We should be more empathetic towards O/A Level students this year

An illustration of students holding their results. A few students in the background are happy and one student in the foreground is sad.
Design: Azmin Azran

Earlier this year, thousands of students sat for IGCSE/O Level and A Level exams for the first time after a two-year long hiatus. Some of us have received our results already, while some of us are dreading the next few days that are to come.

We've all heard that grades don't define us. But it does feel surreal to get the grades you've always wanted. The desired grades can help to pursue your dreams and to make your parents proud.

However, these very grades also have the capability to pull one down to the lowest levels of their mental health.  It is important to realise that the circumstances leading up to the exams and results will not be the same for everyone. This year, in particular, has been turbulent and unpredictable for many.

We never familiarised ourselves with the education of acknowledging our privilege. The pandemic has taken the lives of many loved ones, or caused students to drop out for other reasons. Classes stopped being affordable or accessible to many. Some ripped their hair out in frustration — the pace of online classes does not come naturally to everyone, after all.

To some of us, none of the above situations apply. For that, we should learn to be immensely grateful, whatever our grades look like.

What constitutes the best day in your life may be the complete opposite for someone else. It takes one social media post of your results, or a chuckle at the sight of theirs, to diminish one's self esteem. While grades are important, someone's mental wellbeing should stand before the desire to publicly showcase your grades.

As irresistible as it is, try not to boast about your results. Alternatively, forcing people to reveal their results or looking down on them for falling behind should be avoided as well. Wait for them to tell you on their own. They will do so in their own time, if they're comfortable.

If they don't, let it go.

If you've achieved the grades you've dreamed of, congratulations. I'm proud of you. If you're a victim to the effects of the pandemic to any extent, my heart reaches out to you. Whatever your grades are, it takes a great deal of determination to sit for the exams and to not give up despite the unfortunate circumstances.

While grades are important, life itself does not end here. Do not beat yourself up, there's always second chances to give your best shot.

Regardless of what happens, I'm proud of you.

Shanum closely resembles a raccoon, send her reasons to cut down on caffeine at [email protected]


সিরাজুল আলম খান
২ ঘণ্টা আগে|শ্রদ্ধাঞ্জলি

‘কাপালিক’ থেকে ‘দাদা ভাই’: রহস্যময় সিরাজুল আলম খান

তিনি ছিলেন স্বাধীন বাংলাদেশ গড়ে তোলার স্বপ্ন-সংগ্রাম ও স্বাধীনতা পরবর্তী রাজনৈতিক মেরুকরণের অন্যতম নিয়ামক শক্তি। তিনি যেভাবে চেয়েছেন, যা করতে চেয়েছেন, তাই করেননি—করিয়েছেন।