Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man

Young People's Corner

This is the time of year when young people get their exam results or reports on their progress. A time when someone else’s judgement on their work and worth are made public.

It is a time of stress, excitement, celebration or depression and young people tend to think that the life-changing news is a ‘one-off’ and life thereafter will settle into a regular pattern of smooth progress. No! The results will certainly act as a pattern for the future, but it is only the first of thousands of such events. We learn that it is not so much the news we get (good or bad) that matters, but the way in which we deal with it.

Let’s look first t the way four students who have failed think and deal with it. They all wanted to pass so they could get the things they like, and the result has stopped them.

1. I didn’t work hard enough and thought everything would come home. It has before. Other people seem to get what they want without trying.

2. I did my best and worked hard, but it is too difficult, and I don’t understand. I must accept that and make my choice between trying again or realizing that this is not the right way for me and choosing another direction in my life.

3. I couldn’t care less. Who wants to pass silly exams anyhow? I’ll get by alright by just doing my own thing.

4. I’m furious I didn’t pass, but it isn’t my fault. The school is terrible, the staff are useless and the stuff they try to teach is rubbish. I’ll stamp my feet, bang the door, have a strop and make them all sorry.

How might four people who passed think and react?

1. It was easy. I know I’m very clever and could pass without doing much work. Life’s a doddle. I’m just going to enjoy myself and I’ll have the lot.

2. I know I could have worked harder, but I’m so relieved that I’ve been successful. It has taught me how important it is to work with other people. If it hadn’t been for that group when we discussed everything and came up with answers that helped us all, it might have been a different exam result.

3. I was determined to pass to be able to start the career I wanted. The future looks good. I really worked hard and gave 100% effort, and this is how it feels to get the reward.

4. So far so good. Now to make the big decision of what to do next. It is so exciting. My decisions will affect many people and those decisions all have consequences that do not go away so they must be right for others as well as myself.

Remember this is only the beginning which makes the pattern you may following life. There are thousands of exams (or tests or problems) – some big like choosing a career, a job, a husband or wife or suffering an illness, a bereavement, a break-down – some smaller, but not necessarily less important, like lying, cheating, bullying, donating to charity, helping control one’s temper or just knowing when to do nothing!

Congratulations to all who handled the news of their exam results well with courage and encouragement to those who handled it badly but are determined to have the right attitude to all decisions for the rest of your lives. Good luck, dears.

R.S.