some of my closest friends.

Please give it time. Time can be a great healer, and it'll give you the chance to reflect, ponder and then gradually work towards feeling better about yourself.


I wish you all the best
Thank you. Thank you so much for this post. I cannot tell you how much relief this has brought me already. I am comforted by the fact there is someone out there who can relate, I never realised that I was not alone in this academic "battle". I completely relate to you - I'm also taking Spanish and have been criticised multiple times by my parents too, coming from an Asian heritage, taking Spanish is unprecedented. I'm glad that it gets better, I am so, so glad and I will try my best to think positively.

Again, thank you for your wisdom - I will use this post whenever I feel, again, disappointed in myself.
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violqte
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#6
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#6
(Original post by jenny07)
I think it's important to remind yourself that you did the best you could with what you had and that's all any of us can do really. We can't stop life events from happening. It'll kind of always be that way whether it be uni, work, a relationship, family etc. Life just gets in the way sometimes and you try to make it through with everything happening at the same time.

I understand these grades are important to you as it most likely is important for every person your age, but as time passes, your perspective will change and you won't feel as strongly as you do about it. When you get to uni (if you decide on doing that) or when you work a job, no one even really asks about GCSEs unless they may require you to have a grade C (or equivalent). Other things become way more important than grades and you'll most likely forget about how you're feeling right now.

I think the passage of time will help. I'm sure you will feel differently as the years go on, but rest assured, you did do your best and you did very well
Thank you so much for your reply. I will definitely remember this advice, and I'm really happy that you think I did well. It makes me incredibly happy that somebody is proud of me.
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hyacinth77
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#7
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#7
(Original post by violqte)
Thank you. Thank you so much for this post. I cannot tell you how much relief this has brought me already. I am comforted by the fact there is someone out there who can relate, I never realised that I was not alone in this academic "battle". I completely relate to you - I'm also taking Spanish and have been criticised multiple times by my parents too, coming from an Asian heritage, taking Spanish is unprecedented. I'm glad that it gets better, I am so, so glad and I will try my best to think positively.

Again, thank you for your wisdom - I will use this post whenever I feel, again, disappointed in myself.
I'm glad that I was able to help. I can understand your situation, being black can sometimes be difficult as it would hurt to hear my own family not approving my decisions/interests. But I assure you, it will get better. After all, I was able to get through to them and I'll now be taking a gap year
Last edited by hyacinth77; 4 weeks ago
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Mesopotamian.
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#8
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#8
Comparing yourself to others is the root cause of the problem and it does a lot of damage to our confidence and the way we see ourselves. But it’s important to put your disappointment into context: you experienced unprecedented circumstances that your peers didn’t and this will have had a significant effect on your performance. But turn your way of thinking the other way around: would your friends have been able to you perform as well as you have if they’d been through the same things that you’ve been through?
The struggles you went through helps to build up your life experiences and makes you a stronger and wiser person and that’s a lot more valuable than a couple more extra 9s at GCSE.

Think also about the bigger picture: you’ve still performed above average and will have many many doors open to you in the future. How important is it really to get all 9s and A*s in your exams? Not at all - as long as your grades are good enough to get you to where you want to be (which yours are), then it won’t matter at all in the next 5, 10 years.

Time will help you get over your disappointment but you can hasten the process by inner reflection and adopting a growth mindset.
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violqte
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#9
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#9
(Original post by hyacinth77)
I'm glad that I was able to help. I can understand your situation, being black can sometimes be difficult as it would hurt to hear my own family not approving my decisions/interests. But I assure you, it will get better. After all, I was able to get through to them and I'll now be taking a gap year
Hi, me again! I recently created this account so I'm unable to private message you but I have another question which I think you could really help me with.

How did you manage to get over that feeling that your parents are disappointed in you? In regards to your academic choices, your overall life and pathway. How did you get through to them? Mine repeatedly tell me that they are not disappointed but often say things or nasty comments about recent grades and subjects. It wells up a lot of emotional stress, especially considering I promised them i'd get "10 A*s" and I'd be "Really successful", just sort of, young and dumb things people say to their parents. It pains me that i wasn't able to live up to their standards, or the standards I made for myself. I've often been told by tutors and teachers that I'm too harsh on myself. How do you go about being nicer to yourself all together? Is there something you tell yourself? Please let me know.

