Ask any sixth former and they will tell you that the 16th of August is a date indelibly scrawled across their brain, like a piece of particularly unimaginative graffiti.
'But what is the significance of this particular date?' I hear you ask.
This is the day that makes or breaks your dreams. But no stress or anything.
Let me give a quick run down of the results day phenomenon, for anyone who is too busy being a secret agent or circus performer to take A levels.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE: You suddenly realise that results day is a lot closer than you thought and begin to feel decidedly green.
ONE WEEK BEFORE: You begin to wake up in the middle of the night after frenzied anxiety dreams which nearly always involve you forgetting how to do basic household tasks like open envelopes or use cutlery. (No? Just me? Oh... ok.)
THE NIGHT BEFORE: You try to forget that tomorrow is anything out of the ordinary, and stay up until 1am watching Friends re-runs until you finally collapse from a combination of exhaustion and excess sugar.
DOOMSDAY: You wake up several hours earlier than you've had to for months and, forgoing breakfast in case you throw up, make your way into school. Everything feels very surreal and you sort of float over to a stand marked with your form number (or, in my case, completely forget which is my form and just look for familiar people). Someone hands you a desperately innocuous-looking white envelope and it is at this point that you notice everyone surrounding you either crying or looking like they've just been abducted by aliens. You open the envelope, rejoice or weep depending on its contents, and BAM. You're done. Just like that.
It sounds scary, right? Now, I know I said that this is the day which makes or breaks your dreams, but it's not really as bad as that. You either get your grades or you don't. If you don't, the world isn't over, even if you feel like it is. Thousands of people go through Clearing or take impromptu gap years: nearly everyone would tell you that they've ended up loving what they did, even if it was different from their long-held dreams and ambitions.
People always say that our choices are what define us. I feel like we are most defined by our actions when things don't go according to plan; our reactions when the rugs are pulled out from under our feet and we are suddenly presented with a whole host of new choices that we didn't even realise existed five minutes ago. So if things don't work out the way they're meant to, try to embrace the situation instead of collapsing into a heap on the floor. You might learn a lot about yourself.
But, that said, I'm sure you did FINE.
Good luck! I shall cross all my fingers and my toes for you.
(UPDATE: I got in to my first choice university!)