Sunday, 22 August 2010

Uni-quely stressful

There’s been so much going on in the past week or so that I haven’t found time to write about anything and the event that consumed us all to a huge degree was, of course, the dreaded A level results.

TS wants to do a History & Politics degree.  He had an offer from Southampton Uni which was AAB – grades that were well within his capability.  He took (unsurprisingly) History, Politics and Economics for A level.  When the results came through, he had AAC – A’s in both History and Politics (the Pol mark being a shade off an A*) and the C was in Economics.  He was a bit taken aback but, as it turns out, everyone who took Economics at his school had (in his words) “a bit of a shocker” with some people getting U’s and even the star of the show, who had sailed through with straight A’s up until now, only managing to achieve a B.

He waited for something to come through on UCAS from the Uni but soon enough the suspense was too much and he rang the Humanities Department.  They were very sorry but they wouldn’t give him the place on those grades – disappointing but not entirely unexpected.  “However,” said the woman on the end of the phone, “don't worry – the School of Social Sciences is really interested in taking you.”  Music to our ears!  So we waited.  And waited.  Eventually, unable to bear it any longer, he rang the School of Social Sciences.  “Don’t worry,” they said soothingly (huh), “we’re really busy allocating places and we have loads of people to ring.  We’ll get back to you before the end of the day.”

The end of the day came and went but the phone call never materialised.  “Never mind,” we reasoned, “we’ll start ringing at 8.30 tomorrow when the lines open.”

So he did.  Over and over – making sure they had his name and all relevant numbers.  He was told he had to speak to the Admissions Tutor who wasn’t in yet.  11a.m. came and went and said Tutor still hadn’t rocked up to work – on the day following A level results??  How disinterested can you be?

Eventually, at around midday, TS managed to make contact with this guy.  “Oh yeah, we’ve allocated all the places,” was his offhand response, “sorry – we never got round to ringing you.”

Well, thanks a ****ing bunch!  TS was gutted – and rightly so.  It’s one thing not making the grades you required, but it’s quite another to be mislead on such a grand scale.  To add insult to injury, Southampton didn’t “get round” to releasing his UCAS application for another 6 hours either, so he couldn’t obtain confirmation of his insurance offer although that has now, thankfully, come through.

I realise that I am in full Outraged Mother mode and that TS is just a name on a sheet of paper to them – why would they care?  But he is an 18 year old kid, about to embark on three of the most important years of his life, when he will be living away from home for the first time, coping with loads of new stresses and experiences and this sort of arrogant thoughtlessness starts him off on the wrong foot.

I hope he realises just how proud of him we are – he has achieved fantastic results and I really hope he is proud of himself – hard to tell with teenage boys – despite the disappointment of Southampton’s attitude.  As a close friend remarked, their behaviour says a lot about the department and it is probably a good thing ultimately that he won’t be going there.

He is fairly disgruntled about having to settle for his insurance choice, having gone off the idea in the interim between accepting it and the actual results day.  Another side effect of Southampton’s delay was that anything half decent on Clearing had been snapped up by the time Southampton released him too.

I have tried to persuade him that everything happens for a reason – funny how many people have said the same when they’ve heard to story.  For example, the Shah was supposed to do Opthalmics but (without boring you with the details) landed up instead at a Uni in Wales on a degree course which included a year out working in Industry.  Had he not had that year, he wouldn’t have come for interview at the company I was working at and I wouldn’t have run upstairs to my boss at the time and told her that she must take “the pretty Indian one”.

And the rest is History.  And Politics....


  1. What a bummer. Poor L. I think this must be just about the worst year for Uni places. Where will he go now?

  2. Mme Marmite - It is a right bummer isn't it - and I thought GCSEs were stressful. Hagh! . Hopefully he will go to Reading but he is currently in the Slough of Despond (ha ha) so a Gap year is a this space.

  3. Dear Prernatutors (how do you pronounce that?!) thank you for your kind comments. Its nice to know that my general foul language and vile temper haven't scared the whole population away! CQ.

  4. Excellent as always

  5. Thank you Anonymous - I aim to please - it's just that this episode left me a few more grey hairs! CQ

  6. I've been through the A level stuff myself this year, stressful stressful stuff. I hope he gets somewhere he's happy with.


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