Looking forward to your advice.
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hyacinth77
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#10
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#10
(Original post by violqte)
Hi, me again! I recently created this account so I'm unable to private message you but I have another question which I think you could really help me with.

How did you manage to get over that feeling that your parents are disappointed in you? In regards to your academic choices, your overall life and pathway. How did you get through to them? Mine repeatedly tell me that they are not disappointed but often say things or nasty comments about recent grades and subjects. It wells up a lot of emotional stress, especially considering I promised them i'd get "10 A*s" and I'd be "Really successful", just sort of, young and dumb things people say to their parents. It pains me that i wasn't able to live up to their standards, or the standards I made for myself. I've often been told by tutors and teachers that I'm too harsh on myself. How do you go about being nicer to yourself all together? Is there something you tell yourself? Please let me know.

Looking forward to your advice.
Hello again, don't worry about the private message (I probably should've asked first my apologies)

It was really hard, separating my desires/standards to my parents. Especially as they immigrated not once, but TWICE so for a long time I felt twice the amount of pressure to succeed to their standards. I would promise them that I would get good grades, and that I would make them proud. GCSEs in general was just not a good time for me. The friends I had at the time were good, but I felt a little out of place at times. Perhaps it was because we had different interests but I'm glad that I kept on going because the friends I have now are simply lovely. When I got my results two years back, I felt a sense of disappointment (even though I was taken away the chance to actually sit the exams) My mum was especially disappointed with Maths, as I had been having tuition lessons since Year 9 but the highest I was able to get was a 5 (I ended up resitting because I was just not happy with the calculated grade I was given. A Levels ended up being harder, but in a different sense. I was happy because I was doing subjects that I actually liked (even after making a few changes because of timetable changes) but my parents would ask why I chose them, and what I was doing with my life. I was compared a lot of the time to other people (my mum was more guilty of doing this, and it honestly really hurt my feelings). I was happy but guilty because I felt that I wasn't keeping to my promise, and that I was letting them down. It was something that I needed to try and solve. This is a very difficult thing to do but you need to detatch your worth from how your parents perceive you in terms of your worth. No matter what grades you get, or what you choose to do with your life, your parents should always be there for you throughout your life. I realised quite early on in my A Level "career" that I really needed a break from education. My dad was quite happy for me to do this, but my mum was very against it. I remember even after deferring my entry into university, she would ask me to reconsider. I told her that this is something I need to do for myself, and that I WILL make the most of it. We've managed to make an agreement: I'll take the gap year so long as I do something productive (I recently got a job just the other day so I'm very much content) In terms of my goals for the future, I decided that I wanted to study languages. In my case, it wasn't my ability that was the issue but what I would do afterwards (that I still don't know tbh). For me, I want to spend the next year exploring my options: working, volunteering, trying out tutoring and much more. I firmly believe that setbacks such as this will make you a much stronger person, but it can be incredibly emotional. The amount of times I'd secretly cry in my bed because of feeling like such a burden on my family was quite a few, but better times are to come. I've got a university offer (and if I end up no longer wanting to go there I can reapply), I've got a part time job that I'll start soon, I have wonderful friends who care about me, a family, food on the table, a roof on my head etc.

The most vital thing to remember is that you are your own person. Please don't view yourself as a product of your parents because that isn't true. Yes, you are their daughter, but you should be allowed to do what you want to do with your life. Not the life of your parents, or your friends, or your relatives. But yourself.

This was a lot of waffle but I hope it helps
Last edited by hyacinth77; 4 weeks ago
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violqte
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#11
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#11
(Original post by hyacinth77)
Hello again, don't worry about the private message (I probably should've asked first my apologies)

