‘YOU will be fine.’ The response of everyone who found out about my Cambridge offer. ‘You’re going to be fine. You will get in.’
I didn’t. Grades fair but disappointing. Sympathetic, albeit vaguely patronising, letter from Cambridge apologising for any disappointment that their rejection of me might have caused (‘bin it; they can do one’ mutters mum) and voilà– my fate is sealed. Manchester it is.
The relief was immediate. I had thought for so long that it had been exactly what I had wanted. The image that I was going for was party-girl-cum-intellectual. Alas, my solely party-girl grades stood resolutely before me and reminded me that whenever I get cocky about my life, life gets fed up with me and shrinks my head. Touché life, sing the congregation.
But, in any case, one thing I am not great with is exam stress. This is something that I overlooked when I was being constantly reassured by my school that I was ‘exactly what Oxbridge wanted’. I always think that I am right about everything and once read a book on feminism, if that is what they mean. But other than that, I am in essence a self-assured 18 year old who once snogged two boys in a club because she thought they were the same person, and brought a sketch pad to her GCSE maths lessons because she had already filled up her planner with drawings. This, to me, is a standard adolescent female. Oxbridge tuts and turns away.
My point is, as it turns out, I did not want Cambridge half as much as I thought I did. Sometimes it is alright to be average. Sometimes it is alright to want the balance between intelligence and, well, fun. Sometimes, if the decider of your entire future is a single Wednesday morning exam that goes wrong, it just is not worth the bother.
Sometimes. But not always.
Some things are worth trying for again and again. If you truly want it, you’ll do it and keep going. Your Oxbridge might be to work abroad, or buy a cat, or get the girl, or raise money for a cause. The elite intellectualism is a bit of a Marmite one for me. This is because, as I have recently come to realise, my Oxbridge is to be happy.