No one started off the last academic year expecting to receive grades that were estimated not earned, adjusted and not achieved. But here we are.
Results day 2020 saw social media blow up with frustration, anger and worry. News headlines were taken over by people analysing algorithms, league tables and government policies. And then, just four days afterwards, there was a new wave of confusion as the Government reinstated teacher-assessed grades.
Maybe for you, along with the weirdness of socially-distanced results pick-up and frustration at the system, this all brought pain and disappointment.
Thousands of soon-to-be-students have very tangibly experienced being out of control over the last few months - their futures literally taken out of their hands.
For those of you who have got the grades you need to take your next step, congratulations. For those of you who didn’t – whether you missed out on results day, and your results remain unchanged or whether you’ve since got different results from your teacher estimations and still don’t have what you need – I’m so sorry.
It’s more than okay to be disappointed, it’s more than okay to be frustrated, it’s more than okay to be completely devastated. But Christians are not people without hope. Whether you’ve got a place at university as a second choice, through clearing, or you’re taking a year out with the hope of appealing or retaking the year – you are not a person without hope.
Because as much as it feels like the control over your future was taken out of your hands… well, it was never in them in the first place. You had no say over which questions would be in this year’s exam papers, no say on what you could remember in the exam and what would just slip out of mind, no say on how the university you’d applied to would respond to your results.
But there is One who holds your future secure. And He always has.
Letting go of the plans and hopes that we had for ourselves is so hard. Peeling our fingers away from the dreams we had for ourselves and what we expected to happen, is somewhat like grief. And Jesus sees that and knows that and stoops to meet us in that sadness.
But Jesus isn’t disappointed, He’s not afraid, and He’s not scrambling around for a back-up plan for your life.
He’s writing your story with the end in mind – His people gathered together, face to face with him. And so He’s writing in things that might not make sense now, but are for His glory in your life, for your good, and so that the people around you would be blessed as you respond to Him with faith and obedience.
So, whatever this new academic year holds for you – have hope.
If you’re going to a University or a city that you’ve never visited (or had hoped you never would again!) – have hope.
Jesus, by His Spirit, goes with you, to be your closest friend, to hold you secure and to help you live and speak His gospel to the new people you meet in your halls and course.
He goes with you and He’s placed His people ready to welcome you, help you and serve you as you start this new season. Partnering with local churches, the Christian Unions are ready to help you have the best start to uni life – whether you’re ready and excited or hesitant and nervous. So get yourself and your Christian friends New Student Packs, link up to your CU, and lift your eyes to trust the One who holds your future. Who knows what the Lord has in store for you as you step into this new season with Him.
Helen Taylor is a CU Staff Worker in the Midlands, equipping the Christian Unions in Nottingham as they share the gospel in the universities. She loved road trips with her husband James, and good music.
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