It was really hard, separating my desires/standards to my parents. Especially as they immigrated not once, but TWICE so for a long time I felt twice the amount of pressure to succeed to their standards. I would promise them that I would get good grades, and that I would make them proud. GCSEs in general was just not a good time for me. The friends I had at the time were good, but I felt a little out of place at times. Perhaps it was because we had different interests but I'm glad that kept on going because the friends I have now are simply lovely. When I got my results two years back, I felt a sense of disappointment (even though I was taken away the chance to actually sit the exams) My mum was especially disappointed with Maths, as I had been having tuition lessons since Year 9 but the highest I was able to get was a 5 (I ended up resitting because I was just not happy with the calculated grade I was given. A Levels ended up being harder, but in a different sense. I was happy because I was doing subjects that I actually liked (even after making a few changes because of timetable changes) but my parents would ask why I chose them, and what I was doing with my life. I was compared a lot of the time to other people (my mum was more guilty of doing this, and it honestly really hurt my feelings). I was happy but guilty because I felt that I wasn't keeping to my promise, and that I was letting them down. It was something that I needed to try and solve. This is a very difficult thing to do but you need to detatch your worth from how your parents perceive you in terms of your worth. No matter what grades you get, or what you choose to do with your life, your parents should always be there for you throughout your life. I realised quite early on in my A Level "career" that I really needed a break from education. My dad was quite happy for me to do this, but my mum was very against it. I remember even after deferring my entry into university, she would ask me to reconsider. I told her that this is something I need to do for myself, and that I WILL make the most of it. We've managed to make an agreement: I'll take the gap year so long as I do something productive (I recently got a job just the other day so I'm very much content) In terms of my goals for the future, I decided that I wanted to study languages. In my case, it wasn't my ability that was the issue but what I would do afterwards (that I still don't know tbh). For me, I want to spend the next year exploring my options: working, volunteering, trying out tutoring and much more. I firmly believe that setbacks such as this will make you a much stronger person, but it can be incredibly emotional. The amount of times I'd secretly cry in my bed because of feeling like such a burden on my family was quite a few, but better times are to come. I've got a university offer (and if I end up no longer wanting to go there I can reapply), I've got a part time job that I'll start soon, I have wonderful friends who care about me, a family, food on the table, a roof on my head etc.

The most vital thing to remember is that you are your own person. Please don't view yourself as a product of your parents because that isn't true. Yes, you are their daughter, but you should be allowed to do what you want to do with your life. Not the life of your parents, or your friends, or your relatives. But yourself.

This was a lot of waffle but I hope it helps
Yes, again, thank you so much for your advice. As you mentioned before, it will take time to accept myself as my own person and develop a positive growth mindset, but i'm confident it will happen.

I have a little sister, currently year 9 right now. I think my parents see her as a sort of second attempt at academics, although I know that she really isn't all that interested in academics and her talents lie in extracurriculars. I am motivated to help her get great grades, but her passion really isn't there and it seems unlikely she will match/do better than my grades due to her lack of academic motivation.

I will definitely use what i've learnt through my hardships, mixed in with the advice you've given me on this forum to tell her that she should try her best when the time comes, and even if she doesn't achieve excellently (like most of the incredibly smart people I see on these forums), that it is completely fine.

What else would you advise I tell her, with regards to the "Got to beat the older sister pressure" and the pressure from my parents before she starts her IGSCEs in year 10? I am awful at giving advice off the top of my head, and I need to think about this some time before, as I've always been quite mean to myself. The only thing I said to myself was "You're not good enough, try harder".

P.S. I am really glad I met you on this platform, because I haven't had anyone I could talk to or relate to (particularly at my school) in terms of disappointing grades or parental disappointment.
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hyacinth77
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#12
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#12
(Original post by violqte)
Yes, again, thank you so much for your advice. As you mentioned before, it will take time to accept myself as my own person and develop a positive growth mindset, but i'm confident it will happen.

I have a little sister, currently year 9 right now. I think my parents see her as a sort of second attempt at academics, although I know that she really isn't all that interested in academics and her talents lie in extracurriculars. I am motivated to help her get great grades, but her passion really isn't there and it seems unlikely she will match/do better than my grades due to her lack of academic motivation.

I will definitely use what i've learnt through my hardships, mixed in with the advice you've given me on this forum to tell her that she should try her best when the time comes, and even if she doesn't achieve excellently (like most of the incredibly smart people I see on these forums), that it is completely fine.

What else would you advise I tell her, with regards to the "Got to beat the older sister pressure" and the pressure from my parents before she starts her IGSCEs in year 10? I am awful at giving advice off the top of my head, and I need to think about this some time before, as I've always been quite mean to myself. The only thing I said to myself was "You're not good enough, try harder".

P.S. I am really glad I met you on this platform, because I haven't had anyone I could talk to or relate to (particularly at my school) in terms of disappointing grades or parental disappointment.
Sorry I took so long to reply, I ended up being out and about for most of the day. But now I'm back home and so I'll reply to your post as best as possible!

