Didn’t Get The A-Level Grades? Here’s How To Win At Life Anyway

We’re always told that A-levels are going to define us and our futures. And sure, they’re important. But there’s more to life. If you didn’t get the grades you were after, it doesn’t mean you have to crumble and fall into a job you can’t stand. Far from it.

There’s so much to do. More experiences to conquer. Take the extra time, and go your own way. Who knows where you could be by the time your friends have recovered from their first bout of freshers flu.

Trust us: A-levels aren’t everything. Here’s how to bounce back.

Take a year out and travel

Ready to go globetrotting? Some people would like you to think that the best learning is done in class, with a textbook and an attendance register. Yet there’s a whole world out there. Why not see it and pick up lessons from new cultures, backpackers, and beach bartending jobs?

Independence doesn’t have to be a uni squat with refried beans on the hob. It can be mixing cocktails under the Hawaiian night sky. Selling a shoe for a cab ride in New Delhi. Maybe busking around Norway until your guitar strings snap.

Apply for Love Island

What does winning at life look like? £50,000 and a partner who breaks Instagram with every swimwear post is a good start. So you might as well say goodbye to good taste for a while and apply to Love Island. The cash, exposure and romantic gains are worth it, as long as you hold onto your IQ points. It’s only eight weeks in a villa after all – enough time to fake a smooch or fifty.

Start working on that gym routine. Turn your abs into a steel cage. Flaunt your new body on social with diet, training or makeup tips. Then bulk, tone, repeat and reach out to ITV. Who knows? By the end of the year, you could be knocking up protein shakes on Saturday Kitchen, or live streaming your new marriage.

Become your own boss

Don’t like being told what to do? Neither do the world’s best entrepreneurs. So instead of jumping through hoops to land a dream job, make your own: be an entrepreneur. If you gather the right research, contacts and investment, anything’s possible. You just need that one jaw-to-the-floor idea…

Do you have a desk? A solid wi-fi connection? That’s the beginning of a businesses we’ll all be talking about in 50 years. Work hard, and maybe change your email footer to ‘Kind regards, the CEO’, with your name below in italics. You might have a secretary taking phone calls by the door in a month or two.

Join an eco-farm

Not inspired by the idea of climbing a corporate ladder? Who says you have to follow convention. If you prefer the idea of green fingers to a white collar, find a sustainability project – there are dozens of websites looking for people like you, who want to make a difference.

You don’t have to tie a bandana around your head or quote Jethro Tull on your application. Just be you. Eco-farms are open to everyone. They take you far from the city, and teach that what we’re often told matters – like a car, money and professional contract – isn’t the only way to live.  

Bribe the university who passed on you

Still set on your original path? Let’s be honest – life is what you make it, and sometimes, that means bribing a uni upfront, preferably one of the cash-starved ones. Make an appointment with their entrance administrator. Meet them first in an office, then a dark alley. Bring a briefcase to make it official, even if you’re using e-coin.

“My results are what they are,” you explain, “yet the price of a man’s soul can always change…” If the administrator has any sense, they’ll take you up on the offer. And potentially throw in some uni textbooks too. Fleece them shamelessly. It’s only natural, because they didn’t see your Year 11 art project: when you were at your most genius. It’ll be their loss if you don’t take up a spot at the front of the lecture hall…

Of course, you might want to swerve a criminal charge, or get some more advice for any of the things we’ve mentioned here. Take a look at our other Ideas For Life. They’re sure to lift up any A-level comedown so you’re flying again, on your terms.