Funnily enough, I'm also an older sister. Main difference is that I've got three older brothers, so I'm actually the second youngest in the family. Weirdly enough I never really felt any kind of "pressure" in terms of my siblings because I feel that by the time it got to me, it was still pressure but not nearly as much pressure than my eldest brother must've felt when he was sitting his GCSEs and A Levels.

I've always told my younger sister to try her best and that no matter what, whether she passes with flying colours or fails, I will always be proud of her. That will never change, no matter how old we get, or what challenges may come in the way throughout our lives. I'd say to your sister not to worry about beating you, because ultimately it's not a competition. It might act as a source of motivation but the issue with this is that it's a toxic source, not a helpful one. She will be very much aware of your high grades, but maybe one day, sit her down and tell her that her academic success won't equate to how much you care about her because grades may be fickle sometimes, but your bond as sisters will always be there! People put so much value into these GCSEs because for some, without them it isn't worth living because you're nothing without these grades (which is very much concerning, I don't think anyone should be made to feel like that). Quite frankly, she needs to block out the criticism of your parents, that's really the only way around it. I listened to the comments about me being bad at Maths for the entire three year course and it didn't end up doing much good for me. Your parents are there to support you, not berate you or criticise you for making mistakes. If they're not willing to be at least understanding about the stress of exams then I don't really think they're worth listening to. Of course treat them with respect but it's just not nice to be in a bad mental state because of your parents.

I think I'll stop here for now, hopefully this helps.

P.S Honestly I'm rather glad that I was able to meet you as well. A lot of the threads here are about stuff like applying to medicine, Oxford/Cambridge, getting all 9's/A*s etc. It's somewhat the same with school as well. It just feels like there's always some competition going on. For a long time I was always trying to "catch up" (whatever that even means") But honestly as soon as you go "You know what? I'll go at my own pace", life is suddenly so much more peaceful.
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toxicgamage56
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#13
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#13
I empathise. A lot of the issue lies not with the fact that you didn't achieve enough, but with the knowledge that you had the potential to do so much more. However, it's important to note that this is the same situation for many people and I'm sure that there are some super smart people who have achieved sub optimal grades due to inertia but this isn't the case for you so there's nothing to be worried about. Your ceiling is where you strive to be but you don't always achieve it. That's why they say to aim for the moon and land among the stars.
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hyacinth77
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#14
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#14
(Original post by hyacinth77)
Sorry I took so long to reply, I ended up being out and about for most of the day. But now I'm back home and so I'll reply to your post as best as possible!

Funnily enough, I'm also an older sister. Main difference is that I've got three older brothers, so I'm actually the second youngest in the family. Weirdly enough I never really felt any kind of "pressure" in terms of my siblings because I feel that by the time it got to me, it was still pressure but not nearly as much pressure than my eldest brother must've felt when he was sitting his GCSEs and A Levels.

I've always told my younger sister to try her best and that no matter what, whether she passes with flying colours or fails, I will always be proud of her. That will never change, no matter how old we get, or what challenges may come in the way throughout our lives. I'd say to your sister not to worry about beating you, because ultimately it's not a competition. It might act as a source of motivation but the issue with this is that it's a toxic source, not a helpful one. She will be very much aware of your high grades, but maybe one day, sit her down and tell her that her academic success won't equate to how much you care about her because grades may be fickle sometimes, but your bond as sisters will always be there! People put so much value into these GCSEs because for some, without them it isn't worth living because you're nothing without these grades (which is very much concerning, I don't think anyone should be made to feel like that). Quite frankly, she needs to block out the criticism of your parents, that's really the only way around it. I listened to the comments about me being bad at Maths for the entire three year course and it didn't end up doing much good for me. Your parents are there to support you, not berate you or criticise you for making mistakes. If they're not willing to be at least understanding about the stress of exams then I don't really think they're worth listening to. Of course treat them with respect but it's just not nice to be in a bad mental state because of your parents.

I think I'll stop here for now, hopefully this helps.

P.S Honestly I'm rather glad that I was able to meet you as well. A lot of the threads here are about stuff like applying to medicine, Oxford/Cambridge, getting all 9's/A*s etc. It's somewhat the same with school as well. It just feels like there's always some competition going on. For a long time I was always trying to "catch up" (whatever that even means") But honestly as soon as you go "You know what? I'll go at my own pace", life is suddenly so much more peaceful.
I'm not sure if you ended up reading my reply but I really hope it was helpful violqte
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